Israel Shakes Up the Information War

December 29, 2008, might go down in history as one of the days the mainstream media truly started to lose their grip. It was an historic day online for both social media and citizen journalists. You won't hear about it from the mainstream media, of course, because they are probably rather peeved at the run around them directly to bloggers and social media commentators.

What was this earth-shattering occurrence you probably didn't hear of, unless you are interested in the subject involved? Well, in fact it was two events that were part of a campaign to sidestep the mainstream media. The Israeli government and military, mindful that they are not getting a fair shake in the press virtually anywhere in the world, set up a couple of things to get to the bloggers and other online types.

First of all, Monday afternoon saw the Israeli consulate in New York hold a press conference on Twitter on their own "hashtag" stream for anyone to read and listen to. It's called simply AskIsrael. What was more impressive is that they were taking questions for those "listening in." In fact, your author managed to get a question answered on the subject of the current situation in Gaza. Alas, they didn't get my name right in response, but it's early days of the technology for all.

To their credit they took all comers, no matter how irate and obviously viscerally biased against them. The discussion, as you might imagine, was heated.

It was a fascinating piece of online news gathering for me and the thousands of others who followed its process. The unfiltered nature of the event might have changed a few minds or caused a few people to consider their positions and consider how those positions were arrived at.