Over the last 2 weeks, these pictures and others like them have been all over the news, publications, and social media. With different news channels sharing opposing stories, newspapers vouching contradicting “facts”, and Facebook flooding with comments, what do YOU think about them? Do they invoke fear? Do they make you more confused? Maybe they even make you excited and more interested about what is going on in this part of the world?
Regardless of how these images make you feel, it is hard to ignore the current news and it is even harder to engage with it when as citizens, we don’t exactly have control over the situation.
What we CAN do is write.
Posting a Facebook status or writing a blog is one of most powerful ways to engage with these current events, or any other issues that you encounter. Writing enables you to articulate your own thoughts and sharing these thoughts allows those that care about you to begin to relate to your experience. Sharing these thoughts through social media is the quickest and more efficient way to reach masses.
Writing is incredibly therapeutic. It allows you to pour out your thoughts and emotions, no matter how scattered or intense they are, without facing any opposition. By writing your unreserved feelings down, you will relieve yourself of the emotions that hold you back from accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Fill your writing with “I” statements and own your thoughts!
Blogs and personal stories are more powerful than a journalist’s report or a news article because of the personality that comes through in it’s content. The words in them are honest and emotional and it is that genuine voice, not a scripted dialogue that gets a reader to pay attention and to believe what you are writing. This is why personal storytelling is so important. Through blogs, statuses, and pictures, we can inform our communities about your life, about what is happening on the ground in Israel and about what is going on in your head. Writing provides information and comfort as well as lets people into our lives on a more intimate level.
Ways to most effectively share your story with your audience:
1) Be real –The news shows the missiles, the destruction, and the fear in people’s eyes over and over again. We write to let people see OUR sides of the story, not what is just on the news. Your story may include being in a bomb shelter but the thoughts, emotions, and discussions that occur during these experiences add a new layer to the story that a news report doesn’t provide. For example, sharing a story about a new person you met in a stairwell or talking about the pride you feel for your community can open your audience’s mind to a different side of the situation. Personal growth or positive experiences will captivate your audience and keep them reading as well as comfort them that you are not only safe but that you are also growing from the experience. Campaigns, such as #BOMAHStory, illustrate this storytelling strategy on social media and share people’s truth to the world.
2) Identify your audience and use terms that are trending –If your friends and family aren’t as engaged with the issue, chances are a lot of the terms and information you use will be hard to connect with. So, what do we do when we don’t know something? Search the internet! Use common words and phrases that are trending on Facebook and Twitter so that your community can easily look the correct information they seek. Terms like “Operation Protective Edge” and hashtags like #IsraelUnderFire, #IsraelStrong and #BomahStories are popular to search and will provide an abundance of relevant information. Take it a step further and add hyperlinks, suggested news sources, or links to another friend’s blog to connect your network with more even more sources!
3) Visuals – Adding pictures or videos to your writing allows the audience to see through your eyes. These images can also replace or add to the images seen on television. If you are not in Israel, adding a visual can help your reader bring your words to life and your opinion all of a sudden becomes a scene your audience can imagine! If you are in Israel, your images can be your readers’ ticket to your reality.
4) Make your Post Public – Whether you have a personal ongoing blog or are posting an isolated Facebook status, your thoughts have the power to strengthen community, educate those who are less informed, and even start a discussion with those who stand on a different side of the argument. However, to reach all of these people, this includes people outside of your list of Facebook friends, post your thoughts on as many social media forums as possible and make sure your settings are public so you can be heard!
5) Be social –Having people engage with your thoughts is the goal of using social media and leads to you having loyal readers. Your readers will undoubtedly respond with a “Stay safe!” or “Thank you for the update!” Make sure you reply with a “Thank you for reading! I’ll be posting more so keep checking my page” One way to proactively engage people is go give a shout out in your post such as “So family and friends, I’m hanging in there!” or tag someone directly.
Yalla – Help yourself and help others! Write a blog, post a status, share your thoughts! Message your stories with a picture on the BOMAH fan page to share it with the world!