Tal Navarro טל נברו מבצע עמוד ענן

Operation Pillar of Defense – New Media Coverage

Operation Pillar of Defense in the Social Media

Nowadays everybody knows that in order to get the most updated news in real time (especially when it comes to important events such as natural disasters, wars etc.) one has to use the social platforms.

During operation Pillar of Defense, public and government officials have invested unprecedented efforts in the media and digital frontiers. They were joined by unofficial activists, who used social platform wisely, and had a huge impact on the public debate. They shared real time events, thus taking an active part in the escalating conflict.

A few days ago I took part in a fascinating panel, sponsored by the Israel Internet Association, in which I've interviewed several dominant activists about their participation in the operation's digital efforts.

Pillar of Defense Panel, photo by Ben Frig

Who said what?

Michal Schreiber

CEO at Web Done, New & Social Media Company, who ran the Home Front Command's (HFC) campaign online, introduced HFC's guidelines for a helpful interaction with the online crowd:

  • Multichannel interactions
  • Open and honest response
  • Discussing with as many people as possible
  • Ongoing Dialog

Not only had the HFC published many advertisements, but it gave a more personal response to questions online.

Market segments – who 'speaks' about the HFC

The most active users are men at the ages of 18-24 and women at the age of 25-34.

In general, there are more women who followed the page than men (59% women vs. 40.1% men)

Advertisement published by the HFC during the operation

During operation Pillar of Defense, The HFC operated mainly online, posting viral messages and answering questions on their Facebook page.

Stand With Us Media Manager:

Not only did he sit in front of the screen, The New Media Manager at Stand With Us was actually out in the fields trying to influence Israeli image around the world. Stand With Us operated in several fields:

  • Publishing numerous amounts of posts that are based on personal stories of victims. These posts have become highly popular and were rapidly spread throughout the web.
  • Rapidly responding to false evidences published by Palestinians and other Arab countries. The response included pictures of Israeli damage and injuries.
  • Using a variety of languages, platforms and websites.

Yoram Morad

Director of the Digital Diplomacy Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spoke about the digital procedures within the ministry to share real time information with the public, thus influencing the public debate.

Morad claimed that each and every post uploaded by the MFA received dozens and even hundred thousands of shares, likes and comments. Moreover, the MFA manages 15 facebook pages followed by 1.5 million users worldwide.  

Digital Diplomacy Feb. 2013- Pillar of Defense

ArikShor, made Aliya from the USA, worked for Satellite in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. He did not miss the opportunity to assist the people in Ashkelon during the escalation and participated in the operation center ('war room') in the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center (IDC).

The IDC used the digital tools such as Twitter and Facebook, and one can indeed notice a massive change in the public discussion during the operation. On Twitter they spoke with leading public figures, used their own 'hashtag' and analyzed relevant trends. Their work had a huge impact on the public debate and opinions, shown in the following number:

2,400 more followers within 5 days.

More than 80% of the followers were non Israeli.

More than 900 tweets posted in one crazy week.

An online Dropbox folder (containing all the files that were approved for the public) allowed everyone everywhere to be exposed to the contents.

Sasha Draveta, Head of the New Media Desk at the IDF spokesperson unit said 'our keyboards are weapons – Facebook and Twitter are war zones'.

Sasha spoke about the power in the hands of people. It is incredible that the IDF can take advantage of the social platforms to reach a huge amount of people. To his opinion, this is a lifesaving effort!

Ben Lang, only 19 years old, and yet has already provided consultation to various Startups, wrote in the leading technology websites and – during operation 'pillar of defense' – founded and managed the Iron Dome Count.

Although he was quieter during the panel, Ben explained that he saw great importance in bringing people immediate and exact updates about the Iron Dome system.

In the bottom line, the digital activity during the operation was a big success, saved many lives and had a vast contribution to Israeli public affairs both in Israel and worldwide.

Have any questions to the participant? Leave a comment and I'd make sure to pass it along!

And may we never know anymore wars, Amen!


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