Posted by lex, on October 27th, 2011
ISAF has turned to winning Afghan hearts and minds, 140 characters at a time:
U.S. forces feared they were losing the information war to the Taliban and now are fighting back with Twitter – using those brisk 140-character messages to get out the other side of the story.
“The Taliban were just constantly putting out false information and propaganda,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings. “Some of it was so wrong we finally had to start engaging, and backing up our information with the facts…”
“It allows us to keep our followers dynamically informed while also keeping the enemy’s statements in check,” Cummings said in an e-mail exchange with CNN.
It is easy to see this play out on any day. A Twitter account that frequently puts out news reports favoring the Taliban, , trumpets information of a major battlefield success. “Mujahideen bring down US helicopter in Kunar,” says the tweet.
But over at International Security Assistance Force headquarters, the social media experts are on the case on the ISAF Twitter account. “We have no reports of any missing helos. Take any Taliban reports with a block of salt,” their tweet answers. And later, “Reports of a shoot-down are false.”
It doesn’t cost much to station two social media experts on site to trade tweets with goat-bothering rustics and their fan base.
But I doubt it’s worth all that much, either.