[wwpoenglish] Seeking ideas on use of Social Media in Peacemaking

  • From: Bruce Cook <cookcomm@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "wwpoenglish@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <wwpoenglish@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2015 10:15:24 -0500


I'm sure many of us have been thinking about social media and how Facebook,
Twitter, etc., are coming into play in world events, As part of this, I've
been working on an essay regarding use of social media in peacemaking.
Please read and post comments at wwpoenglish@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thank you!

Bruce Cook

Social media can be a peaceful tool to help achieve justice and harmony in
today's world.

At this point, it’s not clear exactly how social media can address the
problems of the world. At the risk of seeming ridiculous, it is possible
that strategic use of social media may have as much power as the old
weapons of war. We can recognize the potential, but all peaceful citizens
need to seek ideas from each other to replace the use of death and personal
degradation in battle.

Here are two examples of the power of social media. (These come from an
American perspective, and there’s a real need to gather and analyze
examples from many nationalities, cultures, and time.)

A Political Campaign. (And, remember – combat is one form of a “campaign”.)
An analysis of Obama’s second election in the USA suggests that much of his
victory can be attributed to aggressive and careful use of social media.
Through social media, it’s possible to “recruit” adherents of a new
perspective and “evangelize” many people through a “six conversions each –
6-Pack” strategy. In this case, a multiplicity of social media messages can
lead to vast changes in public policy and national defense.

The largest war of all time. Thinking of perhaps the largest war of all
time – World War II – social media was not yet invented, but history shows
that communication had a large role in the eventual victory. There were
misleading messages sent from Northern England to fool the Axis powers into
thinking the Allies had a giant base there. More importantly, Allied
success in breaking the enigma Code Machine (see the recent film, The
Imitation Game) can claim credit for the victory in the European theater.
That victory was not only won by numbers of bombs and killings, but
journalists were willing to protect sensitive information. The lesson for
today? A major conflict can be successfully resolved through careful use of
propaganda and encrypted messages.

Naturally, a peaceful person feels uncomfortable with strategic
manipulation of information. But the ugly question has to remain. Given an
alternative of death and misery among vast populations, isn’t it sensible
to employ this nonviolent means of bringing peace?

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