Whether you are fully in tune in the world of social media or still believe that a tweet is just a noise that birds make the fact is that it is a tool being used by numerous factions around the world.
The beauty of social media is that information can be directed to thousands of people instantly.
While this can be an asset for police and armed forces this can also be a bit of an issue. It was earlier this month that during the Brussels lockdown, following the attacks in Paris, Belgian police asked people to not post information about their raids for fear of giving a heads up to the individuals being targeted.
As is often the case with the Internet the response to this could not have been predicted and those living in Brussels began to flood the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown with amusing pictures of cats in an attempt to mask police whereabouts.
Social media can also provide a sense of relief in what can be troubling times; the most unexpected things can go viral and Linda Glocke’s Facebook comment is one of them.
The unsuspecting woman posted a simple comment proclaiming ‘I will destroy ISIS’. Since then the comment has gone viral and Linda has become a meme with her face being added to numerous pictures with the proclamation ‘I will destroy ISIS’. Amusing. #WeBelieveLinda
On a more serious note national security forces can use twitter as a tool to correspond with civilians. In the fight against Boko Haram the Nigerian Army regularly tweets updates on who is captured and how operations against the terrorist group are unfolding.
While these tools can be used for good it is also widely known that groups such as ISIS use these platforms as a recruitment tool and a way of promoting their messages.
Instant messaging and the like can also be used as a tool for communications and surveillance, with the potential to hinder military operations.
According to some there are many militaries and governments around the world have no formalised solution in how to deal with social media as part of the operational environment.
While tweeting cat pictures is all very well, and basically what the internet was built for, governments need to take into consideration the threat that can come from behind our computer screens.