Hey, remember when this designer made a whole bunch of amazing internet-themed World War II propaganda parodies? Well, one of those just cropped up in the actual military, albeit not for the first time. In an online bulletin earlier this month, the US Air Forces Central Command repurposed the iconic "loose lips sink ships" slogan to warn service members about the potential dangers of social media. As you might have guessed from the photo above, it's now "loose tweets destroy fleets."
The advice is a higher-tech version of the general best practices for keeping secrets. "As social media keeps evolving and there’s more and more avenues to let your friends and family know what you are up to, those same avenues can be used by ISIS sympathizers, ‘lone wolves,’ to track down and hurt our military members outside the safety of the base," warns AFCENT Force Protection chief Capt. Jonathan McDonald. "It’s vital to check your security settings in your social media accounts to make sure that just your friends are able to see what you post and remember to be smart about what you post and share."
"Keeping quiet about operational information is vital to ensure military members stay safe on a daily basis."
Social media, including Twitter, is indeed becoming an information battlefield, from ISIS propaganda to American counter-trolling operations. And the World War II slogan has inspired any number of parodies already. But the really pertinent point here is that this particular one is fundamentally syntactically incorrect. It completely breaks the four-syllable da DUM da DUM cadence that made "loose lips sink ships" so memorable.
The non-military parody (like other, similar jokes) uses the far superior "loose tweets sink fleets," which is probably technically wrong for airplanes. But if it was good enough for the Air Force 920th Rescue Wing to use back in 2012, there's no reason to ruin a good thing now — even if the new one admittedly has a cooler poster. At least, unlike the USS Theodore Roosevelt's Facebook team, neither of them tried to turn #LooseLipsSinkShips into a hashtag.