Why Social Media Matters for Israel Advocacy: Twitter
What is Twitter?
Twitter is often described as micro-blogging. You send and receive messages of less than 140 characters. You can use Twitter via your smart phone or your home computer. The messages can range from brief political observations, referrals to Facebook pages, significant articles, blog posts, or youtubes.
People generally need to "follow" someone’s Twitter feed in order to see their updates. Anyone or any organization can create a Twitter feed, and build followers. This takes time. A good way to start is by following the people you want to follow you (activists, bloggers, journalists) If you like what they have to say use the "RT" - retweet- function. The more times an item is retweeted, the higher visibility it gets.
Other ways to increase your following:
1. reply to a tweet by a prominent figure with a response that is interesting and/or humorous enough to get the original tweeter to either a) reply back to you or b) retweet your reply. then people might notice you and can choose to follow you.
2. mention someone (favorably) in your tweet with the @address and that person will see that you have mentioned him/her if they check their "mentions" screen.
"Hashtags" in Twitter are preceded by the # sign. Twitter users use hashtags to refer to a topic that’s being discussed by several people at once. (During Operation Pillar of defense, for example, the pro-Israel advocacy group used "#israeunderfire" to exchange information.) Its considered particularly cool to get your hashtag trending- that means thousands of people are using it at once.
Using hashtags a valuable way to gain visibility and exposure
Why does Twitter matter?
It’s a way to bypass the traditional gatekeepers of the mainstream media.
It’s a way to amplify our voices.
It’s a way to network with fellow advocates across the traditional boundaries of time and space
It’s a great way to receive and spread real time information.
Time and time again independent advocates have been able to share and distribute information using Twitter, well before it reaches the mainstream media.
Trends begin in the Bay area. People all over the world watch what happens here.With Twitter and a smart phone, you can communicate instantly with Israel advocates worldwide.
There are excellent advocates for Israel using Twitter. Do you have any other favorites? Let us know.