Twits like Galloway are spot on
A boy band called One Direction recently broke all records by becoming the first British group to have an album go straight into the US charts at number one. Never mind that this group of sweet young things were cobbled together out of the rejects from the X Factor by Simon Cowell. Never mind that their nickname is "Five Guys Named Bieber", that their output is anodyne - these boys beat both the Beatles and the Stones to the honour hands down. How did they win this race? Through the power of social media.
Yes! Social media. For anyone over the age of 14 the world of Twitter, Beebo, YouTube and Facebook sounds like a passing fad. Well, think again
Two weeks before grim George Galloway got elected, he hired Naweed Hussain to head up his strategy campaign. Hussain immediately harnessed the power of Twitter and Facebook. Hussain said of Galloway's jaw-dropping victory: "We had two weeks to communicate very fast and directly to young people". Within two weeks, he galvanised a huge group of youngsters who had probably never seen themselves as political with speedy, bite-sized timely messages on the sites that interested them. The shocking thing about GG's victory is just this. It was the youth that voted him in.
Social media sites have immediacy. They have played a major part in all recent social uprisings. This is the future of education and information. Forget TV news, forget newspapers. The tweet is where it's at.
I was an early adopter of Twitter. I am very fond of it; it gives me news before the TV stations, gossip before the papers and is a good gauge as to the hearts and minds of others by showing what topics are "trending" both worldwide and in this country. Last week, one subject dominated the trending charts for a worrying number of hours - #IsraelIsTerrorist. The terrible killings in Toulouse only trended for a few hours. This one trended for almost an entire day. The problem is, if you say a thing often enough without challenging it, then it becomes a truth.
If you can type, then you can use these sites
The counterbalance is conspicuously lacking. Yet if you can type, then you can use these sites. If the wordsmithery is part of your job, then your community needs you. This is a call to arms. Because there is a Twitter campaign at the moment to ban the Habima Theatre from performing at the Globe's upcoming international Shakespeare festival.
So now is the moment. We can no longer rely on the old standards to try and fight back at distorted ideas and interpretations. We need to take a leaf out of Galloway's book. We need to harness the power of these sites with our own brilliant strategists.
We don't have to support Israel wholeheartedly but we do need to speak out against this new McCarthysm. Quickly, speedily and in numbers. We need to get organised. Where are the leaders for the next generation? Someone needs to pull a campaign together, and fast. If you have the answer then tweet me at @TracyAnnO.