I’m writing this blog at 36,000 feet travelling at mach 0.83 as I pass over St Louis – between New York and Los Angeles, after an incredible week spent on the east coast of the United States of America.I’ve spent the better part of the last week in Norfolk at the Naval Base – where I’ve met the NATO Allied Transformation Command’s Innovation Hub team and presented for the first time at NATO School.
In May 2013 I wrote a blog called ‘Everyone’s Talking about Cyber Warfare while Social Warfare is Flying under the Radar.’
No one took me particularly seriously.
In fact, I fielded a few messages from people asking what I’d been smoking when I’d come to the conclusion that social media could be used as a weapon of war (for the record – I don’t smoke!)
But despite the criticism – I remained undeterred.
To my mind – if hijacking a corporate twitter could cause stock-market plunges and the loss of millions of dollars in the REAL world; it was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to reverse engineer the social media platforms that had been built predominately for marketeers – for information warfare purposes.
Perhaps unsurprisingly – NATO’s Innovation Hub discovered me online and invited me to join their first Massive Online Open Course (MOOC). As I said to Serge Da Deppo from the Innovation Hub upon meeting him in person for the first time last week – when I received his LinkedIn message I wasn’t sure if it was real or spam!
NATO – contacting me? Asking me to provide training to them?
I did contribute to that first NATO MOOC and I am about to deliver another lesson in Social Media Influence Activity in early December.
So from an extremely niche blogging platform to NATO MOOC to standing in front of a class of Staff Officers from over 28 Nations at NATO School at the Norfolk Naval Base in the USA … my incredible journey is a true testament to the power of social media.
As many of you will be well aware – Australia is not a NATO nation. We are however; as I was repeatedly reminded with great affection from those I met in Norfolk – one of NATO’s biggest non-member partners.
Which is apt because wars are no longer fought inside defined physical borders.
We’ve already seen the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) terrorism hit home with lethal consequences in Australia. Further ISIL terrorist threats have been neutralized around the Western world.
ISIL’s social media jihad- takes the fight to anyone. Anytime. Anywhere.
ISIL are the biggest threat to global security the world has seen since World War II. They aren’t simply the new Al Qaeda; having taken terrorism out of sandy caves with shaky handycams to broadcasting violence in high definition.
ISIL’s social media warfare is targeted far more broadly than anyone could have anticipated. ISIL are making terrorism a generational prospect by targeting their radicalization programs at children.
With social media changing the traditional view of asymmetric warfare - and with a single hash tag now the most valuable tool in the warfighters non-kinetic arsenal – ‘The Information Battlefield’ is now streaming live into workplaces, schools, homes and handbags.
With blogs and tweets the new bombs at rockets of modern warfare- it is both humbling and an honor to be contributing to the NATO community on such a vital mission.