The Iranian nuclear threat has often taken the spotlight in this column (along with many others). This week is no exception, but with a slightly different flavor. The second most-viewed video on YouTube in Israel this week was by an Israeli activist looking to spread a “No War” message to Iranians. In the video, 41-year-old graphic designer Ronny Edry tells the story of how he posted a photo on Facebook which began an online poster campaign. The posters bear the slogan “Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We love you,” and aim to personalize tensions between Jerusalem and Tehran. The video garnered over 150,000 views in less than a week.
On the heels of the online campaign, hundreds are expected to gather in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, to voice their opposition to a military strike on Iran. Jerusalem Post reporter Ben Hartman will be tweeting live from the rally.
Elsewhere in the social media sphere, the Pew Research Center released its annual State of the News Media report this week, crunching the numbers on news media in the US from television to radio, print to digital as well as new media. The report’s release coincides with a push at The Jerusalem Post to develop our growing social media policy. Among a broad array of findings, the PRC discovered that social media provides users with additional paths to updates rather than replacing traditional or mainstream means.
Interestingly, the PRC study found that the two leading social media sites - Facebook and Twitter - function quite differently as news sources. On Facebook, users said that most of the links they follow for news come from friends and family, whereas on Twitter the mix is broader. On Facebook the breakdown was 70 percent friends and family, 13% news outlets or individual journalists and 10% from non-news organizations. On Twitter the numbers were far more even: 36% of links came from family and friends, 27% from news outlets and 18% from non-news organizations.
Another interesting find from the report related to how people perceive the news they get from social media. News found on Facebook was seen to be more “replaceable,” according to the study. Over half of respondents (56%) think they could have found news recommendations from Facebook elsewhere, whereas Twitter users were nearly split. Some 43% believe news from the micro-blogging site was replaceable, while 39% saw it as more unique.
While the findings of the report didn’t directly line up with JPost new media stats, the numbers reveal definite variations in reading patterns across the different media. In a week where four French Jews were killed in a shooting outside a Toulouse school, smoke was still clearing over Gaza and the South after renewed violence the previous week and rhetoric over the Iranian nuclear threat continued, it’s no surprise that JPost readers focused on hard news stories.
JPost Top Five most-read stories:
1. Sarkozy: Racism behind French shootings
2. Iranian lawmaker: West must accept our nuclear program’s success
3. 4 dead in shooting at Jewish school in France
4. US intel officials: 'US, Israel agree Iran abandoned nuclear bomb'
5. Israel: Fire UN official over false Gaza photo
On social media though, a different picture was painted. Facebook users appeared to be more interested in hard news content, whereas Twitter users were drawn to softer stories on topics such as travel, gossip and celebrity news, and analysis pieces. The exception to the rule, however, was a feature piece by the Post’s video reporter Hadas Parush, which topped the list of JPost Facebook content this past week.
Top 5 JPost posts on Facebook:
1. Running in darkness video
2. Mashaal meets Erdogan, decries Gaza operations
3. Livni: Israel must sharpen condemnation of Syria
4. IDF says Gaza’s Islamic Jihad severely damaged
5. Fatah says Iran trying to block Palestinian unity
Top 5 JPost Tweets:
1. A year after the Arab Spring, it’s spinning out of control
2. Off the Beaten Track: Golan in all its glory
3. Actor Omar Sharif's grandson: Gay and Jewish
4. Israel: Fire UN official over false Gaza photo
5. French minister: 'Jewish school shooter filmed the killings'
Number six on the Twitter list, to further prove the point, was this fantastic story.
Staying on the topic of JPost on social media, the hashtag #jpost was one of the top three tweets in the Tel Aviv area this week, according to real-time mapping site Trendsmap. Posts sporting the tag were tweeted and shared by the general public and by Jerusalem Post reporters and editors alike.
Moving over to traditional news media online, violence in Syria, which has figured highly in US news coverage over the past year, dropped to 2% of coverage, according to the PRC. Some 16% of respondents to a PRC poll said they followed the ongoing situation very closely, and for 4% it was the story of the week. By way of comparison, rising gas and oil prices was the story which garnered the most interest over the past week, with 26% of respondents following the issue most closely. In second place was the US presidential elections.
Responding to the major news story covered by Israeli media in this past week, the tragic shooting in Toulouse, over 1,000 JPost readers answered a quick poll. Almost 50% indicated that they believe Jews are facing growing threats worldwide, while a further 32% called for more efforts to stop Islamic extremists.
And for this week’s random facts, back to the PRC’s State of the News Media report. Analysing changes in the past year, the study found online news to be the premier medium in terms of both growth and revenue.
17.2% - online
4.5% - network television
1% - local television
-0.05% - magazines
-4% - newspapers
23% - online
9% - cable television
1% - audio
-3.7% - network television
-5.6% - magazines
-6.7% - local television
-7.3% - newspapers
From news sites to blogs, tweets to videos, The Numbers Crunch is a weekly column which zooms out and brings you the big picture online, from Israel, the Middle East and around the world, and poll results from JPost.com.
The writer is the Internet desk manager at The Jerusalem Post