Assessing the use of social media in a revolutionary environment
Duncan, Kirk A.
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Social media garnered much attention from the Arab Spring uprisings where activists took advantage of computer and mobile phone technologies to organize the collective actions of thousands of citizens. The influence and power of social media are only likely to increase. According to eMarketer (2012), by 2014, over one-fourth of the worlds population will be using social media technology. However, military planning has not fully harnessed this powerful tool. In trying to understand how this technology should be utilized by special operations forces (SOF), this thesis examines the role that social media plays in various forms of conflict across the globe. Specifically, this research assesses and identifies what types of social media should be used to support a range of special operations objectives, from strategic influence to disruption, coercions, and regime overthrow. Additionally, a social media assessment methodology is provided that can be used by strategists to evaluate the most appropriate use of social media technology to support special operations.
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