I’m here at the 2010 Herzliya Conference, hanging out in the New Media Room. (Unfortunately, I’ve missed the first two days of the conference due to illness, so I’ll be working hard to try to bring you the most relevant bits from the four day conference).

Just to start out, I spoke with David Saranga (a.k.a “the young guy with the glasses,”) of the Asper Institute for New Media Diplomacy at the Sammy Offer School of Communications, at the Inter-Disciplinary Center, Herzliya. As Sharon mentioned in her article a few days ago about the Herzilya Conference, this conference is decked out in Media 2.0 tools. They have their own You Tube page, Facebook page, twitter account, etc. I asked David, why? (Other than the undeniable coolness of the “blogosphere”). He told me that the three main ideas where to reach 1) different audience(s), 2) a younger audience, and 3) a wider audience.

1) Different audience(s). The conference deals with many different topics relevant to different elements of society. For example, the green issue is one of the main issues being addressed throughout the conference. This allows for people who are strongly connected to the green issue to be connected to the conference. In essence, this is an example of a positive message coming from Israel, with leading world figures, dealing with green issues.

2) Younger audience. Today’s younger generation (particularly the “millenials”), have no time and no patience. Our schedules are filled with school, work, internships, friends, and all sorts of extra activities, and we have neither the time nor the patience to sit and watch a full 45 minute panel about something that may only marginally interest us. Therefore, as David sees it, the key is to bring the message in a way that we like to consume it. For example, turn that into three minute videos in color and available on You Tube.

Fmr. CIA Director James Woolsey being Interviews by David Saranga

Fmr. CIA Director James Woolsey being Interviewed by David Saranga

3) Wider audience. The goal is to bring this conference directly to the people, so that the conference is available without people needing to come directly to the conference, via platforms they use every day. Each topic has a specific niche of people interested in the topic. However, if you can add more things to it,  you may be able to attract more people. For example, take an interview with James Woolsey, Former Director of the CIA. He came to the conference to speak about oil and alternative sources of fueling, and has been interviewed about Iran, and regional security, which may attract a wider audience.

Another plus is that the cyber world allows for archiving that is accessible throughout the world.

From talking to the people here, it’s clear that they want to get the message out. What’s the use of a conference with all of these great and wonderful ideas, if no one hears about them, and people aren’t getting excited about them. So it’s up to us, the people present, the readers, those connected on blogs, newspapers, twitter, and all of the old and new media tools, (it’s a matter of “synergy,”) as David puts it, to be “the vehicle on which [we] can amplify the message.”

Behind the scenes:

So who’s working on bringing the message to you on behalf of the conference? They are all volunteers. They are a group of people, between the ages of 18 and 25-ish, from all around the world. I’ve heard Hebrew, English, Russian, German, French, Afrikaans, Spanish, and Ukranian all being spoken. Many of them are students, here at the IDC.

Now, I’m not a big “plugger” and I’m definitely not someone who is generally interested in fields like communications, but the program here is so cool that I just feel the need to share. Alex Gekker of the Asper Institute told me about the Sammy School of Communications program. It was founded four years ago, and it’s really cool. Its main focus is new media. The students have a one and a half year core study program, after which their last one and a half years is devoted to the study of a specialization. They offer three specializations: 1) tv/radio, 2)persuasive media (i.e PR, spokesman-ship, advertising, etc.), and 3) interactive media (i.e. new media and 2.0 tools). The third years do a joint project with third years in computer studies, to simulate real life working conditions and work on prototyping. Last year’s project was about mobile experience. During the year, these individuals are involved in all sorts of media things, including setting up a Hasbarah room during last years Operation Cast Lead. If communications interests you as a field of study, I would highly recommend checking out the IDC.

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