The GIFs that appear in this piece were sent to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as a piece of free consulting, to help them make a better Tumblr.
At a rally for Barrett Brown and Jeremy Hammond on Monday night, Wikileak's lawyer Michael Ratner spoke of the utter desperation exhbited by the government as US citizens learn more than the Intelligence Community ever intended them to.
Now, in an attempt to appear more transparent a part of the conversation about transparency, the Intelligence Community's Tumblr (icontherecord.tumblr.com) has been launched by the Director of National Intelligence. Like those Manhattan Mini-Storage ads, which try in the most awkward of ways (I still don't get this) to belong in an unlikely context, this Tumblr is one of the more boring, off-topic, piece-of-shit Tumblrs ever.
Acting quite simply as a place for the DNI's messaging to live within the most visible place the NSA could think of, a social media webserver, all official statements of the DNI and NSA can be found on this Tumblr.
So, this is ironic, right? Just when Obama—who heeded the Tumblr into existence—said, "We can and must be more transparent. So I’ve directed the intelligence community to make public as much information about these programs as possible," in comes this lousy Tumblr, which in theory should be susceptible to the NSA watching, as well as spying on its own Tumblr analytics. But I don't think it'll be getting many notes. That is, until they do something creative.
The Whitehouse's Tumblr promises to be social, to start a conversation. It accepts submissions via whitehouse.tumblr.com/submit, and posts GIFs. IC on the Record, on the other hand, isn't taking submissions. The blog doesn't have an active submit link that I could find. So I emailed them:
Dear James Clapper:
I receive your official statements in my email frequently. I've received 17 of them since the PRISM leaks came out. I applaud your taking Obama's advice to begin a Tumblr and posting your official statements there as well. For most of Tumblr's everfleeting demographic (18 to 24-year-olds) it'll be much easier to go to your Tumblr page than to sign up for your press mailing list or to bookmark www.dni.gov/index.php/newsroom/recent-news in their browsers. Your long, wordy defenses against journalism that's cast the organizations in the wrong light, and harmed your plight for transparency should be everywhere on the Internet. Especially, social media. (Bravo!)
But your shitty Tumblr is only bound to end up the butt of a few jokes. You need to make it better.
I thought I'd include some assets, free of charge (this time) to help you get some notes. Heck, you could end up on Tumblr's Radar. (Don't worry, that's actually a good thing, possibly the best thing that can happen to you on Tumblr.) If you don't get interesting, you'll never attain Molly Soda-levels of Tumblr fame, and then you'll be very sad. Take a clue from what Obama has done with the Whitehouse Tumblr. Become a part of the conversation, don't just be some wall of text, listing your defense. You do that everywhere else already. And for cryin' out loud, add icontherecord.tumblr.com/submit, your conversation should go both ways, bucko!
You know when you're at a party enjoying a conversation and someone flanks the conversation and starts talking about their abs? It's annoying. That said, it's a facet of social media (and the Internet) we simultaneously hate and celebrate: That it could take a new, bizarre, ridiculous course at any second. Do I think the IC on the Record Tumblr has that sort of potential? Clearly, if it did, that ship has already sailed. But, what if?
In the past, Keith Alexander has posed in ridiculous photo ops, and last year he did attend DefCon 20 in a black t-shirt, almost poised to join Bad Religion (if Bad Religion weren't so mean to God and American values). With that in mind, here's to hoping the honorable women and men that helm the Intelligence Community's Tumblr do something better with it. Like post a GIF or an awesome picture, dudes.