The conflict in Ukraine is indeed the “first social media war”, because it is the first time that almost everyone on the ground can act as a real war correspondent and share their experiences from the frontline. Social media is changing the modern war experience not only for military personnel, but also for their families and even the wider world.
Col. John Spencer, U.S. Army (retd), author of the upcoming book, Combined Soldiers: Life, Leadership and Social Connection in Modern WarfareAnd he explained to this reporter that social media is also affecting the performance of the military.
As a combat veteran who led a platoon of soldiers into battle and learned the importance of single-mindedness on his own, Spencer said that just five years later, social media has changed that dynamic. While social media platforms and apps, including FaceTime and Zoom, can help soldiers stay connected to the people they love, it has its advantages and disadvantages.
“Like my experience in Iraq in 2008, we see platforms and apps like FaceTime, Text and Zoom that soldiers are connecting with their families every day and every hour,” said Col. Spencer. “Yes, having this ability to talk to loved ones helps morale. Soldiers, regardless of their rank / year experience are complex social creatures; they want to talk to their loved ones, their children, their wives, their girlfriends, their husbands.”
Yet, this ability to connect with family on a daily basis brings bad aspects.
“Because there is no division of space or time between soldiers and their families, both soldiers and families live in two worlds – war and home,” Spencer continued. “Soldiers have a foot in both worlds, possibly taking home pressure on a daily basis when fighting a war. The family gains combat experience, sometimes receives real-time updates on the horrors of war, or at least during a different history than any other – don’t worry.” Mom, I’m fine ‘takes on a whole new meaning. “
Feelings of isolation rather than connection
A late call, or a slow response only causes concern for both the soldier and the family. Similarly, while talking to family can still be a good thing, another drawback is that it can hurt the connection with others engaged.
“A major potential downside is that the more time a soldier spends updating their loved ones off the frontline, the less time they spend with their comrades, building bonds, building solidarity, and coping with their shared experience,” Spencer noted. Has done.
Similarly, those who are unable to maintain these connections with family may find it annoying. This can be much worse than not receiving a letter in the mail. One who is not constantly on social media or zooming in with loved ones can even cause separation.
Loose lips in the 21st century
During World War II, the U.S. military took privacy very seriously – so it was common to see posters promoting the warning, “Loose Lips Sync Ships” but in the days of social media, it was very easy to share. This can lead to the loss of fighters.
“Ukraine has a cell phone or that important operation to post videos and messages on social media like Facebook, Telegram, etc. It shows security aspect. Was and was shot, “Spencer warned.
How to experience war
Another way that social media can change the military experience is that everyone on the ground is now a battlefield reporter.
“The Ukraine war has exacerbated the evolution of the past that people at home can see on TV,” Spencer said. “Now people all over the world can watch live feeds in war zones. Watch videos or photos of war days before reporting on a news channel. It affects three populations – military, politicians and population – involved in a war and local, regional and global perceptions, support and military Affects non-support of action. “
It may become increasingly impossible to contain information. Russia found it as soon as the reports were posted and there was a trend on social media. It has tried to suggest that the war is going as planned, but pictures of the destroyed tanks posted on Twitter and Instagram certainly tell the other side. For now, it may be able to control the message in Russia, but it is providing a near real-time report from social media grounds around the world.
“One lesson from the Ukraine war about social media is that there is no control over information. Russia tried and failed,” Spencer added. “Military and governments must fight from a whole world perspective, beyond the concept of a ‘tick-tock’ war.”