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Networks and Weaponless Wars. Information Operations Content Dissemination via the Blogosphere

Béen, Gustav LU (2011) MKVK01 20102
Media and Communication Studies
Abstract
This study advances a broad analytical perspective intended to critically evaluate the predominant definitions of information operations (IO). The prevalent concepts of IO are challenged due to their reliance on unidirectional communication flow models that cannot account for the characteristics of produsage media, nor the culturally specific, interpersonally contextualized sense making processes of reception. The study objective entails the formulation of a redefined theoretical understanding of information operations in light of the advance of changed sociocultural and medial structures. IO are construed by the author as being attuned to the growing dependence of modern societies on technological communication networks and indeed the... (More)
This study advances a broad analytical perspective intended to critically evaluate the predominant definitions of information operations (IO). The prevalent concepts of IO are challenged due to their reliance on unidirectional communication flow models that cannot account for the characteristics of produsage media, nor the culturally specific, interpersonally contextualized sense making processes of reception. The study objective entails the formulation of a redefined theoretical understanding of information operations in light of the advance of changed sociocultural and medial structures. IO are construed by the author as being attuned to the growing dependence of modern societies on technological communication networks and indeed the fundamental networked design of the world of mediated globalization. It is argued that information operations may seek to take advantage of this network structure on technological and psychological levels and that the study of IO constitutes an evolving but increasingly pertinent concept.
The investigation focuses specifically on the means of IO content dissemination within the blogosphere, which is construed as a scale-free network analogous to social communicative networks. It is argued that influential bloggers can be perceived as interconnected hubs that jointly distribute and redistribute information, whereas mainstream media channels are switchers that have the power to connect detached network subsets. One underlying question is whether blogs and other “new” media hold any manifest influence at all over opinions and how the mechanisms of information dissemination within the blogosphere and to higher levels of the media strata can be evaluated. By drawing on theories of Social Network Analysis as well as theories of media, communication and defense strategy it is suggested that blogs and other meso level media are especially efficient as liaisons to other media through which information operations may disseminate further.
The author concludes that in a world of mediated globalization, new media has the ability to incorporate functions from both vertical and horizontal communication. The author suggests that IO can be conceived of as an array of activities directed towards a segment of a mediated communication network. These activities are intended to modify the mediated flow of communication through the injection, alteration or blocking of a communication message, in order to yield a cognitive or emotional responsive effect in the subject’s (collective) mind; the fundamental objective is to influence the subject’s decision-making in a somewhat predefined way. The IO content may propagate throughout different levels of the media strata. This process of dissemination may coincide with the overall objectives of the agent or result in blow-back effects. (Less)
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@misc{1786328,
  abstract     = {This study advances a broad analytical perspective intended to critically evaluate the predominant definitions of information operations (IO). The prevalent concepts of IO are challenged due to their reliance on unidirectional communication flow models that cannot account for the characteristics of produsage media, nor the culturally specific, interpersonally contextualized sense making processes of reception. The study objective entails the formulation of a redefined theoretical understanding of information operations in light of the advance of changed sociocultural and medial structures. IO are construed by the author as being attuned to the growing dependence of modern societies on technological communication networks and indeed the fundamental networked design of the world of mediated globalization. It is argued that information operations may seek to take advantage of this network structure on technological and psychological levels and that the study of IO constitutes an evolving but increasingly pertinent concept.
The investigation focuses specifically on the means of IO content dissemination within the blogosphere, which is construed as a scale-free network analogous to social communicative networks. It is argued that influential bloggers can be perceived as interconnected hubs that jointly distribute and redistribute information, whereas mainstream media channels are switchers that have the power to connect detached network subsets. One underlying question is whether blogs and other “new” media hold any manifest influence at all over opinions and how the mechanisms of information dissemination within the blogosphere and to higher levels of the media strata can be evaluated. By drawing on theories of Social Network Analysis as well as theories of media, communication and defense strategy it is suggested that blogs and other meso level media are especially efficient as liaisons to other media through which information operations may disseminate further.
The author concludes that in a world of mediated globalization, new media has the ability to incorporate functions from both vertical and horizontal communication. The author suggests that IO can be conceived of as an array of activities directed towards a segment of a mediated communication network. These activities are intended to modify the mediated flow of communication through the injection, alteration or  blocking of a communication message, in order to yield a cognitive or emotional responsive effect in the subject’s (collective) mind; the fundamental objective is to influence the subject’s decision-making in a somewhat predefined way. The IO content may propagate throughout different levels of the media strata. This process of dissemination may coincide with the overall objectives of the agent or result in blow-back effects.},
  author       = {Béen, Gustav},
  keyword      = {network theory,media strata,operations security,electronic warfare,PSYOPS,Info Ops,information operations,cyber war,psychological warfare,BlogTrackers,WWW,Internet,public opinion,mass media,influence,communications,influential bloggers,blog influence,blogosphere,bloggers,Blogs,social networks.,media readiness,participatory journalism,citizen journalism},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Networks and Weaponless Wars. Information Operations Content Dissemination via the Blogosphere},
  year         = {2011},
}