Rear Adm. John Kirby kept his major announcement about Iraq on Friday morning short — as in less than 140 characters. Instead of a news conference or TV announcement, the Pentagon's press secretary took to Twitter to break the news that U.S. forces would drop bombs on ISIS artillery in Iraq. While the Department of Defense has not been shy about embracing social media, this is the first time in U.S. history a decision of this scale has been announced on Twitter. Two Navy F-18 fighter jets dropped bombs on ISIS forces on Friday near the Kurdish capital of Erbil, which is also home to a U.S. consulate. Social media has become an integral part of public relations battles in recent military conflicts, including the competing tweets from the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas during the current fighting in Gaza.
"This appears to be the way forward as a growing number of agencies take to social media platforms in order to win the hearts and minds of an increasingly online electorate," Romen Bose, head of social media and intelligence for Asia at research firm IHS Country Risk, told NBC News.
- Keith Wagstaff