Israel’s intense social media blitz during the recent Gaza conflagration has redefined the social media landscape. From a social media “bunker” and various locations hundreds of Israelis saturated Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube with Tweets, blog posts and videos in an offensive that resembled a communications war.
The Palestinians, of course, responded in kind, with their own spin on events disseminated through the social media sphere. It was like virtual missiles raining on an enemy who employed a defense shield and counter-attacks. In the end it was akin to Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), a suitable metaphor for the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So much social media bombardment cancels itself out and the noise becomes an annoyance, rather than a means of objective education. The story became the social media war, not the real war. I doubt that many opinions were changed due to the effort of the Twittering, blogging hordes.
The Israelis, believing that the world media is against them, see it otherwise.
“We’re removing the media middle men,” said Daniel Seaman, deputy director general of Israel’s Ministry of Public Diplomacy. “They used to say the Elders of Zion controlled the media. Well, here are the youngsters of Zion who are running it.” The Israeli military spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, a self-described Twitter addict, heads a two-month-old “Interactive Media” branch, staffed with around 30 soldiers trained in writing and graphic design.
If there is a winner in this war, purely from a communications standpoint, it is the Israelis. They capitalized on the digerati’s obsession with infographics (below), they produced a better looking blog (for what it’s worth) and they gathered more followers.
- @IDFSpokesperson Official Israel Defense Forces Twitter account with 200K+ followers
- Israel Defense Forces Blog
- @AlqassamBrigade Official Hamas Armed Wing Twitter account with 42K+ followers
- Al-Qassam Web site for Hamas