John Shiffman’s piece in today’s Philly Inquirer profiles my take on AQAP’s propaganda effort, which I say has been gamified. Will follow up on this post -explaining gamification if you’re not familiar with it and why I’m the first to argue that AQ is getting gamified – after I testify this morning on the matter. Here’s some money quotes from Shiffman’s article:
Inspire’s intended audience is American. The magazine encourages “open-source jihad,” offering tips for bomb-making and secure e-mail contact, inspirational quotes from jihadists, and even David Letterman jokes about President George W. Bush. One issue includes a list of helpful tips, “What to expect in jihad.”
Inspire is “so kitsch, at first glance it appears over the top, but this is intentionally so,” said Jarret Brachman, who runs the terrorism consulting firm Cronus Global L.L.C. and is to testify Wednesday.
Brachman said that the magazine employed American business concepts of branding and gaming – for example, frequent flyer or “reward” programs that entice consumers to buy by making a game out of purchases.
“It’s almost comic-booklike, with elements of American pop culture, but in a way that attracts people by making it seem like a game,” he said. “And it inspires them by lowering the barrier in a way that helps them make the jump from the virtual word into the real world.”