Infoterrorism - Internet as playground for propaganda
Any organization whose goal is to spread information to a larger audience needs to become acquainted with the basics of both internal and external circumstances. In this document we assume that internal circumstances represent the goals to achieve, and external circumstances are the surroundings outside the immediate subjective thought. Everything starts from the individual and the ideas this person will develop over time. With the help of empirical wisdom, historical knowledge, philosophical studies, clear logic assumptions and a reasonable intellect combined with medium to high intelligence, the person in question will form ideas around basic concepts in human life: society, culture, people, nature and spirituality.
When we think we have a clear view of these different things then it is time to direct our internal energy into the manipulation of physical ("external") reality in order to make a change in the world according to our beliefs. Most commonly, we begin by organizing a group of people with similar ideas about life and start infiltrating our community with these ideas. The spreading of information depends on many different factors, where the understanding and awareness of social, political and cultural conditions is absolutely necessary to become successful.
In this document we limit ourselves to the present time and the spreading of information through the Internet as medium. Below is a presentation of documented ways of spreading propaganda online:
Besides being mythological creatures in Northern European culture, trolls are individuals causing controversies on Internet forums and communities by bending the social acceptance of certain ideas and propagating them in an agitating manner. In "Infoterror - a primer", the ANUS Infoterror Squad writes:
"Infoterrorism works by attaching information "objects" to basic impulses for all living things: terror and opportunity.
In short, by presenting a problem well known within a community, one is able to both function as informer and leader at the same time. The main steps in trolling are:
1. Grab audience's attention
A troll must learn to create controversy and havoc in order to have people reading his posts. This can be made by summarizing a written article in 10-15 lines, quoting it in a forum thread and adding a fitting picture for the post, preferrably something intelligent but obscene. This way, people will respond both to the controversy, humour, intelligence, and doubt engendered in the post. The quoted text should present either a direct problem or a specialized dilemma to which people can respond in a variety of ways. When a number of comments have been made, either as criticism, questions or personal attacks, the troll slips in a suggestion on how to solve the proposed dilemma, usually ranging between 1-3 lines plus a link to a text that more deeply describes the problem and suggests one or more practical solutions.
Trolling forum boards can function both as a pragmatic and passive method to spread information: the first require the troll to personally explain or defend the presented information, which means an interaction and engagement is taking place between sender and receiver of the information. This is a relatively time-consuming way of trolling and should only be used at local forums run by your organization or communities where a high percentage of the users are likely to respond positively to the information. The second is fit for public places on the Internet where a high percentage will respond negatively or be unlikely to fully comprehend the presented text.
Like most other forms of infoterror online, trolling works on multiple levels if done successfully:
* Links to material from your website, both in your forum signature and in your forum posts, increase the visiting traffic to your webpage
* Hit 15-20 threads at the same time to stir up attention on a forum
§ Article banks
Recently, there has been an increase in the number of websites through which the public is able to publish articles. These places are called "article banks" and function much like a database storing texts. For organizations interested in spreading their material to as many places as possible, article banks constitute an excellent resource. You register for free, submit your articles according to specific guidelines and then await approval by an administrator. As many of these banks nowadays are overcrowded with new members, the administrators have less time to go through all the material, which means the chance of having a controversial text published increases. The benefits of using article banks are:
* Free of charge
§ Newspapers / Netpapers
Most people in our modern society read newspapers daily. Together with coffee, it's their way of getting ready for another 8 hours at work. As newspapers constitute such a great deal of the information that modern individuals take in, any organization should consider infiltrating this media. Although companies in close symbiosis with the current political sphere own all larger papers it's entirely possible to express socially demonized ideas with a filter that leaves out the controversy. There are four primary ways of making full use of this media:
1. Creating your own newspaper or netpaper, spreading information without censorial limits
To start up your own newspaper, you need some form of financial capital to begin printing smaller numbers of papers. The process of creating a newspaper and spreading it lies beyond the scope of this document, but with cleverness and a good team of co-workers anything is possible using this method. As an easier alternative, anyone is able to start up a netpaper, which is the online equivalent to a regular newspaper. The benefits of this method of idea spreading are many: it's cheap, fast, easy and dynamic in approach. You will have full control over your content, be able to update it regularly, and insert full texts - preferably accompanied by some form of visual presentation.
A more uncertain method is making use of newspapers already existing within your community and infiltrating them with your ideas. This is best achieved by letting one or two individuals summarize important texts, editing out any explicit controversial ideas and replacing them with vague statements or hints that readers may develop using simple logic, and finally submitting them to newspapers and netpapers. An example of this can be seen by going through this article and then reading the following summarization, presented as a debate text ready for publication:
"Most green organizations claim we need to reduce the consumption of natural resources in the West, allowing the developed countries to take benefit from a material standard equal to our own. However, what they forget is that the consumption itself is dependant on how many people that consume. If we wish to preserve our natural resources so that future generations, like us, may have access to oil and be able to drink fresh water, we need not only to reduce consumption in the West, but to regulate the overpopulation worldwide, especially in the developed countries where this problem is worst."
The differences between the two texts are size and presentation: debate articles are always shorter - the rule goes that the shorter they are, the more likely they are to be published; any explicit references to obvious conflicts with modern humanism are left out. Instead of writing that "most people must die" or "genocide could be beneficial" or even "the more people in the developed countries that die, the better", we safely put it: "regulate overpopulation worldwide". This sounds not only more passive and vague, but never explicitly states how such a regulation is to take place. When creating debate articles, make sure to be short and concise - and always read through the guidelines that most newspapers have published on their website. Follow them, and the chance of your submission being published increases. Submit regularly and don't give up; most newspapers are spammed with messages every day with people wanting their things to become published. A recommendation is to make submissions to organizations with ideas similar to your own; nationalist newspapers like nationalist articles.
If the above methods fail, it's wise not to give up completely on this media. Collect a few individuals and organize attacks on both news- and netpapers by submitting comments to debate texts and news articles. On the Internet these submissions are not always moderated, whereas they always have to go through a third party before they get published in an actual newspaper. Online, make small and agitating comments, linking back to your own website. On popular netpapers this is a good way of inserting your ideas into the public domain.
§ Visual media
After the Internet became a place for entertainment rather than a resource for information the popularity of comedic video and images increased dramatically. What attracts people to these media forms are the immediate similarities to TV and movies, as well as their habits of dealing with existential, political, cultural and philosophical problems through humour (often as irony). Most people prefer humour over other methods of presenting dilemmas as it's a global language that is both entertaining and informative, while at the same time it demoralizes the solution on a shallow level. It somehow removes the seriousness of the issue. For instance, compare this written article to this video - even though both will offend most people, the latter presents the problem in a humorous and therefore more accessible way, while the first is most prone to scepticism.
The first thing to do, is to summarize the ideas manifested by your organization and then let an individual well versed within graphic design, create humorous and intelligent pictures describing each idea/dilemma/phenomena - don't forget to add a link to your webpage inside the picture. These images can both be printed and put up at offices, notice boards, road signs etc., but the most effective way of spreading these is by uploading them to different websites. There are nowadays a large number of places where people can submit pictures of different kinds, and these are important ways for your organization to become known. Most of these web pages are moderated, so it's a wise idea not to expose images too extreme in nature. Also, take note of the sites that list the popular images according to ranking systems: these will be your best friends. The funnier your image is, the better the message is, the more it will increase in popularity among people, allowing it to rise higher in the rankings. Upload several images at a time and await approval from the administrators. Watch them get popular.
Where images don't suffice, videos are useful. As the Internet Service Providers regularly update their technology and are thereby able to offer increased bandwidth for their customers, video is becoming the new popular media on the Internet. Create short video clips with either a humorous or controversial presentation of a basic idea that you wish to spread to the general public. Upload these to popular websites and add a summarization of what the video is supposed to express - again, don't forget to include a link back to your webpage. Popular videos are viewed by thousands of people every day, and, as with image sites and ranking systems, the more popular they get, the higher they increase in exposure. This media might become one of the most important ways in the future to spread information to a large group of people.
Together with visual media, audio and music are popular mediums among people on the Internet today. Using audio is an experimental method for spreading information, but it's definitely a viable way of reaching out to a large group of people. For instance, your organization can let a person read out shorter texts in a microphone, record them in mp3 format and then spread these on forums, file sharing networks and other places where it's possible to store media. If the resources are there, it's absolutely recommended to start up what we like to call a "pirate radio", which is basically an online radio show. These have recently become more and more popular, and if you manage to create a good blend of music, news coverage and interviews, your show might become the next big thing. Many political parties run radio shows on the Internet on a daily basis, and the effects of this can best be imagined rather than statistically shown. Like any form of media, audio is today entertainment for most people: use that to your advantage and present an interesting show that appeals to the audience you wish to target.
According to modern society, the individual is the centre of the universe and must not be offended or hurt. As such, a religion around people's egos arises, something that on the Internet manifests itself in a variety of ways. Blogs are one of them. A blog is simply a personal space where the author regularly publishes texts for the open public to read. This has become one of the most popular ways for people to express themselves online, and many of the famous people you see on TV or hear on the radio definitely keep a blog these days. From this we understand that some blogs are more popular than others - this is something your organization can make use of.
First thing: get yourself a blog, either on your own server or by using a pre-configured one by another company. These spaces are always free of charge and you only need to register at their main page to get started within minutes. Here you regularly publish news, articles, comments and other things that might interest other people. While it's often hard to grab people's attention, especially considering that almost every person you know also run a blog, a more interesting way is to make use of other people's spaces. Famous journalists, politicians and even movie stars, often keep their own blog. As their visitors often range between a few thousand or more a day, you'd be insane not to join in on the fun and comment on their articles. Unlike with netpapers, comments on blogs are very seldom moderated, which means you're able to write outrageous things to make people interested in what you have to say. The key to using blogs effectively is to look beyond the reason to why they exist: use them as a means of spreading propaganda and make fun of people who are there to gratify their own egos. Turn your blog into a propaganda machine and never stop delivering.
Not all people are interesting in visiting the same page every day to check for updates. Therefore you will need some kind of system that sends out news to visitors. While the standard RSS feed is good, you might want to consider a more pragmatic method: email. Let visitors subscribe to your email list and regularly send out information on new articles and events concerning your organization and its development. Although many email providers filter these emails, it's still an excellent way of presenting news in an interesting form, as you're able to include images, audio files, excerpts from texts etc.
"He who is not your enemy, is a potential friend" - currently there is a large number of intelligent people on the Internet trapped inside their own blog or forum instead of teaming up with like-minded individuals and becoming effective. It's always positive to establish connections to competent bloggers and writers, creating propaganda together and organize larger attacks on other forums or blogs. You'll be surprised how many competent people that spend all their free time on lonely projects that often carry small pragmatic effects, when they together could form something much larger and much more effective.
With these methods of spreading information for your organization, you will start to see your computer as an AK-47 and Internet as your bullet belt; shoot sharp and smart to become the victor of the cyberworld.
October 30, 2006
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