EXCLUSIVE: Israeli President Shimon Peres Explains Fascination With Social Media as He Launches New Campaign
Israel’s nonagenarian President Shimon Peres announced plans for yet another social media campaign Sunday, inviting the public to ask questions via Facebook and vote on those which it would like to see answered.
In an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner, Peres explained his fascination with social media platforms, and his apparently remarkable ability to adapt to the times. “We live in a changing world and you have to change with it,” he said. “The new world is run by science and technology, it’s no use having an old mind in a new world. Those that fail to embrace the new age will be left behind.”
The President’s latest campaign entitled “You Ask, President Peres Answers,” comes with the launch of a new application on the President’s Facebook page. The drive calls for questions to be posed by users of the popular social networking site from all over the world, and offers a promise that the top questions will be personally answered by President Peres in writing and through video messages.
“The new application creates a direct link between President Peres and people all over the world who are interested in the State of Israel,” said the President’s office in an email to reporters.
Asked if he was concerned that inviting questions from the public might attract the involvement of anti-Semites or enemies of Israel, Peres said that after spending so many years in public office, there is little that surprises him. “I’ve been in public life for a long time now and there aren’t many questions that can still surprise me! I hope to use this as an opportunity to engage with people in meaningful discussion, people who really want to know more about Israel and the Jewish people but I will answer all questions,” he told The Algemeiner.
“If anyone comes to spread hatred I will tell them that our greatest wish is to live in peace, and that peace and hope are the future, not hatred and war,” Peres pledged.
Peres said that he sees the advance of information age technology as a positive development.
“Firstly; history has no reverse gear and we cannot control it. We live in a global world with global communication and we can’t change that. Information is positive, dialogue is positive,” he said.
“Facebook, Twitter and social media in general allow us to communicate faster,” explained the President. “My engagement with social media, and this campaign as an example, is exactly intended to ensure the global conversation is a positive and enriching one. There are many advantages in this information era, for example the young generation has already developed a global communication method; the digital language.”
“We were once divided by language and geography but now we’re more united than ever before, through technology,” said Peres.
President Peres launched his Facebook page in March 2012 from Mark Zuckerberg’s personal computer in Silicon Valley alongside the Facebook founder. Since then President Peres has maintained an active online presence through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube in a project known as “Peres 360,” which aims to creates transparency and accessibility to the president through social media, his office said.
President Peres has launched other innovative projects including his “One-on-One” conversation application, a voter turn-out project for Israel’s elections, live video streaming and the “Be My Friend For Peace” launch video.