According to a Nielsen study, social media is no longer in its infancy. No kidding.
During the November military confrontation between Israel and Hamas, social media played a very grown-up role. What distinguished it from past politically-charged social media exchanges was the participation of state and pseudo-state spokespersons. Official announcements were issued by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigade via Twitter and Facebook in near real-time.
- The IDF announced the initiation of the military campaign via Twitter, and tweeted in caps that it had “ELIMINATED” Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari in an airstrike.
- The Brigade responded with threats of retaliation; both sides posted minute-by-minute updates as the fighting unfolded.
The evolution of social media into an official communications venue should come as no surprise. It follows a time-honored pattern of disruptive ideas and technologies gaining acceptability as they move into the mainstream. The Nielsen Social Media 2012 study tells us that 30 percent of individuals’ mobile device time is spent accessing social media. That qualifies as mainstream.