Social Media and the Military
The emergence of social media as the most common, everyday use for Internet technologies has been as rapid as it has been pervasive. Social media erases boundaries at a low cost, without time lag. It facilitates one to many, and many to one, communication without gatekeepers.
In terms of the military we can see that social media is having an impact at different levels of analysis. At the macro level states and rebel movements utilise social media for recruitment purposes or to create narratives in hybrid warfare; whereas at the meso level military organisations are affected through connections outside traditional hierarchies with less control over information flow. At the micro level, interpersonal relationships and social networks from home can be remotely maintained by soldiers in real time even when deep inside a conflict.
This makes for a multi-layered and complex field of study; different types of social media have different affordances that shapes uses and outcomes. Many aspects of social media are quantitative i.e. it is fast and cheap. However, qualitative changes that emerge from the use of social media can have a stronger impact. This session therefore welcomes empirical studies that provide insights on deeper changes arising from social media use.
Possible themes include, but are not limited to:
- Social media as a resource before, during or after conflicts
- Effects on trust in military – civilian relationships
- Organisational issues or communications bypassing traditional routes
- (Counter) narratives at different levels
- Effects within the military on relationships and command and control