Social media is the new currency of political activism. And which Jewish group has the most in the bank?
No, it’s not the AJC or the ADL. Take a look at Facebook for the answer: it’s Americans for Peace Now (APN), which currently has 17,039 Facebook users who “like” the pro-peace process organization.
AIPAC, the big pro-Israel lobby, isn’t far behind with 16,229 fans, but let’s face it: AIPAC has a lot more resources to work with than little APN. An informal survey puts J Street in third place with 10,210 fans; most of the other Jewish groups active on Facebook are way down in the triple digits, if that.
Noam Shelef is APN’s media guru; he said the goal of the big social media effort is to make the group “reachable and approachable to a very big audience.”
In the old days, a small group like APN had a hard problem affording serious outreach – which involve printing and mailing costs, sending speakers out on tour, maybe some radio and television advertising.
Today’s social media gives such groups a way to present themselves to vast, globe-spanning audiences of activists – and potential donors.
And like most groups that are using social media effectively, APN strives to use Facebook, Twitter and other sites to “build a community,” not just advertise itself, Shelef said.
APN also has a revamped Web site with a lot of interactive features.
Leaders of "establishment" Jewish organizations, who fret a lot about not connecting with younger Jews, should take notice.