According to a report published by comScore, an American marketing research company, Israelis have spent an average of eleven hours daily on social networks, almost double the world average of six hours, and ahead of countries like England (seven hours) and America (seven hours). The comScore report has also found that these social networks are the most popular online activity globally, with users representing around eighty percent of the global online internet community – more than two billion people. While approximately ninety-four percent of Israeli internet users are on social media networks.
To obtain a better understanding of Israeli social media usage on a platform-by-platform basis Stat Counter’s social media statistics for the month of June 2018 can be used for further insight. According to their statistics, around eighty-five percent of Israeli internet users regularly use Facebook, seven percent regularly use YouTube, while just one percent use Instagram. However, other research performed by other institutions show similar results to Stat Counter’s findings. For example, according to a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, Israel is ranking seventh globally with around sixty-eight percent of all Israeli internet users active on social media, which is correlated to the fact that eighty-three percent of adult Israelis also owning a smartphone, second only to South Korea. These two statistics are certainly tied to one another because smartphone usage allows you to access social media networks much more easily and much more regularly.
Social media has made itself a part of the daily lives of the people in Israel and also in the surrounding region. For example, Israel is using social media to win over the Arab public, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in December 2017 at a Jerusalem conference on digital diplomacy. Netanyahu had also mentioned his personal use of social media, saying that he even writes his own posts and is personally satisfied the most by his viral videos which had addressed the people of Iran. While many countries in their surrounding region already cooperate closely with the Jewish state, Israel is increasingly using Facebook and Twitter in a bid to sway the ordinary citizens, he said.
In using social media, Israel’s goal is to break through “the crust of slander, the crust of deception, the crust of this false narrative that has been created in Israel. Their goal is to get the Arab men and women on the street, the merchant in the souk, the child in school, to understand that they too can benefit from Israel,” he said. He believes that this objective can only happen with social media because it is the most effective way to communicate with these people. Netanyahu also mentioned that he prefers using Facebook over Twitter while adding that one of the main primary challenges in using social media is in compressing a message into a small limited number of characters. He had also criticized the fact that social media users often depend on “instant referendums,” which causes politicians to chase “likes” or get online votes to influence social media contests, rather than focus on advancing the correct policies or the right message.
Despite social media being a relatively new technology and being in use for little over a decade, it has made a lasting impact on Israelis, and people all across the world, and its influence is showing no signs of slowing down.