Israeli tech start-ups are known for creating new efficiencies. Think GetTaxi, a taxi-finding service, and Waze, the Israeli navigation app which recently sold to Google for over a billion dollars. EatWith, the newest young, web-based Israeli company to come to New York, likewise uses the Internet to make connections, but its mission is more to slow things down than speed them up.
Social media changes the zeitgeist in ways we couldn't have imagined. As we saw with the recent presidential election, opinions and attacks now travel at the speed of light. And so it should be no surprise that the ongoing Middle East conflict in Gaza between the Palestinians and Israelis has escalated into a Cyber war.
With a planned IPO in 2012 the list of things that people are using Facebook for is only expanding. In Israel, archaeologists are using a Facebook Page to help them solve a 3,000-year-old mystery. The story was originally reported in The Washington Post and Mark Weiss explains how Facebook is coming in handy for these archaeologists. He reports from Jerusalem for The Irish Times:
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.
Twitter is still in its infancy and users around the globe continue to discover new ways to use the microblogging application. One national Jewish organization is now looking to release an entire encyclopedia via Twitter. If you think that sending out the content from an encyclopedia in less than 140 characters at a time might take a long time... well, you're correct.
The Jewish Women's Archive has begun to tweet The Jewish Women's Encyclopedia. The Twitter feed can be followed at #jwapedia