Tag Archives: Twitter

#GazaChat connects the world to Gaza

Gaza chat

A little known secret must be shared.

I never would have had the opportunity I had living and teaching in Gaza (Sept. 2012 – May 2013) if it hadn’t been for the Palestinian friends I made on Facebook during the heady days of the Arab Spring in 2011.

My nephew was responsible for setting up my Facebook account in 2007 or 2008 over my initial resistance. I just couldn’t imagine how Facebook might improve the online messaging experience I already had with email.

I know some friends in my cohort (50s, 60s and 70s) who refuse to take the leap into Facebook or, if they do, they carefully circumscribe their “friends list” and the online experience. They hope to maintain a semblance of privacy on a very public social media tool.

I did just the opposite. I want everything to be public. In the early days, I searched out interesting people (like authors and leaders in different fields) to request their “friendship” on Facebook. One led to another, and to another, until I had a critical mass of “friends”, many of whom I didn’t know personally but I liked their minds. I appreciated what they wrote or posted on Facebook.

Facebook all Over the World

I knew the downsides of Facebook — the silo effect which might trap me in an echo-chamber of like-minded “friends”; the craziness from the trolls on social media; and the ugliness from obnoxious idiots. Thankfully, I’ve been able to tiptoe around the minefield and avoid most of the traps I’ve been warned about.

During the Arab Spring uprising in Cairo in early 2011, a young Palestinian from Gaza reached out to me on Facebook. I don’t know how he found me, but our only connection seemed to be English and a mutual interest in the Arab Spring revolution. When he told me he was from Gaza, my typing fingers started whizzing along on the keyboard, recalling my first visit to Gaza in 2004. I wanted to hear more about his life in Gaza.

One thing led to another — as so much with life on Facebook does — and I met more Palestinians in Gaza, and a university professor from Gaza, and then secured an invitation to visit Gaza. Al-hamdulillah!

Israel has had a stranglehold on Gaza for the past 10+ years, preventing Palestinians from leaving and, more recently, preventing foreigners from entering the Gaza Strip. Social media provides the critical connection to the outside world from the “largest open air prison in the world.

According to a 2016 report published by the Palestinian company Concepts, approximately 1.7 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip use Facebook, while more than one million use WhatsApp and more than 300,000 use each of Twitter and Instagram.

Now I have a Twitter account (although I’ve decided to avoid Twitter since the Tweeter-in-Chief began polluting the airwaves).

I’m stepping into the world of Twitterstorms and Twitterchats because I see a glimmer of what the future holds. The benefit of tweeting in 160 characters still seems a bit elusive to me but I’m willing to learn. What new path might this reveal?

Gaza chat

The Twitterchat tomorrow (August 8, 2017) is organized by Just World Books and Just World Educational which provide the following explanation:

How does a Tweetchat work?

A tweetchat is a semi-structured, Twitter-based conversation that’s held at a designated time and built around participants’ use of a single hashtag– in our case, #GazaChat. Our two planned #GazaChats will run:

  • On Tuesday, August 8, 10-11 am ET (5-6 pm Palestine Time) and
  • On Tuesday, August 22, 10-11 am ET (5-6 pm Palestine Time)

If you are on Twitter, we hope you’ll join them both! Simply log on to Twitter at (or slightly before) the designated start-time, and search for the hashtag

#GazaChat, which we will all be using.

Once you’ve done that search and arrived at the #GazaChat screen, be sure to:

  • from the options near the top, choose the “Latest” view (circled in the screengrab above);
  • refresh the page frequently (the “Refresh” button is also circled); and
  • remember that you can post your own tweets directly from the search page– and when you do so, Twitter automatically adds the hashtag to your tweet!

It is actually easier to refresh the search if you use a mobile device, where you do it simply by swiping down on the screen. Whatever device you use, though, you’ll likely find there’s a time-lag of around 20 seconds between when someone posts a tweet with the hashtag and when it shows up in the search.

For the hour of the tweetchat, our hashtag will function as our (globe-circling) chat room! By the way, for most participants, joining the conversation is a text-only experience, so you’ve no need for any fancy internet connections.

To help structure each chat, we (@JustWorldEd) will throw into it a series of questions, that we’ve previously prepared on static image-slides for your easy visibility. We’ll post a new question every few minutes, and we’ll number them, Q1, Q2, Q3… They will look like the sample one shown here.

We ask chat participants to try to respect the numbering system, which helps to give some structure to what could otherwise be an unruly Twitter free-for-all. When you see a question– or a series of answers to any question– that you want to comment on, discuss, or give an answer to, please preface your answer or other contribution with A1, A2, or whatever the number is of the discussion-portion it’s related to. Twitter will then automatically include the #GazaChat hashtag on your answer, if you’re connected via the hashtag search.

You’ll need to keep your answers short, of course. But you can certainly contribute more than once to each question.

We also ask you to keep your contributions respectful to everyone– and not to hog the discourse completely.

Once the discussion on Q1 seems to have run its course, we’ll tweet out Q2… then Q3, Q4, and so on… Stay tuned to the #GazaChat hashtag so you can see and respond to each of the questions as we send them out!







Filed under Gaza, Media, nonviolent resistance, People


Woke up this morning and checked my Facebook and Twitter accounts for any breaking news. Surprised to learn of a social media campaign launched by Hamas in Gaza using the hashtag #AskHamas. Apparently, Hamas leaders are trying to reach western audiences (hence the English!) with the goal of breaking down the “terrorist” label that some Western governments have slapped on the group.

I applaud them for this effort, but it shouldn’t have come to anyone’s surprise that the Zionists (maybe not all Zionists but the rabid fools) have occupied the Twitter-sphere all day using foul language and grotesque pictures.

The Washington Post reported that their Twitter campaign backfired.  The Israeli ynetnews.com reported the torrent of abuse the twitter campaign has already received. The Times of Israel, ABC News, Haaretz, Times of India, and FOX News all jumped in to announce how the Twitter campaign “backfired”. I won’t be surprised if this simple Twitter campaign doesn’t make the nightly TV news in the United States this evening. I’ll be watching.

So maybe these commentators are correct, if the Hamas organizers wanted a rational Q & A on social media, then it certainly backfired because 99% (my estimate) of the Tweets appear to be from hatemongers, Zionist trolls, and Israeli apologists. They have spewed forth so much vitriolic venom in the last 12 hours that #AskHamas has actually been trending in America. Amazing!

On the other hand, if Hamas wanted to grab the attention of the western mainstream media and expose these rabid hatemongers, then this campaign has exceeded beyond anyone’s imagination.

So I encourage folks to check out #AskHamas on Twitter.  And post a serious question or two.

Apologies in advance, but I think it’s instructive to see some examples of the Zionists’ idiocy.

Kevin Long ‏@KL4AMERICA 1m1 minute ago
Maybe people would like you more if you wore your underpants over your trousers like Superman. Everybody likes him. Am I right? #AskHamas
Rebecca Thompson ‏@thisgirlsaysno 5m5 minutes ago
@AskHamas How many poots would Putin poot if Putin could poot poots? And where would he be while pooting? #AskHamas #fartjoke
The Python ‏@RozPython 7m7 minutes ago
#AskHamas Hi there. TY for doing this. What are your thoughts on the Prophet Muhammad sticking items of all shapes and sizes up his ass?

Mixty Motions ‏@iamnotchjohnson 8m8 minutes ago

Do you have bacon flavored bacon? #AskHamas

serena!!! ‏@suhhhhrena 9m9 minutes ago
@PolitiBunny: Why did the terrorist cross the road? Cuz his dick was stuck in the chicken. #AskHamas :)” wallahi white people need to stop
Chris Cross ‏@ProIsrael007 11m11 minutes ago
#AskHamas How much payola do you get from John Greyson & Demon D’Oliveria to kill Jews and, by the way, do you know they’re gay?
Robert Stanfield ‏@ReturnofBigfoot 2m2 minutes ago
#askhamas how young is too young? Does it bother you that no woman will ever truly love you? Is fear and intimidation an aphrodisiac?
Jason ‏@chopblockphx 5m5 minutes ago
How much funding is needed to step up your clothing game to suits and bowties like the Nation of Islam? #AskHamas

 Don’t these fools understand how their comments reflect back on them?  I’m embarrassed on their behalf.


Filed under Hamas, Uncategorized

Speedy social media

“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.

Robson Brown

Robson Brown

2013-03-30 17.47.04One 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.


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Filed under Gaza, Media, Video

Can twitter change the world?

If Americans only knew more about what’s going on in the Middle East, and how their government is enabling and supporting the low-intensity warfare in Israel and Palestine, I believe they would demand change.   That’s one reason I came to Gaza in September.

I know the western mainstream media is failing us miserably.  My goal is to be an honest community journalist, reporting what I see and learn, to reach as many Americans as possible.

I want to avoid falling into the trap of just being a mouthpiece for the “Palestinian resistance.”  That would be just as unhelpful as the mainstream media’s infatuation with the Israeli “spin”.

Friends recommended I start tweeting (or is it twittering?) to reach more people.   With nearly 1,800 “friends” on Facebook,  and 100+ hits each day on my blog, I’m already connecting with many.   But am I only “speaking to the choir”?  And how many are really paying attention?

If I’m going to reach The Hundredth Monkey, that critical number to create a societal tipping point, I will need to think outside of the box.

So I will give twitter a try.  Twitter is baffling and learning how it works will take some patience.  How can 140 characters communicate much of anything?   Twitter may get people out into the streets, but can it really change minds and hearts?

Any ideas out there ab0ut how I might share my observations and opinions about Gaza with more Americans?


Filed under Gaza, Media