The Israeli consulate in New York has set up a public, government-backed "citizens' conference" on Twitter, replying to comments from all over the globe. It has been very popular, this morning the consulate's Twitter site has 4152 followers, and at one point was posting a
new comment, or answer to a comment, nearly every second.
The answers on the site come from the PR department, which aims to justify the strikes and make sure that there is detailed official information available on the web. Twitter allows notes of up to 140 characters so many of the notes on the site are quick links to
other sites: videos from the BBC, pieces in the Wall Street Journal,
clips on YouTube. But a
lot of it is also direct answers to direct questions, in
text-speak to fit the character limit.
It seems a radical step for the Israeli consulate to use social media to interact with the general public at a time of crisis, but is Twitter an appropriate tool for communication of this kind? On one hand the capacity for two way conversation allows people immediate access to ask questions but does the 140 character limit impose too many restrictions on the response? It seems strange to see matters of such gravity discussed in text speak.