In World War II, there was a propaganda motto spread to the US population: “Loose lips sink ships.” Don’t go blabbing what you know about our military if you don’t want enemy spies finding out and using the information against our people. The artwork of propagandists is an example of effective visual communication.
In 2009, as the wars we fight in the middle east drag on, a new way of blabbing, social media, has emerged. And it is reasonable to suppose that our adversaries on the field of battle could easily (if they have not already done so) acquire bits of information via sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc. that could aid their battle plans and lead to more of our people dead through compromised mission planning.
This blog mostly concerns how the public service of education is affected by social media. But the military, certainly another huge US social institution, is having to respond to the new social media. So far, it seems, they are erring on the side of caution and closing down the social media portals. If GI Joe/Jane is tweeting pictures of his/her secret encampment, or Sergeant Stripes mentions casualties or operations in his facebook posts, one can see how that information might hurt our people.
And the ban is only exploratory. The US Marine spokesman says that if it turns out that social media are “mission critical,” the ban can be lifted or modified. That seems sensible. When the walkie talkie is shot up, or when a soldier needs to supply miscommunication for the enemy, social media could be a valuable weapon/tool.
But in schools, the social institution I serve, the only enemy is ignorance, the only adversaries those who would retard learning. It’s hard to imagine an educational mission compromised by open communication, isn’t it?
Let me know what I’m overlooking, please–especially you public school administrators.