new technology

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has taken to Twitter to spread its message, trumpet bloody successes, and recruit potential jihadists, but its social-media campaign has come under attack from forces that range from the U.S. State Department to the mysterious group of hacker-activists who call themselves Anonymous.

A video on YouTube showing a young man preaching out to his “brothers and sisters” in Britain to unleash their jihad upon the United Kingdom has been reported on by The Sunday Times.  The video is just the latest in many more showing young Britons drawing on their western roots and Islamist inspiration to instigate, what might be termed, a YouTube jihad, according to the newspaper.

The US president leads the pack of world leaders on Twitter, according to a new report, blowing by the competition with an about 43.7 million followers.  Next closest is Pope Francis at 14.1 followers, although the pontiff was named the most influential world leader on Twitter because of how much he's retweeted (10,000 retweets for every tweet.) He also has followers in nine different languages.

There are plenty of reasons to learn Japanese. For one, the Japanese are Kings of "Soft Power", or cultural influence. The internet, videogames and children's cartoons are heavily influenced by the cute, cuddly touch of Japanese heritage. While some of this reaches us, it is only the tip of the iceberg.

The extremist jihadist group leading the insurgency against the Iraqi government is using apps, social media and even a feature-length movie to intimidate enemies, recruit new followers and spread its message. And its rivals – including foreign governments – are struggling to keep up.

It's a truth of warfare in the digital era: Bullets and bombs often are augmented by status updates and tweets.  The bloody conflict taking place in Iraq is no different.

June 16, 2014

The advance of an army used to be marked by war drums. Now it’s marked by volleys of tweets.  The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Sunni militant group that seizedIraq’s second-largest city last week and is now pledging to take Baghdad, has honed this new technique—most recently posting photos on Twitter of an alleged mass killing of Iraqi soldiers. 

The situation in Iraq has gone from bad to worse. But one app is still available: Whisper, an anonymous secret sharing app often used by adolescents. And young Iraqis have taken to it, sharing their feelings about what's happening in Iraq in the one of the only ways they can.