The Taliban, like Charlie Sheen, ARE WINNING on Twitter
A little bird told me
For a group that has denounced the West and its modern ways, the Taliban have seriously embraced the Internet as a means to get their message out. They have websites in English, Arabic, Pashto, Urdu and Farsi. And now, they’ve even started a Twitter feed alongside the likes of Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan.
I kid you not.
Their user name is “alemarahweb” — see for yourself. They’ve been posting tweets since mid-December 2010, mostly tales of military exploits, along with a boatload of propaganda. But until this week, they were written only in Arabic and Pashto, a dialect in Afghanistan. Now they have also decided to tweet in English.
Of course, this makes their Twitter feed a bit unwieldy, as there are now multiple posts for the exact same news item. Sometimes the English ones are tweeted twice. Of course, since the claims of casualties and tank destructions appear to be false, maybe their goal is to make it look as if they are many times more deadly than before.
Certainly, their claims seem blown out of proportion, in the style of much Twitter self-promotion. In their website’s Latest News section, the tally from just a single day of fighting includes the destruction of six U.S. tanks and many other vehicles and successful attacks on two airbases. None of this could be confirmed by any legitimate news source. They might as well say “All your base are belong to us.” That’s an old joke in video game circles, but it works here.
As pure fiction, the Taliban’s tweets are not very entertaining, but some of the replies are. Most are either “Yeah, we are awesome. The US will fall to our warriors!” But occasionally you get a good tongue-in-cheek one, which in my opinion is the best response to hate-filled propaganda.
One Twitter culture custom they have yet to learn: that following begets followers. The Taliban has over 5,800 followers, but they are only following four people. Even the most famous celebrities who use Twitter have higher follower-to-following ratios. It’s almost as if they just want to say what they want to say, and don’t care what anyone else thinks. Sort of like Charlie Sheen.
So you heard it here first. The Taliban — winning! — in their own minds.
Greg Crowe is a staff writer covering mobile technology for GCN. Follow him on Twitter: @GCNLabGuys.