Yair Amichai-Hamburger

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Dr Yair Amichai-Hamburger is the head of the Research Center for Internet Psychology at the Sammy Ofer School of Communications of the IDC Herzliya in Israel.[1]

2009 Iran election

Following the disputed 2009 Iranian presidential elections, the Jerusalem Post website was accused by US blog Charting Stocks of fomenting instability in Iran by promoting a number of newly created Twitter accounts on the issue.[2]

In an article which rejected the allegations, the Jerusalem Post, interviewed Dr Amichai-Hamburger:

"We used to be customers of the media," said Dr. Yair Amichai-Hamburger, director of the Research Center for Internet Psychology at Sammy Ofer School of Communications at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center. "Now we produce the media."
Regular, everyday people have become journalists and social activists, he added, and a group of people with a shared interest can form a small but influential army. This allows the ability for real, dynamic opposition that is nearly impossible to suppress, even in a dictatorship like Iran, Amichai-Hamburger said.
Twitter in particular works well for such communication because it is short, simple and instant. Amichai-Hamburger explained that Twitter's immediateness escalates users' emotions, because people who are always online and always connected are always involved.
"It's not like reading the news," explained Amichai-Hamburger. "You are in the news."[3]

There is a certain irony in the Jerusalem Post's approach to Dr Amichai-Hamburger, given that the IDC Herzliya was itself the base for the HelpUsWin.org social networking campaign during the Israeli offensive in Gaza in late 2008/early 2009,[4] and at least one communications student involved in that effort, Arik Fraimovich,[5] had taken a prominent role in the Twitter campaign on the Iranian election.[6]

External Resources


  1. Faculty, Sammy Ofer School of Communications, IDC Herzliya, accessed 19 June 2009.
  2. Proof: Israeli Effort to Destabilize Iran Via Twitter #IranElection, Charting Stocks, 15 June 2009.
  3. RICKY BEN-DAVID AND RACHEL GEIZHALS, Is JPost behind the 'Iranian Twitter Revolution'?, JPost.com, 18 June 2009.
  4. Jessica Freiman, IDC students work to win media war, Jerusalem Post, 4 January 2009.
  5. Jay Meydad, Topify Upgrades Twitter’s Weakest Link, Jay Meydad's Life Mashup, 4 March 2009.
  6. helpiranelection.com, accessed 18 June 2009.