The Battle for Hearts and Minds on Twitter

Most of the information I’m getting about what’s going on with the Flotilla2 (Freedom Flotilla) is from Twitter for several reasons: 1) it’s a good way to get info. directly from people who are on the boats; 2) the U.S. mainstream media is largely ignoring the story at this point; 3) it’s nice to get the perspective of actual Palestinians who are anxiously awaiting for the Flotilla to arrive and 4) one gets a nauseating, but important, look at the hatred expressed by the Israel First crowd- this is important because this sort of thing is largely ignored by the media. It’s not just the lunatic fringe that advocating the death of fellow-Americans on the Flotilla but real estate agents, Hollywood CEOs and a former G.W. Bush speechwriter.

Anyway, this article appeared in Reuters and it talks about how Twitter is being used by all sides to get their message out. What’s interesting is that I think the use of Twitter is really helping the pro-Palestinian contingent more so than the Israeli government, which is also trying to use Twitter to spread their [dis]information.

Keep in mind that if you are someone who is either on the Flotilla or a supporter of their cause, you really don’t have the same bully pulpit and slick messaging that the U.S. and Israeli governments have. Not to mention, the mainstream media dutifully reports the Israeli-U.S. version of events without much objectivity or questioning, so that’s one more strike against the activists. So what other choice do they have but to turn to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs in an effort to at least try to level the information playing field?

Of course, there is a certain “preaching to the choir” aspect to social networking. If you are on Twitter and obsessively following the hashtags #Gaza, #Israel, #FreedomFlotilla and #Flotilla2 to get the latest updates then you probably already follow the issue closely and don’t need much convincing of anything, irrespective of which “side” you are on. The people who would benefit from seeing some of the exchanges of information on Twitter are the people who get most,if not all, of their news from 30 second soundbites on Fox, CNN or ABC, or by reading the NYT and Washington Post. Those folks are difficult for these pro-Palestinian activists to reach because they usually don’t have access to the MSM and thus it’s very hard to convince the average American who doesn’t follow these issues closely, that the Flotilla isn’t a “terrorist death boat setting sail to delegitimize Israel” or something like that. Granted, there are some media aboard the ships but again, I’m not seeing a whole lot of coverage of it in the U.S. MSM.

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About Stacy

Attorney, Publisher, Foreign Policy wonk

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