You know you’ve reached some landmark in technology adoption when your Web 2.0 innovation becomes a tool of modern warfare:
Among other things, the Israeli military has started its own YouTube channel to distribute footage of precision airstrikes. And as I type, the Israeli consulate in New York is hosting a press conference on microblogging site Twitter.
You might also be interested in this adjoining article about Al Jazeera’s mash-up approach to reporting on Israel’s Gaza operation.
Actually, Internet collaboration is hardly a new development in what some military theorists and practitioners call “fourth generation warfare,” abbreviated 4GW. (Which is now upgraded, in conflicts like Somalia’s civil war, to 5GW). Revolutionaries long ago embraced instant messaging, discussion forums, and streaming video. Micro-blogging, whether used by the insurgents or the counterinsurgents, is just another potential edge in the information war.
I’m not sure that what’s happening in Gaza is the use case that the designers of YouTube and Twitter had in mind. On the other hand, discovering unexpected ways in which people use your technology is hardly a new phenomenon.