Wednesday, August 20, 2008


JBlogging Conference Follow Up

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Unfortunately, the live blogging ended with a local wifi overload. So, here's some more on the conference, as well as more pictures.

-> FrumSatire provided some halftime entertainment. He was reasonably funny. Afterwards, he and a few buddies wanted some pictures with me, as a particularly chassidic looking guy (offsetting their beach casual appearance). It was an interesting contrast.

Photo: Yisrael Medad of MyRightWord interviewed by Ben Bretsky of Israel National News and JMusic blogging at Israel Beat.


-> Panel Session Two was on the topic of presenting Israel and Aliyah. Yisrael Medad, as a long time Israeli political activist, shared some interesting thoughts on making things happen. My Shrapnel shared some strong thoughts that basically were "I write want I want, hope people like to read it, and if not or if that doesn't present Israel nicely, blow off." Powerful, but a bit weird given the topic of the panel she was on.

Photo: Break time, Ted Belmen of Israpundit in the shorts to the left, he won one of the prizes of the night, a copy of DovBear's new book. (The other prize was a waffle maker - readers of The Muqata will get that joke - won by Yisroel Medad of My Right Word)


-> The final speaker of the night was Zavi Apfelbaum, Director of Brand Management, from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The topic - Israel's image in the world.

Photo: Speaker from the Foreign Ministry


They did extensive marketing and brand research and what did they find out? ...


And guess what, that's not how Israeli's view themselves! This was a shock to the bloggers in the audience (NOT!) Next, she presented some really interesting research on how different people of the world view different nations. They were presented with a country and had to describe the features of a family and house that represented such a country. Was the house colorful or plain, happy or reserved, etc. And here's what they said about Israel...


Frankly, that's pretty frightening. World views of Israel is pretty negative. But, to sum up Israeli hasbara - Israeli PR efforts by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1 picture is the following picture - the marketing images Israel is going to use to fight these negative stereotypes...


Look closely, here's what you see to combat negative stereotypes and create the future brand and marketing image of Israel:

1. Tel Aviv Fashion Brands
2. Tel Aviv Modern Dance Troupes
3. Tel Aviv Beach Life
4. Israeli High Technology Developments
5. Tel Aviv Night Life
6. Israeli High Technology Medical Developments
7. Israeli Wine

Those are the images that Israel is going to use to sell Israel's uniqueness and specialness to the world. The campaign is being prepared and the Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is expected to sign off on the budget next month. Go team! (I thought I was going to gag.)

In the only controversy of the night, one blogger had the nerve to speak up and challenge this joke of an effort...

(video coming soon)

That's it for the First International Jewish Blogging Convention. It was interesting to meet many people with whom I've corresponded in person, and meet some that I haven't. A very wide diversity of people, more diverse, more people, and more topics than expected. To the organizers, congratulations on a good effort!

Photo: Reb Akiva of Mystical Paths with Rabbi Gil Student of Hirhurim


Photo: Speaker from the Foreign Ministry presenting Israeli PR to the bloggers.


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  1. Very nice post! You did a great job covering the conference.

  2. Great to f2f. The foreign ministry thing was ... good thing I brought my crocheting.

    A few months ago, they started the beach bimbo campaign.

  3. Ah, my wife stole the beach bimbos bathing in bikinis branding try mention.

    And it was I who won the waffle raffle (while spelled the same, you do not pronounce them quite the same - like bloggers).

    Thanks for your words of appreciation. Too bad, though, that that "long-time" appellation means I'm getting older.

    Nice to have met you.

  4. Didn't get to meet you but nice write-up!

  5. I generally don't do the shameless plug route, but I have a more coherent version of my stance posted on my blog today. "Building Israel one post at a time" is not the same as "showing a sunny picture of Israel" or "encouraging aliyah".

    I understand why people might have been taken aback--that is why I posted a more thought-out version of my thoughts.


  6. It was great meeting you in person, Akiva. And nice work with the liveblogging.

  7. And I was waiting to see how Nati and Double Tapper would get along.

    Good meeting you.

    And a gutten shabbes.


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