PMO's Facebook, Twitter, Youtube

PMO launches YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr pages, to connect to a tech-savvy public, especially during crisis times.

Eli Stutz, | updated: 15:35

Twitter PMO
Twitter PMO
Twitter

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Office (PMO) has joined the modern world of social media. Monday night, the PMO launched four pages on the popular Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr sites, in order to stay in touch with a public that has grown increasingly attached to online communication and sharing.

The YouTube channel features videos in English and Hebrew, including Netanyahu's recent speeches and trips. The Facebook fan page and Twitter account include posts and tweets on the Prime Minister's activities, as well as highlights of other members of his office and advisors. The posts are variously in Hebrew, English, and Arabic. The new accounts are integrated into the PMO website.

The first Twitter 'tweet' reads, "The Prime Minister's Office has begun to tweet on Twitter."

Regarding the jump into social media, Prime Minister Netanyahu says, "Today, social media channels are more vital than ever for Israel's public diplomacy efforts, for administrative transparency and for providing citizens with updated information." He has directed that these media be used during his upcoming trip to Washington in order to pass along updates and current information.

Israel National News
spoke with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) about the launch. 

The project is headed by Eitan Eliram, who holds a PhD. in New Media and heads the Internet and New Media department at the PMO's National Information Directorate. He began working on the project eighth months ago. The preparation included assembling a team of seven staff members to manage and post to the new pages. Eliram also journeyed to Washington to meet and get tips from the White House and U.S. State Department social media teams, who have been running Facebook and Twitter accounts for over two years.

The YouTube videos went up first, on a different channel Tuesday's official channel, with 19 video clips. Flickr was next, with the team uploading 150 pictures of the Prime Minister and his office activities. The Facebook and Twitter accounts were last, posing the greatest challenge, "because they require interactivity with users and fans," said the PMO. "You need to generate a conversation."

The PMO said the goal of the initiative is to enhance the usage of social media in PR advocacy. "We know that visual messages are important; it's not just about text. It's about harnessing the open conversation of surfers and Facebookers in order to create transparency about some of the moves the office is involved with. It's about adding a new aspect of communication to the traditional media. The younger generation is often disconnected with old forms of media and we wanted to harness this as well."

Will the Prime Minister himself post and tweet? The PMO answers that 99 percent of the posts will be from team members, instructed directly from the Prime Minister, and that hopefully, he too will take part in directly posting in the future.

What are the statistics like so far, half a day after the launch? The Twitter account has over 200 followers. The Facebook fan page is doing somewhat better with about 350 'likers'. And the feedback and comments, so far, have been mostly positive. The PMO says it has already gotten a lot of positive feedback from journalists who are happy to have quicker access to information, especially Flickr photos.

Will Facebook and Twitter change the PR game in Israel's favor? The PMO says that, "It's not a game changer. But it will definitely help. It will help reach multicultural audiences online. It will show the world that we're not committed just to the Israeli-Arab conflict. There are a lot of good things going on in the office, such as the Prime Minister's giving prizes to local entrepreneurs. It shows that Israel is a civil society, and that will improve our image."

The PMO is especially optimistic that the new modes of communication will come in handy in times of crisis, when it says that social media is essential to how people view what is happening. "We saw that during the flotilla incident, it was very helpful to show the Prime Minister's reaction from Canada on YouTube. We hope that in future crises, these new sites will help discuss the issue with the public online, in real time."

The new PMO pages are online at:

<http://www.youtube.com/user/IsraeliPM>

<http://twitter.com/IsraeliPM<

<http://www.flickr.com/israelipm>

<http://www.facebook.com/eeliram#!/pages/Jerusalem-Israel/The-Prime-Minister-of-Israel/124149704266450?ref=sgm>






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