An expat’s view: How joining Vine helps me celebrate humankind

Have you tried Vine yet? It’s the video answer to Instagram and Twitter. And in the tradition of most starting-out social media platforms, when I heard all the buzz about it, I could only react with, why?

Vine was iOS-only for a while, and this week joined the Android world. So yesterday I downloaded it.

First I scrolled through ten or so of the videos in my feed. Some were actually kinda moving; others were just lame. Kinda like Instagram. Or Twitter.

Hours later, I saw an opportunity to video something. Within 6 seconds of my half-Australian two-year-old daughter singing Waltzing Matilda, I uploaded my first Vine.

That evening, in a fit of boredom, I went back to Vine. I scrolled through my newsfeed, and then ventured out via hashtags. I saw everything – from the creatively executed #loop, to cheesy #magic, to the requisite #selfie.

I found myself fascinated in a way I’ve never felt through a social media experience before: I felt… connected, instantly, deeply, to total strangers. It must be something about video; Instagram makes photos of anything beautiful. Twitter makes joining conversations easier.

But video accomplishes something else. Even if it’s 6 seconds. There’s something about Vine, where you actually feel the person behind the camera. You hear them. In many cases, you see them or their friends. You view the animated world through their eyes. You see how people look, hear how they sound, take in their surroundings.

And taking it a little further… I’ll admit. The lonely expat it in me felt… connected. Opened to the rest of the world. Even if, to be honest, it’s mostly Americans I was watching on Vine. It was familiar. It was foreign. It was, for a second, like I could imagine being there, involved in the culture again.

After seeing dozens of 6 second clips, I started to imagine the possibilities once this spreads further around the world… After reading up on some of Coke’s global Happiness campaign, you really get this powerful feeling the world can be connected. It is, but it can be even more. We can have access to people we never dreamed of ever understanding.

In my conflict management degree, one of my biggest takeaways was contact theory. To interact with The Other is to begin to break down walls.

I find that to be true in every aspect of life.

Imagine all that from a ‘superficial’ social media platform.

Knesset swears in, we watch, we laugh (and we cry)

Figured I’d stream the Knesset swearing-in ceremony while getting actual work done. Someone in this country has to, right?

Anyway, during the part of the gathering where the members nominate and vote for the Knesset Speaker, I found a striking resemblance to a certain type of gathering I’ve been a part of many times now…

And, by quoting it in their daily report, HonestReporting seems to agree!

Though I’m surprised this one didn’t turn out to be true…


h/t Diane

Ok, Bezeq Parrot. You win.

Well, the Bezeq Parrot had earned his keep methinks. And an Israeli company has proven it is capable of providing not only quality, but creative, customer service.

Lots of companies have Twitter accounts for so-called support. Some of them actually keep up with that premise. But @bezeqbenleumi really has it down. We recently switched our home internet from HOT to Bezeq. Before the switch, I had noticed from the corner of my eye that peeps were @-replying to this Bezeq handle. I kinda ignored it until I became a customer and thought, huh, isn’t that nice.

Then today, I needed some service myself. I tweeted about my sloppy internet connection today and they wrote back instantly. We actually had a conversation over Twitter that ended with me DMing my details and them passing it along to a rep who would call me promptly. Which, they did. The issue (a non-emergency) was fixed over the phone a couple hours later.

This is in sharp contrast to @htc, which has yet to reply to one of my frustrated tweets concerning my shitty 14-month-old HTC Desire which, in the last week, has conked out its camera, microphone and speaker (so what’s left, exactly?).

Funny, that. Excellent Israeli customer service, poor international company service.

Kol hakavod, Bezeq parrot. You done good.

Life in snippets.

Time is going by cliche fast. You hear it and you hear it and then it happens to you. The Koala is nearly four months old. I’m nearly four months not-pregnant. The Koala smiles, laughs, plays. My maternity leave is over and I’m juggling work and baby.

I’ve slowed down with updates here, of course. Typing a post with one hand isn’t easy, and typing a post with only the left hand is even harder.

But alas.

That’s why I’ve been doing so much updating in snippets on a convenient and too-popular snippet-publishing website you probably know by another name.

So, in short (or 140 characters or less) here is a not-so-brief list of some of the thoughts that have been floating in between my ears of late:

awesome: being able to say “I’m hungry” and not have everyone make comments like, “Preggo!” “Oh, you’re so pregnant!” “Cravings!!!” Aug 12

just set up the bath one handed. this is going to be the first bath I give alone… but team smushcheeks can handle it. Aug 11th

rocks: when you get a new scale and find out you’ve really been a kilo less this whole time. perhaps every day we should buy a new scale. Aug 9th

if I may say so myself, I need my own kids’ tv show. yes, I am that good at making up songs. Aug 4th

baby is asleep. checking my Outlook at the kitchen table. welcome back to work, me. Aug 2nd

he laughs. he laughs! Aug 1st

last of the maternity clothes into storage. so when will my jeans not only fit in the morning but also after dinner? Jul 2nd

ok going to the dentist is officially worse than giving birth. Jul 1st

this one’s a kicker. always has been. Jun 30th

it’s almost creepy the way this baby and I operate on a totally biological, subconscious level. Jun 26th

he’s lickin’ me. Jun 25th

yes, I’d like to think he’s looking deep into my eyes, but really, I know the truth. he’s staring down my shirt.#boobobsessionstartsatbirth Jun 25th

sucks when you have a great feed and then he spits it all right back up. is that equal to ‘pumping and dumping’?#thanksbutnothanksmom Jun 25th

in a world like this, it feels lucky to be a mom with her son safe and sound. thinking of #gilad ‘s mom. Jun 25th

…let the drooling begin! #babydrooliscuteuntilyouredrowninginit Jun 24th

me + crackers + hunger+ baby bjorn + hairy head = sorry about the crumbs, kid. Jun 24th

so… I’m already loving his toys more than he does. Jun 22nd

hands free… good for baby, great for mommy.#preparingforshabbatjustgoteasierthanksbabybjorn Jun 19th

it’s like a hitchcock movie. you put him down in one spot and check on him later and he’s moved across the crib somehow… Jun 11th

here’s hoping for a better night tonight. so far it’s 2-0 since the great tomato tragedy and I’m getting my ass kicked. Jun 3rd

how do they know to poop RIGHT after you changed them? is it another infant reflex? Jun 2nd

can’t help but laugh when he seals his lips when done eating. it’s like, nope. not getting in there. Jun 2nd

ur a mom when, after almost running over a kitten, u look at ur newborn in the back & deal w/ pangs of guilt. soft, soft, soft. Jun 1st

it’s time. he’s five weeks old. it’s time to teach the boy about Billy Joel and the Rolling Stones. May 31st

breastfeeding on demand -> burnt quinoa. oh well. May 25th

four weeks old today! four weeks ago today I was doing… what??? from where??? May 24th

the definition of ‘weekend’ is now having two parents at home all day instead of one… which is a true vacation at this point. May 21st

being mom to a newborn is starting a salad an hour and a half ago and just now sitting down to it. every. day. May 19th

new reason for twitter: tracking my days with bebe so at the end I can recall what I did that day… they grow up so fast! May 11th

poop is the new black. May 10th

Israeli Consulate hosting a Twitter Q&A session.

And now, for something new and different.

So… here in Israel, we are more computers than people. And I know I was a bit snobbish when I wrote about the Israeli elections campaigns using internet tech and themes from their American counterparts. But this actually tops all that for real:

The Israeli Consulate has its own Twitter account and will be fielding Q&A today from 1pm-3pm Eastern Standard Time. The consulate also has two blogs, Israel Politik and IsRealli, as well as a Facebook page, a YouTube channel, and MySpace profile.

I suppose it’s logical; Israel is a country that needs more PR than most others. But it might also be nice to have seen the American government hold Q&A sessions on Twitter or sending down-to-earth updates on blog posts or YouTube videos.

Anyway, if you want to know more about the Twitter event, here’s the consulate’s blog post about it:

Tomorrow, 30 December, from 1-3PM EST,  David Saranga, Consul of Media and Public Affairs in New York, will answer your questions about the situation in Israel and Gaza in a “Citizens’ Press Conference.”

You can submit your question by directing it to our Twitter account at http://www.twitter.com/IsraelConsulate . We will do our best to answer through Twitter.  If an answer requires more than the 140 character limit, we will respond on Twitter with a link to an answer posted in this blog.

We hope you will be able to join us–tell your friends!!

I hope it turns out worthwhile.

You know you're an Anglo-Israeli working in hi-tech when…

I just received a tweet from a friend:

“just heard terrible news…reeling from the shock. baruch dayan ha-emet”

And I immediately went to check my favorite news services to find out what happened. First I thought Ariel Sharon, then I thought Gilad Shalit. I scoured the Israeli news sources and then spread out wider to my international news sources, like a ripple effect.

It’s that mentality that the news is always alive, always happening and at any moment, anything can happen here in Israel… Mixed with the immediacy of the way we hi-tech geeks communicate and share… Mixed with my own morbidity, I suppose.

In the end, it turned out to be a personal thing. But those few minutes before I knew that… Those are the moments when I remember where and in what age I live in…