Who exactly is listening?

Who exactly is listening?

My compulsive routine is as follows: Twitter, Times of Israel, Jpost, Facebook, Whattsapp, BBC News and then I repeat it all. I do this from the minute I open my eyes until I go to sleep, my eyes burning from electronic fatigue.

Invariably one of the above “apps” sets me off on a www.tangent.com and I am able to, and do read articles by just about everyone. And still there is very little that is new.

We continue to shout as loud as we can in order to demonstrate how Hamas uses civilians as shields and how their photos are phony or contrived and how we supply humanitarian aid and honour ceasefires despite the circumstances.

We remain shocked at the inefficacy and hypocrisy of the UN and the injustice of a world that turns a blind eye to grotesque evil, but berates our desperate attempts to protect our civilians and those of our aggressors.

And I wonder, as I look at my Facebook friends and Twitter feeds, who exactly is listening? Are we simply “preaching to the choir?” or is there something that we are gaining by circulating our reality to ourselves over and over and over?

In order to understand if anything is being achieved, we need to look back to a time when social media was in its infancy or even prenatal. Then our news was accessed via print media and presented to us via the major news networks.

The first Gulf War saw us glued to our TVs as CNN presented us with the world as they chose to. News from an Israel perspective was limited and we could do little but shake our heads in exasperation when a one-sided and often untrue perspective was given.

There was no one to “call foul” when photos of another war were used and labelled incorrectly, as it was the responsibility of those who erred to also report it. And why would they?

And then came the tsunami of social networking. News broadcasters can be scrutinised by anyone and any person with or without a following can make himself heard if he chooses to.

The result has been, what I believe is more balanced and fair reporting than we have ever seen before, and where even anti-Israel supporters need to be seen to honour unbiased reporting.

We like to slate the media, but I believe that what we have seen during this conflict does differ from prior ones, and that social networking, and not a new-found moral compass is to be thanked.

Social networking achieves something that we have never been particularly good at, namely presenting Israel’s perspective to the world. It keeps the news channels honest and it also gives comfort to those who already believe in its integrity and by doing so, gives us the voice to defend, to support and voice it.

Needless to say, should we continue to only circulate our new-found articles and insights among those within our social group, and those who agree largely with our standpoint, then we are failing to use a tool that already had and can continue to make a real difference to the behaviour and approach of the main stream media.

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