The digitized world of today has made it possible for news to be circulated across oceans instantaneously, with social media platforms acting as the powerful intermediaries. An emerging trend in this global virtual landscape is how social media users have become witnesses to crises happening miles away from their place of dwelling. Such is the case with the Palestinians who have been documenting their war experiences for millions of followers on myriad social media outlets. They ingeniously transform the sphere of these platforms by providing first-hand accounts of escalating violence, their daily life struggles, and their unapologetic resilience. Their followers, coming from different backgrounds all around the globe, don’t merely perceive these Palestinians as ordinary social-media users, but consider them as an extended part of their family.
The emergence of Citizen Journalism
Mass communication experts opine that, counter to traditional journalism, citizen journalism is seemingly taking over news narration in the digitized age. Palestinians involved in such practice utilize their handheld devices to capture their real-world experiences and disseminate it globally through expansive networks of social media. The raw, unedited and sincere documentation provides a perspective conventionally swept under the rug by mainstream media outlets. The firsthand accounts magnify their plight, amplifying the echo of their struggle in the international sphere, compelling the distant audience to empathize and reflect.
The role of popular social media platforms
Popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more recently, TikTok, provide the stage for Palestinians to enact their digital storytelling. Being high interactivity digital spaces, these platforms aid the Palestinians in engaging with the global community in real time. Through comments, shares, likes, retweets, followers can engage with Palestinians, empathize with them or even participate in spreading awareness.
Feeling Empathy: Followers as Family
These shared authentic experiences often evoke powerful emotions among their followers, bringing them close to the harsh reality of the conflict. The unfettered stream of posts on social media offers an intimate look into the daily lives of Palestinians overshadowed by the conflict, thus making the followers feel like part of their families. Followers often resonate with the joys, sorrows, hopes, and fears of Palestinians, thereby building an emotional connection and providing unwavering support.
The power of hashtags
The Palestinians have harnished the power of hashtags to unify their voices, drawing the attention of millions across the globe. Hashtags such as #FreePalestine and #SaveGaza have trended worldwide, pushing global powers and the mainstream media to take better notice and report more objectively on the Palestinian-Israeli confict.
Benefits and threats
While documenting their experiences online offers Palestinians the prospect of visibility and solidarity, it also comes with bizarre threats like social media censorship, cyberbullying, and even real-world backlash. However, the Palestinians seem undeterred by these potential threats, as their urge to share their narratives seemingly outweighs the risks involved.
In conclusion, the Palestinians documenting their war experiences on various social portals is a testament to the power of citizen journalism in our modern society. Their urgency, determination, and bravery, threaded with the poignant reality of war, have worked to bring their followers closer to them emotionally, like a family. Not only does this phenomenon amplify their voice on the global stage, but it also leads to an intimate, empathetic relationship between the documenters and their followers.