#peace – why eye level and communities are still chances: Social Media driven diplomacy

peace 2 boys israel palestine

What #twiplomacy has to to with the #SderotCinema and why we all should combine forces to stop cruelty against human beings.

peace 2 boys israel palestine

Social Media = Eye Level Communication = Community

What some of us had to learn very quickly, many others are still trying to learn and maybe some others will never learn are these crazy little things caused by the fact of being at an“eye level” with our target group. Let’s put it in one word: community!

Something very small has changed but this is the reason for a paradigm shift in attitudes related to those forms of communication many of us are (still) used to, especially when it comes to companies and their management: Social Media is transparent, honest and sustainable communication at an eye level with your own target groups and beyond.

In a nutshall we find ourselves in a (communicative) world where everyone has the chance to use his and her voice raising attention for any topics. Every item of publication has the chance to go viral.

Twiplomacy: Twitter Diplomacy

At the World Blogging Forum back in 2010, Matthias Luefkens, former Head and Brain of Digital Stuff & Social Media at the WEF Davos, pushed for the first times his project Twiplomacy.

Twiplomacy, now an international known large platform related to his company Burson Marsteller, is Twitter Diplomacy, diplomatic relations between single persons of interest, decision makers and large international organizations. Find his talk on vimeo. It’s worth to stay for +10 minutes with Matthias:

Matthias Lüfkens – Twitter Diplomacy from World Blogging Forum Vienna 2010 on Vimeo.

2014: Israel & Palestine going on war, using mechanics of social media

Today we are still having several international conflicts: right now within Israel and Palestine a third intifada seems to break out. Large bombings and ground attacks on both sides put Israelis and Palestineans to fear. This is what “terror” meas: latin for “great fear”, a noun derived from the Latin verb “terrere” meaning “to frighten”.

Things are still going wrong. There is not just the eye level of single human beings fighting against each other, we also have a war in social media. We are recognizing that young people are digital natives and when they are called to war they use their networks and platforms to communicate. That’s why e.g. the IDF has an state-of-the-art blog and a social newsroom, and publishes articles like “A Soldier’s Life – Through the Eyes of Instagram”. On the other side, we can watch something called the “Sderot Cinema”: Here are people watching missles and bombs cracking up the Gaza strip – and posting it on Social Media. Thomas Wiegold and Sascha Stoltenow discussed these issues at the re:publica 2013:

And us? Community-based diplomatic efforts – hashtag #peace

But what can we do to support a solution for this conflict? We, the community? We, the network? We as some of us are hubs and nodal points withing several subcommunities? We, on an eye level with the decision makers? E.g., we can start our own diplomatic twitter campaigns, our own #twiplomacy. Today, Daniel Landau, a teacher and highly engagend within Austrian education politics and owner of Cafe Tachles, promoting cultural topics, started a very simple but mighty campaign on Twitter.

Simple twitter campaigns

He took a picture symbolizing peace, originally taken by Ricki Rosen, a New York/Jerusalem photographer. I tried to find out something about the sources of this picture: Google reverse image search didn’t give my any hints. The only thing I found is a book title and an imprint from 2006, saying it is from Ricki Rosen. After that, heavy searching on corbisimages.com, I finally found 2 pics):

Israel and Palestine peace talks

Israel and Palestine peace talks

Two boys, one wearing a jewish kippah, one wearing an arabic keffiyeh, holding each other arm in arm on their shoulders, both showing us their back, probably watching above Jerusalem as a divided city. Their main gesture is: We are holding each other, we stick together, we’d like to have peace.

Find both pictures on Corbis (and buy them, very expensive…):

Then, he chose several international top decision-maker accounts on twitter and tweeted to them his one and only wish: “Pls RT my wish (if I had one free): PEACE!”

socialmention landaudaniel peaceBy retweeting, his message and chosen picture both went viral. After only six hours his account @LandauDaniel and all tweets related show impressive numbers in terms of reach, strength and sentiment: Many retweets (+50, after 6 hours) and mentions (+50) give evidence to the fact that not just this own but many others of the community interested in “peace for Israel and Palestine” decided to share and promote Daniel’s message.

Breaking the filters and bubbles

Of course, we know that not many world leaders take the smartphone in their own hands. It’s common sense that it’s necessary to engage a communications departement and a social media team, which filters, reacts and replys to messages. But sometimes – and that is what Twiplomacy has shown in the past – some world leaders reply on behalf of their own.

By now, neither the Pope nor Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Downing Street 10, nor the Russian or Israeli prime ministers retweetet or responded to the campaign. And maybe we should not expect this. But at least their social media managers and communications teams will report to them that there are several people, not just in Austria, who do care, who do use their chances of making another step forward in international diplomacy on twitter to make peace. And

Let’s break those filters around the decision-makers, let’s support today Daniel’s and tomorrow any other attempt to calm down. There are too many firestarters. We have to use our chances of eye level. Let’s have another trial on peace!

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