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July 21, 2023 2:26 pm

Social Media Can Foster Positive Feelings About Israel Among Youth, New Study Says


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Ranger Shoham Saginur rides a horse at a ranch near Katzrin, in the Golan Heights, Nov. 29, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

Exposing young people to Israel through social media may help in fostering positive emotions about the country, according to a new market research study conducted by Israel21c, a media nonprofit that shares stories about Israel citizens.

Titled, Using Social Media to Influence Opinion about Israel, the study involved surveying 400 North American young adults in the 19-25 age group, 52 percent of whom were non-Jewish, to ascertain how their opinions about Israel were affected by viewing digital content curated by participants of Israel21c’s Digital Ambassadors Internship Program, year-long a media training opportunity that trains college students in online communication.

“There’s an opportunity to reach people who don’t have preconceived biases about Israel just by letting college students create content they think is interesting,” said Israel21c executive director Jason Harris in an interview with The Algemeiner. “We now have data that says these simple posts work for getting an emotional response versus more complex content.”

According to a summary of the results, 90 percent of respondents reported “gaining an insight into Israeli society” from viewing the content presented by the Digital Ambassadors, which included images of Israeli “street art” and short biographies of “Empowering Women.” 66 percent reported “feeling more positive” about it. Neither gender, religion or personal knowledge of Israel influenced how the respondents felt about a particular post. but the kind of post they saw did.

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“More complex posts that include multiple images and explanatory text generate higher reports of learning and gaining insight into Israeli society,” Israel21c said in a press release accompanying the report.. “Similar posts with a singular focus on an eye-catching image and idea garner higher reports of emotional response and feeling more positive about Israeli society.”

Israel21c is the latest organization to examine methods of introducing young people to Israel. In February, a study published by the Academic Engagement Network (AEN) found that study abroad trips to Israel raise awareness of global antisemitism and promote appreciation for the Jewish people.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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