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Page history last edited by Darren Krape 13 years, 11 months ago

A collection of examples and articles on the use of social media during the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict.


I am most interested in creating an analytical list of examples and aim to be as neutral as possible. Commentary may be added, but will focus on critiquing the use and effectiveness on the effort and not on the message being delivered. More

Press digest on social media and the Gaza conflict


Many of the following examples will be drawn from largely independent, ostensibly neutral, individuals and groups who may not have a public diplomacy goal (e.g., independent news outlets). Nonetheless, they influence the public discourse (and often including public input) and therefore help shape public diplomacy strategy.


Things to add: flickr/picasa/photo site tagging, youtube/vimeo/etc user videos, debatemap, petitions, myspace efforts, ...?



Including: blogs, internet forums, microblogs, social networking, events


Name Type Perspective Description Comment
Israel Politik Blog Pro-Israel Created by the Israeli Consulate in New York City to "directly address audiences throughout the world and to serve as a vehicle to better communicate the State of Israel's message of hope and peace". In particular the site focuses on Sderot, an Israeli town near Gaza which has been hit by rockets from Gaza.  
Twitter: israelconsulate Micro-blog (Twitter) Pro-Israel The official Twitter feed for the Consulate General of Israel in New York. On 30 Dec 2008 the consulate used Twitter to hold a "virtual press conference". The first tweet was posted 29 Dec and (as of 2 Jan) the feed has 3000+ followers. Though the virtual press conference was an interesting experiment and generated a good deal of interest, the format didn't serve it well since responses were too brief and required awkward abbreviations. Some technical details of the effort. - Darren Krape
Twitter: Al Jazeera English Gaza Micro-blog (Twitter) Neutral/Other The latest news from Al Jazeera English on the violence in Gaza  
Twitter: QassamCount Micro-blog (Twitter) Pro-Israel Twitter stream of the Hamas rockets reportedly being fired into southern Israel.  
Twitter: #Gaza Micro-blog (Twitter) Pro-Gaza, Pro-Israel, Neutral/Other Hashtags (e.g. #Gaza or #Israel) are how Twitter users tag their tweets to specific topics. These tweets then will be available using Twitter search or can be automatically pulled into social media mashups.  
Pro-Gaza Facebook Pages and Groups Social Network (Facebook) Pro-Gaza As of 2 Jan 09, there are a significant number pro-Gaza Facebook groups and fan pages, many with thousands to tens of thousands of supporters in a variety of languages. Most of them appear to be focused on distributing photos, video and other material (often showing the results of Israeli air strikes). To a lesser extent, they are being used for a discussion forum. Most of the large groups seem to be created by members of the public and not organizations. A few examples (you may need to be logged in): Let's collect 500000 signatures to support the Palestinians in Gaza, PREVENT A NEW GENOCIDE; SAVE GAZA, Sympathise with GAZA ! تظامنا مع غزة Facebook groups/pages are often a way to signal someone's personal perspective and seem, to me, less about trying to convince skeptics. Actual discussions seems fairly in-frequent. Good article on the subject. - Darren Krape
Pro-Israel Facebook Pages and Groups Social Network (Facebook)  Pro-Gaza As of 2 Jan, there are a significant number pro-Israel Facebook groups and fan pages, many with thousands to tens of thousands of supporters. Israel seems to have a greater diversity of Facebook pages, a number of which deal less with the Gaza conflict than generally showing support for the country. Similar to the Gaza Facebook pages and groups, the Israeli sites focus on disseminating material. A few examples (you may need to be logged in): I Wonder How Quickly I Can Find 1,000,000 People Who Support Israel.., I Support Israel in the War Against Terrorism, I Support the Israel Defense Forces In Preventing Terror Attacks From Gaza While these sites seem to have a few more actual discussions, like the Gaza examples, those posting often seem to be less centralist and more from the ideological wings of the argument. Good article on the subject - Darren Krape
Blog coverage Blogs Pro-Gaza, Pro-Israel, Neutral/Other Hundreds of blogs (if not thousands or more) are also commenting on the situation. Blog search engines are a useful way to get a quick sense of what is being said: Global Voices: Palestine, Technorati: results for "Gaza", Google Blog Search: Results for "Gaza"  
GazaTalk: New Media Resistance Blog Pro-Gaza Pro-Gaza blog site that publishes information and media related to the Israel-Gaza conflict. See the "How to resist Online" section for ten steps members of the public can do to support Gaza and protest against Israeli strikes. These include changing your profile picture on social networks to an image supporting Gaza, blogging about the situation, writing on Twitter and through other means.  
Help Us Win Blog Pro-Israel Pro-Israel blog that publishes information and media related to the Israel-Gaza conflict. Provides guidance on how to get involved, specifically: regularly updated "key massages", suggested groups to join, a mailing list, news sites and articles where comments are allowed, stories to "Digg", and other ways to contribute.  
Aid2Gaza Blog Pro-Israel A major Israeli talking point on the Gaza operation is that there is no humanitarian disaster and Gazan citizens are being provided for. Aid2Gaza, a blog maintained by the Israeli Embassy in London "aims to give as much information as possible on all the international aid being sent into Gaza". This is an interesting effort, particularly since it highlights the humanitarian cost, which Israel would presumably not want to highlight. Oddly, the photo widget on the left shows graphic images of civilian casualties, so either the site managers made a mistake (such as just pulling all images with "Gaza" in the title), or this isn't really an effort of the Israeli Embassy. I've contacted the embassy for clarification. - Darren Krape
Megaphone Software Pro-Israel The Megaphone desktop tool is a Microsoft Windows application distributed by the World Union of Jewish Students and other pro-Israel organizations, through the Giyus.org website. Released on July 19, 2006, it delivers real-time alerts about key articles, videos, blogs, and surveys to subscribers so that they can voice their opinions and work together to support Israel on the public opinion front.  
Al Jazeera casualty widget Embeddable Widget Neutral/Other (nominally Pro-Gaza, see notes) This widget displays Al Jazeera's current casualty count in the Gaza conflict. Web site owners can embed this widget on their site, allowing them to show up-to-date statistics on casualties. One technical omission is the ability to get the embed code from the widget itself, limiting the ability to "virally" spread this widget. First, see my note regarding perspective (especially relating to Al Jazeera). I've tried to focus on the strategy and technology and avoid my personal opinion but the one question I have to ask is: if the numbers were flipped (e.g., more Israeli casualties than Palastinians), I wonder if Al Jazeera would have produced this (instead of, say, the Jerusalem Post)?



Including: wikis, social bookmarking, social news sites


Name Type Perspective Description Comment
Wikipedia: 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict Wikipedia entry Neutral/Other Wikipedia entry on the conflict. Created on the first day of Israeli air-strikes (27 Dec 2008), the page has, in the first seven days, been edited more than 2000 times (with a 4 minute mean time between edits). To get an idea of the scale, the 2008 Mumbai attacks page has had 3500 edits in more than a month. The entry’s talk page is a fascinating example of the (often contentious) discussions influencing the creation of the page.  
Interactive Map of the Gaza conflict Interactive, Crowd-Sourced Map Neutral/Other Al Jazeera's interactive map of the Gaza conflict. Updated are submitted to Al Jazeera via text (SMS) messages, email, an online form and through twitter.  
Social news sites Social news sites (Reddit, Digg, and others) Pro-Gaza, Pro-Israel, Neutral/Other Users on sites like Digg and Reddit can submit stories or vote on existing stories. Popular stories with many votes will be prominently featured to thousands of users. This is one method users can promote stories to a wide audience, a practice encouraged by advocacy sites. Many of these social news sites feature comment streams on submitted stories, making the page a center for debate and discussion. A few stories that hit the front page of Digg and Reddit include: Arabs turn against 'megalomaniac' Hamas; Hamas executes 35 Fatah members in Gaza, shoots 75 in legs, breaks others' hands; GRAPHIC Video of Israel Defense Force's attack on Gaza civilian market -- originally uploaded on & banned by YouTube (NSFW) Interestingly, it seems one of the examples I gave ("GRAPHIC video of Israeli...attack on civilian market") was a video which a careful observer seems to have found to be faked by pro-Gaza supporters. See the comment here and an additional explination. This goes both ways though, an Israeli air-strike IDF claimed was on a Hamas truck, may have instead been a civilian vehicle delivering oxygen tanks. Both illustrative examples of how social media can self correct and expose errors or falsifications. - Darren Krape



Including: photo sharing, video sharing, livecasting, audio and music sharing 


Name Type Perspective Description Comment
YouTube: Israeli Defense Force Spokesperson's Unit Video, YouTube Channel Pro-Israel Collection of videos from the IDF, mainly focusing on grainy footage from Israeli air strikes. Rating is allowed but comments are disabled for all the videos. YouTube briefly pulled one video showing an air strike on a Hamas vehicle after a number of people flagged it as being inappropriate.  
YouTube: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Video, YouTube Channel Pro-Israel Arabic-language media channel created by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Unlike the IDF, they do allow comments.  
YouTube: LikudNetanyahu Video, YouTube Channel Pro-Israel YouTube channel of Bejamin Netanyahu, leader of the opposition party Likud, but a strong supporter of the Gaza strikes. Though likely set up for his election campaign, he has posted videos supporting the Gaza operation and highlighting rocket strikes in Israel. Israeli PM Olmert reportedly asked Netanyahu to help upport the public diplomacy effort.  
Flickr: FreeGaza Photos, Flickr Channel Pro-Gaza Free-Gaza, and organization trying to "break the siege of Gaza", has been posting images of their work and, especially, trips to Gaza. The group received notoriety when one of their ships was damaged in an incident involving the Israeli navy. The group posted photos of the damage.  
YouTube: Al Jazeera Video, YouTube Playlist Neutral/Other A collection of he latest news and analysis on the Gaza-Israel conflict from Al Jazeera.  
PalTube Video Pro-Gaza Launched by Hamas, this largely Arabic-language video page shows video clips of news programs, Israeli attacks in Gaza, interviews and more.  



Including: virtual worlds, online gaming 


Name Type Perspective Description Comment
Pro-Gaza Second Life Protests Virtual World (Second Life) Pro-Gaza Soon after the initial air strikes, dozens of people staged a pro-Gaza protest. A Middle-East-based news site built a "Palestine Holocaust Memorial Museum" with pictures of the attacks. The memorial, which launched in March 2008, has served as a focal point for the protests.  


News Articles/Videos/Etc

News articles about the Israel-Gaza conflict and the use of social media. Note: Several of these articles include extensive comment threads discussing the situation, so therefore they can be considered part of the social media public diplomacy effort as well.



Additional comment: When noting "perspective", I am talking about explicit expression of preference. As such, an organization like Al Jazeera, who presumably would claim neutrality, I will label "Neutral/Other" despite what some would argue is an obvious bias. If a representative at Al Jazeera states they are pro-Gaza and anti-Israel, I will change the noted perspective. That being said, I am naturally biased too (as is everyone), and despite my efforts to overcome this there will be, at the very least, a selection bias. As such, I welcome comments and corrections.

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