New Article: Malka et al, ‘Protective Edge’ as the First WhatsApp War

Malka, Vered, Yaron Ariel, and Ruth Avidar. “Fighting, Worrying and Sharing: Operation ‘Protective Edge’ as the First WhatsApp War.” Media, War & Conflict (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1750635215611610

 

Abstract

This study looks at the roles that WhatsApp, the popular smartphone application, played in the lives of Israeli citizens, who were exposed to war menaces during July 2014. During the war, WhatsApp became the subject of public, media, and political discourse, especially within the context of disseminating information related to combat – ‘authentic’ news items (before they were published in the media) alongside rumors that were devoid of factual basis. Research questions focused on the ways in which citizens used the application, the attributed effects of that usage on their lives, and the possible connections between proximity of residence to combat areas, patterns of usage, and perceived implications. Data are based on a representative survey of 500 Israeli citizens aged 16–75, all of whom are smartphone users (maximum sample error 4.5%). The survey was conducted during the third week of the military operation ‘Protective Edge’, which took place between Israel and Hamas in the summer of 2014.

The authors’ findings suggest that WhatsApp played a central multi-functional role in the lives of its users during the wartime, functioning as a mass as well as interpersonal communication channel. Participants used the application on a daily basis for various purposes: getting news and updates regarding the war; checking on their loved ones; delivering humorous satirical messages; spreading war-related rumors; and helping to promote voluntary aid initiations. Users expressed their beliefs that the application enabled them to stay updated and ‘in the know’, helped them calm down, and deepened their communal and national sentiments. While findings regarding WhatsApp and similar applications usages have been collected for the last few years, this research exposes its centrality under extreme circumstances. Further on, this work suggests that WhatsApp may be thought of as a unique combination of mass and interpersonal communication channels.

 

 

New Book: Kuntsman and Stein, Digital Militarism

Kuntsman, Adi, and Rebecca L. Stein. Digital Militarism. Israel’s Occupation in the Social Media Age, Stanford Studies in Middle Eastern and Islamic Societies and Cultures. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015.

 

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Israel’s occupation has been transformed in the social media age. Over the last decade, military rule in the Palestinian territories grew more bloody and entrenched. In the same period, Israelis became some of the world’s most active social media users. In Israel today, violent politics are interwoven with global networking practices, protocols, and aesthetics. Israeli soldiers carry smartphones into the field of military operations, sharing mobile uploads in real-time. Official Israeli military spokesmen announce wars on Twitter. And civilians encounter state violence first on their newsfeeds and mobile screens.

Across the globe, the ordinary tools of social networking have become indispensable instruments of warfare and violent conflict. This book traces the rise of Israeli digital militarism in this global context—both the reach of social media into Israeli military theaters and the occupation’s impact on everyday Israeli social media culture. Today, social media functions as a crucial theater in which the Israeli military occupation is supported and sustained.

 

Table of Contents

Preface

1 When Instagram Went to War: Israel’s Occupation in the Social Media Age
2 “Another War Zone”: The Development of Digital Militarism
3 Anatomy of a Facebook Scandal: Social Media as Alibi
4 Palestinians Who Never Die: The Politics of Digital Suspicion
5 Selfie Militarism: The Normalization of Digital Militarism

Afterword: #Revenge

Acknowledgements
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Adi Kuntsman is Lecturer in Information and Communications at Manchester Metropolitan University, and author of Figurations of Violence and Belonging: Queerness, Migranthood and Nationalism in Cyberspace and Beyond (2009).

Rebecca L. Stein is the Nicholas J. & Theresa M. Leonardy Associate Professor of Anthropology at Duke University, and author of Itineraries in Conflict: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Political Lives of Tourism (2008).

 

 

Report: Ram et al, Forecasting the Israeli 2015 Elections Using a Smartphone Application

Ram, Yoav, Ofer Moshaioff, Idan Cohen, and Omri Dor. “Forecasting the Israeli 2015 Elections Using a Smartphone Application.” arXiv:1503.04784

 

URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1503.04784 [PDF]

 

Abstract
We developed a smartphone application, Ha’Midgam, to poll and forecast the results of the 2015 Israeli elections. The application was downloaded by over 7,500 people. We present the method used to control bias in our sample and our forecasts. We discuss limitations of our approach and suggest possible solutions to control bias in similar applications.

 
 
 
 

New Article: Hino, Lessons from Israeli Consumers’ Adoption of Innovative TV Viewing

Hino, Hayiel. “TV Today, Mobile TV Tomorrow? Extrapolating Lessons from Israeli Consumers’ Adoption of Innovative TV Viewing Technology.” International Journal on Media Management (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14241277.2015.1030748

 

Abstract

The present study aims to analyze consumers’ adoption and use of mobile devices as a mobile TV platform that is replacing the traditional TV. Moreover, the study attempts to promote understanding of users’ behavior by employing a new research approach dealing with the acceptance of innovative technology. For this purpose, the study applies a Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology to assess users’ motivation to view TV content through mobile devices. A sample consists of 280 respondents was obtained from across the Israeli mobile devices user groups. The findings of the study suggest that individual’s intention to use mobile devices to view TV content is significantly influenced by perceived enjoyment, social factors, perceived convenience and viewing quality, viewing cost, and content variety. Implications for TV providers are identified together with consideration of the limitations of the study and avenues for further research.