The ubiquity of social media in the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict has in its immediacychanged how people understand war, given how it short circuits the traditional editorial process.
In the eight days leading up to “Operation Protective Edge”, the social media site Twitter hashtag #GazaUnderAttack was used over 375,000 times. Often the hashtag was used on tweets using photos that showed how people were suffering due to Israeli attacks.
The emergence of Twitter as a medium for distributing content gave people instantaneous access to information directly from witnesses of events, people on the ground, face to face with the horrors of a war. Especially Twitter among other social media was able to keep up with the pace and speed with which events were changing and happening, and how stories were delivered to keep the pace with the information emerging.
Able to get information in real time enabled us to access and experience changes in the world and their impact on people no matter where they are in the world, allowing us to follow events as they unfold. The 2014 Gaza massacre was not only reported through the international media outlets, but mostly by the Gazans, who shared feeling, thoughts, moments, what they were experiencing and what they saw many times thought pictures, connecting us directly to them.
Al Jazeera created in July 2014 a Time-lapse heat map tracking this social media conversation.
Watch how the 2014 Israeli-Palestinian conflict unfolded online: the interactive time-lapse heat map tracking the conversation online from June 17, 2014 to July 7, 2014 here.