Monday, September 20, 2010

New to Twitter: Israel

This week, the country Israel acquired the user name @israel on Twitter.

This speaks volumes for the growth of social media in general--and especially for Twitter. According to an article by Raphael Minder and Ethan Bronner in the New York Times, this move was "intended to help Israel exercise more influence over its image."

The user name was originally held by a Spanish pornographic company, but it went largely unused; "'I was getting dozens of replies every day from people who thought the account belonged to the state of Israel,'" the owner of the Spanish company said.

But now, people who follow the account are in fact following Israel the nation. "'We thought we could put it to better use,'" a spokesperson for the Israel Foreign Ministry said in the article. The sale price for the account has not been made public, but the spokesperson said that "'it was not pro bono.'"

Israel has expressed interest in using social media, and has also launched a YouTube channel.

I look forward to following Israel's tweets. Do you think Twitter is an effective tool for countries looking to improve their image?

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