Welcome to a world where you can stream propaganda from your pocket.

If you have a smart phone or tablet handy, someone is spinning you a yarn. On social media, in the news you read, in the apps you use.

Advertising in itself, has a complicit level of deceit attached to it – we all know that those pills won’t make us look like a supermodel yet they sell. Why? To use a very Australian term – based on our BBQ culture – because people are continuously sold the sizzle, not the sausage. Corporate loyalty schemes are the biggest example of this in the consumer market – from your frequent flyer miles to points vouchers and more, marketeers have simply used the illusion of ‘great reward’ to motivate people into changing their shopping and ergo spending habits.

If you’re starting to feel slightly conned, well that’s entirely the point.

You’re complicit in the information operation you’re a part of – by simply being a member of your airline’s frequent flyer club or swiping your loyalty card each time you visit a store. You give away your data, and in return they promise to give you a reward of nowhere near commensurate value … at some time in the future. Or not.

The news media are no different – let’s take Russia Today for example. From knocking off the visual templates used by CNN to reporting on all manner of weird and wacky theories but branding it ‘news’ – the information deluge occurring is led by a click-bait culture that keeps on selling that sizzle, while confusing you in the process. Information overload is a strategy, and regardless of whether or not the facts of a matter are clear, a headline reading ‘Woman has three breasts’ will also be clicked on more than ‘It’s a nice sunny day today in Geneva.’

One of the analogies I use the most when explaining military information operations and PYSOP to civilian audiences is based on the movie ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats.’ Hollywood makes it easy for people to consume the message and with it, easy for me to show people just how easy it is to develop, plan and executive a social media information operations campaign – for battlefield or boardroom use. If you’ve seen the entire movie or read the novel by Jon Ronson, you’ll know that the premise is based on the U.S. Army developing a program to explore the paranormal and any resulting military applications – because the Russians were already advanced in this study. What comes to pass in fact is that the Russian’s weren’t in fact studying the paranormal – they just wanted to make the U.S. Military believe they were, thus creating direct impacts within the Army.

WATCH: The trailer from the George Clooney movie ‘The Men Who Stare At Goats’

THEN READ: My blog – The Men Who Stare At Goats 


So regardless of whether you’re trying ton influence the hearts and minds of your military opponents, or your marketplace competitors – savvy social media led information operations is one of the most effective tools for stealing online traffic and reaching people in ways they will be compelled to react to.

If you have any questions, connect with me on LinkedInpost on my Facebook wall or Tweet me.


 

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