The Power of Social Media: #WestBankLive

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As we witness this generation’s rapid adoption of technology, we see the exciting ways we can use to share information with friends/family and with the rest of the world. Many of us use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in our everyday communication. But what a lot of people have been talking about recently is how Snapchat influenced public opinion and redefined idea sharing.

Snapchat is a cool app that allows people to share ten second clips as well as photos of things they’re doing in their daily lives. The app makes clip sharing simpler than other apps that require manual editing prior to posting. Recently Snapchat decided to showcase live coverage of different cities around the world through stories posted by the people that live in them. No one thought that this simple idea from Snapchat would make a political and a social statement until people started sharing under the hashtag #WestBankLive.

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It began when Snapchat decided to feature Israel as #TelAvivLive. The following day, people all over the world expressed their anger and disapproval of the story through Facebook and Twitter. This was because Snapchat appeared to be normalizing the apartheid state’s genocide and occupation of Palestine. The backlash was so strong that Snapchat announced to Palestinians residing in the West Bank that they would be featured live the following day. This was completely unexpected and the result was remarkable!

Snapchat for the first time gave Palestinians the opportunity to tell their own story, as opposed to having media outlets present their voice politically and culturally. It also provided Palestinians living in exile an opportunity to see their homeland!

Humour played a main factor in a lot of these snaps too, from one man dancing out of love for his city, to a person sharing the world’s only ‘Krusty Krab’. Above all, the sharing humanized the struggle and beauty of Palestinian culture and history, and many learned about their struggle from a personal perspective.

This shows that a media company such as Snapchat has the power to make a huge difference. The company was lauded for its responsiveness and willingness to listen to its audience. And of course it showed the incredible power of social media!

Snapchat is a leading example of how voices can be heard regardless how ‘controversial’ a specific situation may be to the mainstream media. Perhaps other companies can follow this example and empower people who are disenfranchised and underrepresented to make their voice heard.

By Mirriam Akbar | @InMirzWords

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1 Comment

  1. Kevin Johnson
    August 17, 2015 - 1:16 pm

    I love this story- shows how social media and technology can be beneficial, highlight the beauties of life, and enlarge people’s perspective of the world. While it may cause controversy, it also gives people the opportunity to tell their own story and share it with others who can relate.

    Reply

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