As part of our continuing effort to find deeper meaning and lessons in pop culture, we asked Rabbi Simon Jacobson to help reveal the Jewish wisdom and relevancy in the most recent front-page tabloid news.
Email is like a cat. I don't know if it has nine lives, but people still use this form of communication even though it's been pronounced dead many times in recent years.
The general consensus among experts in online communication is that social media is killing the medium of email. Just as companies and organizations are getting pretty good at making their email newsletters look professional, it seems that more people are rendering email as the means of communication from a bygone era (sorry ConstantContact.com!).
What do Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg, blogger Emily Gould, and the 10th-11th century scholar Rabbeinu Gershom have in common?
They all articulated their views about privacy.
Zuckerberg was criticized last month for Facebook's new privacy settings. Over 500 million worldwide users of Facebook had more of their information made public because Zuckerberg believes that "if people share more, the world will become more open and connected. And a world that's more open and connected is a better world."
The story was recently told to me about a Facebook user who updated her status message to announce the death of her grandmother and the grief she was feeling because of the loss. Her friend's mother, a Facebook newbie, read the status update and clicked Facebook's "Like" option. Was this a Facebook faux pas or a way to express condolences in the era of social networking?
Something unusual happened last month. For the week ending March 13, 2010, Google wasn't the most visited website in the U.S. That week, Facebook reached the coveted #1 ranking. The market share of visits to Facebook.com increased 185% that week as compared to the same week in 2009, while visits to Google.com increased 9% during the same time frame. Together Facebook.com and Google.com accounted for 14% of all U.S. Internet visits during that week.
Much has already been made of the social media posting habits of William Daroff. Whether on Twitter or Facebook, the well-connected director of the Washington Office of The Jewish Federations of North America (and its VP for Public Policy) isn't afraid to go public with his whereabouts, upcoming speaking engagements, or even his drinking buddies.
Is Facebook kosher? If so, is it kosher for Passover? I'm not posing the question of whether it is acceptable to log on to Facebook on the first and last days of Passover, when observant Jews refrain from using computers or the Web. Rather, is Facebook activity allowed at all during the Jewish Spring festival?