Live Tweeting Conflict
A war of words, in 140 characters or less.
A sad trivialization of the brutal reality that is war? A useful tool for people trapped on the ground? Something more complicated? Whatever your gut reaction, it’s happening now, as Israeli air strikes and Hamas rocket attacks make Gaza a battle zone once again, and threaten to destabilize Egyptian-Israeli relations.
Twitter is being used by the warring parties to send messages to their supporters and opponents, and those groups are responding and using those messages to fight their own battles. Individual attacks and counterattacks in turn are influencing state-run feeds.
Storyfied versions of the IDF’s social media offensive and responses from Hamas have already appeared, and Al Jazeera is hosting a live discussion on Battleground Twitter 19:30 GMT.
Even a quick scan of what’s trending is revealing of a couple of things:
1) The extremists are out in full force on both sides.
Terrorist groups in Gaza fire rockets from residential areas. Would you raise your child in such a neighborhood? ow.ly/fk8cE #Hamas
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) November 15, 2012
2) The polarizing aspects of Twitter are working against live-tweeting conflict as a medium for facilitating dialogue
3) There are a lot of people out there taking this opportunity to tweet a dangerously fine line between clever and insensitive.
I predict a steep learning curve for all those live-tweeting as the bombs fall and rockets fly.