“The greatest strength of social media is its speed.” That’s the take-away message I received from the presentation today at the Center for Political Development Studies in Gaza.
Robson Brown, part of an academic delegation from Bradford University in the UK visiting the Gaza Strip, spoke to an audience of about 20 people. He talked about the important role of citizen journalism (ordinary people making news reports) to get accurate and timely news out and to correct the media bias that we all know exists, especially regarding the Israeli occupation.
One example of the benefits of social media Brown shared concerned Ben Ali. The Tunisian President was flying all over the world in his official presidential airplane while he was censuring the news at home. The official government news reported that he was in Tunisia.
He couldn’t hide his plane from a whole network of activists in different countries who began sighting his plane landing in capitals in far-flung places. They started tweeting his whereabouts. Ben Ali was outed by a well-organized social media campaign, and the cat was out of the bag.
Robson Brown gave some good practical tips about using social media strategically to get your message out. Did you know that too many #hashtags make the message less interesting? On the other hand, you want to use lots and lots of key word tags on Facebook and YouTube to draw more attention.
But the planned 2 hour workshop was cut short after one hour. The audience clearly was hoping for more . . . and I was too. Maybe Brown will return for a follow-up meeting.