The battles attempt to define the reality of what is happening in Gaza and in Ukraine. Victory will go to the side that successfully convinces us what to believe is the “truth” in these countries.
This same problem goes beyond national political maneuvering to include to anti-corruption. (And often includes the same players.
Indeed, the truth about things is difficult to sort out, certainly in “traditional media” where nations are engaged in the paid PR Battles (Admittedly, this is only one side of the PR battle but you can see a sampling of Russia’s PR program Here. And Here. Similar references can be found on national PR strategies involving Gaza, the U.S. and every other country.
Using the information channels to influence our opinions is not especially underhanded, in my view. It’s advocacy. Its advocacy until it becomes deception to create public support based upon lies and disinformation.
Unfortunately that leaves us with few alternatives for finding the truth of things.
The Social Media Battle Ground
As governments begin to intrude into the social media space as part of their effort to advocate and inform our opinions we will all face some interesting challenges.
We will have to sort through the wild collection of:
- Informed opinion,
- Uniformed opinion,
- Advocacy, and
- Disinformation and Deception.
Fake public interest and “support” is increasingly well known in social media. Indeed, in some instances it is openly encouraged.
- Authors use fake followers: http://writerswin.com/author-social-media-why-use-fake-followers/
- Musicians are encouraged to purchase fake followers: http://equalizermag.com/features/purchasing-fake-social-media-followers-a-wise-career-move-for-musicians/
- Fake Twitter followers: http://www.ignitesocialmedia.com/social-media-stats/bought-fake-twitter-followers-klout-kred-review/
- Fake Facebook followers: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/02/tech/social-media/facebook-fake-accounts/ (14 million fake accounts used to spread spam or malicious content)
- 70% of President Obama twitter followers are fake: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2012/08/obama-has-millions-of-fake-twitter-followers/1#.UxnVTdwmwmk
- Of course this says nothing of fake messaging and “crowds” that may be organized by those with a more manipulative agenda.
I don’t have any answers on this, but the basic truth is that more transparency (observation of the truth) can only help. And social media, indeed any media, can be an essential tool to improve situations. I’ve talked about this here and here.
Cutting through the fictitious public comment/support/protests will be an increasing challenge.
But where “traditional” reporters are only paid to report the sexy, violent or sensational, where is the actual transparency and accountability that is needed to influence good behavior?
Traditional media is simply not enough. I’ll take the disorganized mob of social media over “traditional media.”
I look forward to your thoughts.
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