As a rabbi who is a social mediaologist, I find myself consulting a lot of synagogues and Jewish nonprofits on their social media strategy. The leaders of these institutions all recognize that they require a social media strategy, but the plan for how it will be implemented varies greatly.
As Social Media has become more popular over the past few years, an emerging field of study and consulting has emerged. All of a sudden everyone is a social media maven. The youngest employee (or intern) at law offices, accounting firms, medical practices, restaurants and non-profit organizations suddenly become the in-house social media experts charged with the task of creating Facebook pages and keeping them updated.
FaceGlat, the ultra-Orthodox social networking site, is an attempt to offer Haredi Jews the experience of Facebook without all the immodesty. From the opening page it reminds one of public restrooms with a sign for men to enter through one door and women to enter through their own door. FaceGlat's name is a mashup of Facebook and glatt, the term for kosher meat considered to be a higher standard of kosher because of the source animal's smooth lungs.
9/11 changed so much. We all know that. Much has changed in technology since that dreadful day ten years ago. What if Twitter were around on 9/11? What if Facebook were around on 9/11? Think about how that would have changed that day.
In the face of evil and horrific events does come some good. Social media has grown in ways no one imagined in the pre-9/11 world. We network much more. We form groups and huddles and circles. We chat via video and texting.
In my last year of rabbinical school, I had an interesting conversation with a rabbi of a large congregation. He told me that he had put his foot down and refused to let his congregation create a synagogue-wide email LISTSERV. His rationale? This forum would be used by the membership to complain about the synagogue and the rabbi.
It's not uncommon for tech savvy Jews in Cyberspace to develop online relationships with other Jews who frequent some of the same social networking sites and blogs. These relationships, however, often remain in Cyberspace. Sure, there are the occasional conferences and retreats in which techie Jews will meet in the "real world," but most of the communication takes place online.