Information warfare for beginners

Ten tips from experience on the battlefield

I have no qualifications whatsoever to write this essay, having no formal military education, but that should never get in the way of anything! Here are a few thoughts on what I have learned from fighting in an information war for the past few years.

Lies are manure, your job is composting. The battlefield is filled with deception, and you’ve got to accept that it’s going to be a nonstop “sh*t show”. Don’t get riled by the blatant falsehoods and wallow in the poop; focus on saying what is verifiable or sourced, and describe the “blossoms” of hard data and robust logic. Only give lies attention to the extent that you wish to analyse the enemy’s propaganda methods; that’s how they can fertilise the “fruit of facts”.

Don’t feed the trolls. You have enemies whose sole objective is to deflect your attention and drag you down. Ignore them; let them bore themselves to death. Don’t legitimise them by engaging, as they will always be ready to land a lower punch. Make them irrelevant and forgotten instead. It may help to think of them as victims of deception, too, and facing pointless loss of life and liberty, and much sorrow as their loved ones suffer the consequences of living by lies.

It’s not personal, even when it is. People are going to say mean things about you. Sometimes hilariously mean things that are slanderous and defamatory. Don’t take it personally; they are aiming fire at the power of your public persona’s reputation for truth, not the real you. You have a choice over whether you get offended or internalise their insults. The only way to win is to not play their game of “warped words”.

Inbound fire is flattery. When you are named as a target to defame, it’s because you’re effective. When you’re deplatformed, it’s because you’re very effective. When they send their goons after you, that means you’re extremely effective. So don’t be discouraged by attacks; they are only directed at those who are making a difference. Bullies are cowards, so fight back fiercely!

Winning is out-learning the opposition. Use social media to float ideas and get feedback. It’s OK to be wrong, just change course as fresh data indicates. Some people will go after you for offering “out there” ideas and possibilities; ignore their false certainty, for they have cut themselves off from the learning loop. Eventually there’s a price to pay for denigrating the curiosity and open-mindedness of others.

Your personal truth is a fact. Statements of belief (“I think that…”) are truths, whether or not your belief is ultimately grounded in reality. You can change beliefs without having to confront any loss of face or dented ego. In contrast, if you make absolute statements, (“X is true!”) then be ready to back them up. That little softening of certainty makes all the difference.

Predictions with deadlines are always a mistake. Don’t try to make yourself look clever by getting ahead of reality; it backfires. Believe me, I have the scars. You can’t out-spook the spooks, and they never, ever tip their hand towards the public when the enemy is looking on. Lay out possibilities and hopes, just don’t confuse those with secret plans or intentions.

Everything you say can be used against you, so “vibe high”. Never say anything that could be misconstrued as a threat of (unlawful) violence, or that could damage the legitimacy of the cause. The pen really is mightier than the sword, and has to be wielded with the same responsibility as a firearm. Don’t fall to the temptations offered to engage with those who might wish to discredit or harm you.

Stick to your understanding. I don’t write about spirituality, ETs, nanotech, crypto, or a host of other things, because I don’t have a lot to say. I do write about IT, propaganda, everyday life, art, and Q because I have participated in these at some active level and have experiences to share. Everyone has a valuable perspective and life stories to offer, so there is no shame in sticking to what you have “conscious competence” in.

There isn’t a right or a wrong way to win. Some people just retweet others, that’s fine. Some only make memes, that’s fine. Some write long form essays, that’s fine. Winning is the sum output of everyone, and every contribution matters. You don’t need a large following to have an impact or influence. Free speech is your birth right, and there is no pre-qualification needed to use it wisely.