About the Author: Avida Landau serves as a Media Specialist in the Public Affairs Section of U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv.
For the second time in as many years, we, here at American Embassy Tel Aviv, have tried to add another dimension to the annual July 4 party by pushing it into cyberspace and the new digital age using the internet and new media tools we have at our disposal. The idea was to bring the party straight to the people who were not present for the festivities, allowing them to celebrate America's independence from afar, yet make them feel as if they are right there on the lawn sipping a cold drink and viewing the spectacular fireworks show.
Stationed on the roof of the ambassador's residence, a video camera captured all the festivities and broadcast the images live to the embassy's website, as well as to a dedicated page on the Jerusalem Post's website -- the largest English language website in Israel. In total, more than 2,000 people viewed our online feed from home or from their mobile phones, effectively almost doubling the number people "attending" the party. In addition to the broadcast, we utilized our Flickr and Twitter tools to upload photos straight from the receiving line and the speeches and provide a "play-by-play" account of the festivities.
Embassy Spokesman Kurt Hoyer, an enthusiastic supporter of U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv's social media outreach efforts, declared this year's online party a "great success that enabled the embassy to share the year's biggest event with so many people. I'm sure we can use the experience covering the July 4th party and apply it to other embassy events in an effort to convey our message to more and more people."
In addition to the photos and tweets, we are also planning to post a short video clip of the event on our popular YouTube page so everyone can remember how cool the event was even long after the fireworks subsided.
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