Twits like Gal­loway are spot on

The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment - Tracy-ann Ober­man

ABOY band called One Di­rec­tion re­cently broke all records by be­com­ing the first Bri­tish group to have an al­bum go straight into the US charts at num­ber one. Never mind that this group of sweet young things were cob­bled to­gether out of the re­jects from the X Fac­tor by Si­mon Cow­ell. Never mind that their nick­name is “Five Guys Named Bieber”, that their out­put is an­o­dyne — these boys beat both the Bea­tles and the Stones to the hon­our hands down. How did they win this race? Through the power of so­cial me­dia.

Yes! So­cial me­dia. For any­one over the age of 14 the world of Twit­ter, Beebo, Youtube and Face­book sounds like a pass­ing fad. Well, think again

Two weeks be­fore grim Ge­orge Gal­loway got elected, he hired Naweed Hus­sain to head up his strat­egy cam­paign. Hus­sain im­me­di­ately har­nessed the power of Twit­ter and Face­book. Hus­sain said of Gal­loway’s jaw-drop­ping vic­tory: “We had two weeks to com­mu­ni­cate very fast and di­rectly to young peo­ple”. Within two weeks, he gal­vanised a huge group of young­sters who had prob­a­bly never seen them­selves as po­lit­i­cal with speedy, bite-sized timely mes­sages on the sites that in­ter­ested them. The shock­ing thing about GG’S vic­tory is just this. It was the youth that voted him in.

So­cial me­dia sites have im­me­di­acy. They have played a ma­jor part in all re­cent so­cial up­ris­ings. This is the fu­ture of ed­u­ca­tion and in­for­ma­tion. For­get TV news, for­get news­pa­pers. The tweet is where it’s at.

I was an early adopter of Twit­ter. I am very fond of it; it gives me news be­fore the TV sta­tions, gos­sip be­fore the pa­pers and is a good gauge as to the hearts and minds of oth­ers by show­ing what top­ics are “trend­ing” both world­wide and in this coun­try. Last week, one sub­ject dom­i­nated the trend­ing charts for a wor­ry­ing num­ber of hours — #Is­raelis­ter­ror­ist. The ter­ri­ble killings in Toulouse only trended for a few hours. This one trended for al­most an en­tire day. The prob­lem is, if you say a thing of­ten enough with­out chal­leng­ing it, then it be­comes a truth.

The coun­ter­bal­ance is con­spic­u­ously lack­ing. Yet if you can type, then you can use these sites. If the word­smith­ery is part of your job, then your com­mu­nity needs you. This is a call to arms. Be­cause there is a Twit­ter cam­paign at the mo­ment to ban the Habima Theatre from per­form­ing at the Globe’s up­com­ing in­ter­na­tional Shake­speare fes­ti­val.

So now is the mo­ment. We can no longer rely on the old stan­dards to try and fight back at dis­torted ideas and in­ter­pre­ta­tions. We need to take a leaf out of Gal­loway’s book. We need to har­ness the power of these sites with our own bril­liant strate­gists.

We don’t have to sup­port Is­rael whole­heart­edly but we do need to speak out against this new Mc­carthysm. Quickly, speed­ily and in num­bers. We need to get or­gan­ised. Where are the lead­ers for the next gen­er­a­tion? Some­one needs to pull a cam­paign to­gether, and fast. If you have the an­swer then tweet me at @Tra­cyanno.

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