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Big Ideas and MediaGlyphs

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — Mad Scientist asks, John Robb responds]

Today’s call and response comes to me via two blog posts that followed one another in my RSS feed — in the reverse order to the one I read them in. I’ve straightened that out so response now follows call for your convenience.

From Max Brooks (World War Z) lecturing for the Army’s 2016 “Mad Scientist” initiative:

One of the US government’s biggest challenges today, particularly in the context of military issues, is its inability to communicate big ideas to the American people .. This has caused a significant portion of the population to disengage from government, including and especially from the military .. It may take several decades to reverse the trend ..

There’s more there in the report at the Atlantic Council‘s Art of the Future blog, as Brooks discusses particular big ideas that need communicating — but it’s the communication issue itself that caught my eye.


So how does communication happen most powerfully in todays media environment?

Here are a few points from John Robb‘s thoughts on that very question, posted today at Global Guerrillas. First, a sample of what’s commonly known as an internet meme, but which John would prefer to call a MediaGlyph — his candidate for the punchiest mode of delivery:

And now his comments under the header All Hail The MediaGlyph, The New King of Political Communications:

Successful mediaglyphs blanket social networks, often going viral to reach tens of millions of viewers in days as they are rapidly with an ever expanding network of friends.

Collectively, mediaglyphs generate tens of millions of impressions an hour. Several orders of magnitude (100x) more than any other form of political communication.

Unlike TV, Print, and most forms of online communication, mediaglyphs are built for consumption on smartphones and visual modes of social networking. They are also built for speedy consumption, providing a quick emotional hit in comparison to a long winded article with an uncertain payoff.

Nothing other form of political communications compare.

Mediaglyphs are one of ways online conflict, in this case political conflict, is being fought. These online wars are occurring everywhere, all the time, at every level. They are deciding the future.

That’s why I’m writing a new book called as a natural follow on to my previous book: Brave New War:

The War Online: How Conflicts are Fought and Won on Social Networks

I look forward to reviewing John’s book, which will no doubt get into some detail not easily stated in a single MediaGlyph — my guess, however, is that John’s text will itself be a terrific mine for glyphs, given his obvious delight in short, quotable one-sentence paragraphs.

Featured at the Atlantic Council

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

My post below, with minor alterations, has just been re-published at the Atlantic Council on their blog, courtesy of managing editor, Dr. James Joyner.

State Department Must Reform or Die

Much appreciated, Dr. Joyner!


Karaka Pend ties related posts on the inadequacy of the State Department together:

The State Department has a mission, if they choose to accept it.

Karaka also points to this TNR op-ed by Dr. Steve Metz of SSI:

The Civilian Surge Myth

….No one welcomes this more than the military. In the absence of civilian capacity, soldiers end up managing public services like trash collection, or trying to teach democracy and good governance. At a major conference on irregular conflicts last month, I listened as a decorated Marine colonel heading for command in Afghanistan talked of how that conflict would unfold when the civilian surge was in place. As a Pentagon official heard this, he told me, “The military is looking to off-load nation building; they are so desperate to do that–and so eager to enshrine the lessons from the Iraq counterinsurgency–that they have convinced themselves of the necessity and plausibility of a civilian surge.”


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