Which are the best words to describe the debate about the latest Israeli-Palestinian war on Twitter in only 140 characters? And who decided to use #gaza?
Twitter seems to have become a new virtual front in the latest conflict between Palestinians and Israelis and is alight with 140 character tweets in several languages about the latest conflict on the Gaza Strip.
Israel has opened its first official Israeli government Twitter account via the Israeli Consulate in New York and is holding an innovative Twitter press conference as I write, allowing people to tweet their questions to an Israeli Consulate representative.
But back to our point: people on Twitter sometimes use hash tags (a hash # symbol followed by a keyword) to identify a particular topic, like #gaza or #israel.
I’ve never seen the point of hash tags – searching for the word without the # symbol works much better – but some people are worried that the choice of certain hash tags might be framing the debate in the wrong way (my emphasis):
The problem with tags are that they’re framing the events. #gaza ignores the other aspects of the story, Now, I’m not saying that Gaza isn’t a major part, but what about last 8 years bombing of Israeli towns by rockets?
What about the city of Sderot where kids can’t be safe not only during military operations, but NEVER?
And the kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit? Where are #sderot or #giladshalit?
Framing a debate is when you choose certain words to talk about the topic instead of certain other words, making your listeners or opponents think of or approach the subject from an angle they perhaps don’t want to.
This works in a similar same way as when someone tells you: “Don’t imagine an elephant.” It’s then impossible not to think about an elephant.
Framing, a term used in media studies, sociology and psychology, refers to the social construction of a social phenomenon by mass media sources or specific political or social movements or organizations.
It is an inevitable process of selective influence over the individual’s perception of the meanings attributed to words or phrases.
A frame defines the packaging of an element of rhetoric in such a way as to encourage certain interpretations and to discourage others.
People on Twitter seem to be using the following hash tags:
And having a quick think, what about:
Would you choose a different one? And how do you think choosing #gaza instead of #israel might affect your perception of what’s going on?