IDF’s Use Of Social Media Catches Attention Of Australian Defense Force

The IDF’s use of social media during Operation Pillar of Defense caught the attention of many, including the Australian Defense Force.

Color them impressed.

AUSTRALIA’S military could eventually use social media to give the public a blow-by-blow account of some operations, similar to the way Israel used Twitter in the recent Gaza conflict, a senior Defence official says.

But that’s a long way off, with the Australian Defence Force still developing a strategy to better handle social media usage among its ranks.

ADF director general of public affairs Brigadier Alison Creagh today discussed the opportunities and challenges presented by social media and how its use by the ADF could evolve.


But if used correctly, social media could be a “powerful tool” to allow soldiers to tell their own stories and promote the ADF to wider audiences.

“We shouldn’t be so risk-averse that we actually don’t encourage people to use social media, just on the off-chance that they might do something wrong,” Brigadier Creagh told a Social Media in Defence Forum in Canberra.

“There’s more people that do the right thing than do the wrong thing.”

The ADF is considering mandatory defence-wide training on social media to complement its existing programs, with a formal policy response to the department’s internal review expected within six months.

Brigadier Creagh said defence was “not that sophisticated yet” at running social media but made gains during last year’s Exercise Talisman Sabre in 2011 with US forces.

The ADF ran a “dynamic” social media campaign through an active Facebook page providing details of everything from fuel spills to strategic operations.

It could evolve into something more but whether it reaches the scale of Israel’s unprecedented use of social media during the November campaign in Gaza is yet to be seen.

The Israeli Defence Force used its Twitter account to announce it had killed Hamas operatives and even threatened a full-scale ground offensive.

While Brigadier Creagh didn’t know if the ADF would ever use social media to this extent, “I wouldn’t say never”.

“As we learn about social media and as we understand how to use it effectively, you would potentially see the capacity to have much more active running commentaries,” she said.

“Would it ever be that minute-by-minute, near real time or almost real time, I think depends on what the issue is.”

The sheer manpower required to run a non-stop Twitter campaign would be “extraordinary” and most likely beyond ADF resources.

However, from Israel’s perspective the use of social media during the Gaza campaign was “very powerful” and “pretty compelling”, Brigadier Creagh said.

About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder and managing editor of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks

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  • Jim from Iowa

    But shouldn’t there be some kind of official government “shoosher” reminding fellow countrymen about giving out too much information to the enemy? I found the twitter feed on this site during Operation Pillar of Defense fascinating, but I’m always concerned how an enemy can take advantage of a free and open society such as Israel. I’m not quite sure how you come up with the proper balance.

    • Norman B.

      The U.S. military has bloggers within both its enlisted and officer ranks and the Pentagon makes no effort to shut them down as long as they honestly portray military life and keep their classified information to themselves.

    • mzk1

      You mean like the lady in the Haifa mall who started to give out ranging information? You’d think having been in the army… Of course, during Cast Lead, Al Jazeera was doing that openly.

      There was a warning not to give info not in the media as to where shells actually landed. At least one this site, I think we all controlled ourselves pretty well.

      I recall years ago reading that all sorts of people know all sorts of things, and they simply don’t talk about that outside. I think that’s still true. Even yourd truly, who is as far from security as you can get, occasionally knows when to keep his mouth shut.

    • mzk1

      Of course, there is military censorship of the old-time media.

  • Brian of London

    The sheer manpower required to run a non-stop Twitter campaign would be “extraordinary” and most likely beyond ADF resources.

    That is a laugh :-) Dave, Judge Dan, Zionist Shark and myself seem to manage!

    • cba

      Except that you guys ARE “extraordinary” so there’s no contradiction there!

      • Jim from Iowa

        Yea, Brian is like the indispensable big toe on one of the two right feet of IsraellyCool.

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