Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and blogs are all new and preferred ways for Israeli elected officials to better interact with their audience. JN1's Sivan Raviv sat down with Knesset Member Einat Wilf to find out how she uses social media. MK Wilf says, "I'm constantly online, I look at my Facebook page all the time, I see the comments, I respond to people. I try not to go overboard, I will put up things maybe 2-3 times a day. I try to do not more than that. But I'm always online and I see what's going on, this is part of my work."
And MK Einat Wilf is not the only one. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has three Facebook accounts, with about 150,000 followers on his official page. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon uses Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube - all in English, in order to appeal to international audiences. And the Head of the Labor party Shelly Yachimovitz utilized these platforms during her campaign in order to help her win the primaries.
When asked about the usefulness of interacting with her constituents, MK Einat Wilf told us, "Absolutely. I do a lot of interactive stuff. For example, once a week in the Knesset we have something called a one-minute speech. A member of Knesset can talk about anything they want. Sometimes I'll solicit ideas for that one-minute speech, and if it's a good idea, I will talk about it. I will post drafts of legislation to get people's comments, and some good comments will make it into the legislation. So absolutely the comments are part of the interactive process, and I listen."
She continued, "I'm quite certain social media will have deep impact on how we conduct politics. I think it will have the same kind of impact that TV had on politics for several decades. I think that people through social media would expect their politicians to be more interactive, more answerable. People will expect to have more of a voice in what their politicians do. They'll think of politics no more as voting once every a few years, but an ongoing process, where civic participation is conducted at a higher level. So I think social media will transform politics in a very, very, deep way, and I think we're only at the beginning of that revolution."