As the south of Israel comes under heavy rocket attack, Twitter users rally support.
As rockets continued to hit communities in southern Israel on Sunday, the battle for promoting information in real time about what was unfolding on the ground in Gaza and in the Israeli communities nearby was heating up online too.
Almost as the first barrage of rockets fired into Israel were reported Friday night, a new stream, #Israelunderfire, opened up on the social media networking site Twitter, with local residents and Israeli government officials using the hashtag to tell their version of the events. Tweeps (users posting on Twitter) in Gaza and pro-Palestinian bloggers worldwide used different hashtags to tell their version of events too.
On the Israeli side, a curious mix of citizens journalism, with eyewitnesses in Beersheva, Ashkelon and elsewhere, reported on rockets as they fell, life in a shelter and pinpointed unfair media coverage of the escalation in violence.
Meanwhile, IDF and government spokespeople also tried to provide clearer information on the injured and play down some of the harsher accusations lauded by pro-Palestinian groups online.
On Friday, as the news broke of increased rocket fire, the official @IDFSpokesperson twitter account announced: “1 million Israelis live every day with 15 seconds to run for their life in case of a rocket attack.”
That comment was retweeted around the world and translated into many different languages as supporters of Israel woke up to the news of the escalation in attacks on Saturday morning.
Pro-Israel supporters promoted the #Israelunderfire stream and worked on other platforms around the web to make sure that Israel’s side of the story was also being told.
IDF Spokesperson to the international press Avital Leibovich continued tweeting on through Sunday, updating her account after each incident.