The IDF “Live-Tweeted” Operation Protection Edge
September 14, 2014
Times of Israel — The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit used slick infographics and nearly real-time battlefield images to promote its version of the events of the war, said Tomer Simon, a doctoral student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Compared to the previous conflict in Gaza, Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, the IDF tweeted information much more quickly this time.
However, it seldom interacted with other users. According to Simon’s analysis, the IDF’s English account never used a hashtag.
Sacha Drawta, head of the IDF’s New Media Desk, says that the IDF made a conscious choice to be less interactive than it was during Operation Pillar of Defense.
Given the 140-character limit of a tweet, he decided hashtags were not best use of valuable space. The strategy was to monitor the conversation and to put out in-demand information quickly and accurately, trusting journalists and Israel advocates would make effective use of it.
“Every journalist around the world was watching our Twitter feed, our Facebook feed, our blog,” Drawta said. “We didn’t need to be interactive. I believe in this kind of conflict, the content is the king. So I wanted to keep our content clean. The more you’re clean, the more you’re strong.”