Editor’s Note: The CompuSchmooze podcast supplements the monthly “CompuSchmooze” newspaper column on technology written by SNCR Senior Fellow Steve “PodcastSteve” Lubetkin in the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey.
On December 30, 2008, the Israeli Consulate General in New York hosted a “citizens’ press conference” and invited interested parties to send the Consulate questions about the recent Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip, using the social media website Twitter.com. This is probably the first time a country’s diplomats have embraced the use of Twitter for outreach to audiences for their messaging.
For those not familiar with it, Twitter is a microblogging website where users communicate with their friends or “followers” in terse, 140-character messages designed to fit the text messaging function of cell phones in a way that makes the communications tool highly portable.
Social media initiatives embraced by the Israeli Consulate also include a Facebook page, a MySpace presence, a blog about Israeli life and culture, a blog about Israeli politics, and a YouTube channel. The transcript of the Twitter press conference is hosted on the political blog.
In this podcast, we talk with David Saranga, Consul for Media and Public Affairs at the Israeli Consulate General.
Before joining the consulate, David served as Deputy Spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Israel, and was responsible for contact with the foreign media. He previously served in Israel’s embassies in Romania and Spain.
As Consul for Media and Public Affairs, David Saranga is responsible for having direct contact with America’s New York-based national media, and for public relations. One of his job’s main goals is to show the real face of Israel, that which lies beyond the news headlines. One of the innovative tools he uses to do this is the isRealli Blog.
Consul Saranga has both extensive academic and private sector experience.
He was a Manager of the Direct Marketing Department, Visa-Israel Credit Cards and worked as National Sales Executive at Kidum Ltd.
Consul Saranga has been engaged as an academic since 1989, when he worked as a Teaching Assistant at the Hebrew University. Subsequent work has included one year as Director of Studies and Lecturer in Marketing Management at the Open University in Israel.