Reclaiming My Social Media

As a rabbi and Jewish educational leader, I have used social media, including Facebook and Twitter, extensively. Sadly, in recent weeks there was an epidemic of the use of my social media in ways that I considered to be negative or insulting. We’re all had that happen:  someone posts an insult or an obscenity and we have to decide how to respond to the situation and to the individual.

Cleaning up my social media mess is becoming a bit like a mikvah immersion.  For a month, I am holding off my usual weekly routine of posting, and re-purifying and reclaiming my social media presence not only in reaction to a particular set of circumstances, but in a proactive way that will help me to lead that presence, both as an individual as well as professionally.

During the month, I’ve been renovating my Facebook and social media presence and creating, in effect, my own social media policy, so that my Facebook and Twitter presence reflects my values. The guidelines and day posts, which can be followed on my personal Facebook or on Twitter (@JewishConnectiv), with the hashtag #reclaimingmysocialmedia:

Social Media Cleanse

  1. Social media is social. Cleaning out people who watch but don’t share.
  2. There’s enough hatred in the world. Cleaning out people who consistently add more hatred, and deleting sarcastic comments.
  3. My social media is safe place for expression. Cleaning out anything or anyone who makes it unsafe.
  4. Done with narcissism. Cleaning out narcissists and limiting “selfies”.
  5. Respect. Fostering respect for one another on my social media.
  6. Humor. Adding humor and joy to my social media, and inviting others to do so.
  7. Music. Adding music that will make people smile or dance and inviting others to do so.
  8. Educating. Posting something that people will learn from. Making everyone a teacher and learner.
  9. Repairing the world. Adding something to social media that will make the world better.
  10. Adding passion. Inviting everyone to share their passions on my social media.
  11. Sharing something personal and inviting others to do so. Taking risks is part of social media.
  12. Setting limits. Prioritizing the 3 most important things to post daily, 5 comments I want to make to others and 10 things to “like” each day.
  13. Learning silence. Not every comment needs a response. Respecting people’s comments by letting them be.
  14. Exercising ownership. Nobody has an unlimited right to post or comment on my FB wall. Granting the privilege to those who are respectful and removing comments or people that aren’t.
  15. Reaching out to someone new. Adding a new contact regularly. You should try it, too.
  16. Looking backwards. Some past posts no longer reflect who I am today. Cleaning up and trashing what no longer fits.
  17. Stop using general posts when what I really need to do is to talk to one or two people about something. No sense in broadcasting what is really an issue that only involves a small number of folks.
  18. Posting something that doesn’t do anything for me but could really make a difference for someone else. Like a piece of wisdom or experience.
  19. Promoting someone else today. Maybe their business or career, or their value as a friend.
  20. Reducing use of my social media as free therapy for others. Being an online psychotherapist or relationship counselor does do them or me justice. Being a friend does.
  21. Letting go. I don’t watch to see who’s “unfriended” me. I figure anyone who does has a good reason and I respect that.
  22. I use Shabbat to turn off for a day. I encourage you to take a weekly social media fast.
  23. Setting a face-to-face or Skype or Hangout with someone I usually see only on social media. If the vast majority of your friendships are only on Facebook, it’s worth turning that around.
  24. Practicing humility. The insight I share on social media might be valuable. But considering the possibility that it isn’t.
  25. Stopping reading between the lines. A comment is a comment. If you think a comment needs exploration, ask. Most often, people say what they need to and that’s it.

Talmudic law speaks of our responsibility for any potential dangers that may lurk on property that belongs to us. Our online presence is no less our responsibility. I am neither the first nor the last to clean up his/her social media presence.  I have found inspiration in those who have practiced greater mindfulness in regulating their social media involvement. And I am honored to know that many of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers have found value in my campaign and have begun actions of their own to take greater charge of their social media activities.  In closing, I invite you to consider:

  • What actions do you take to protect your social media presence and to assure that it reflects you and your values?
  • How do you keep interactions (and the participants in those interactions) safe?
  • If you were writing your “ten commandments” for your social media presence, what would they be?

 

Rabbi Arnie Samlan is executive director of Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education in Miami, FL and founder of Jewish Connectivity, Inc.

Jewish Values and Social Media – Meta Converastion!

This is cross-posted from Miriam Brosseau’s "Clips and Phrases" Tumbler.

Here’s the current state of a conversation about social media and Jewish values happening on my Facebook profile. What would you add?

Ok, everybody – favorite Jewish values and/or texts that could potentially relate to social media. And…go!

(Whaddya think, Anita Salzman Silvert, David Paskin, Rabbi Jason Miller, Elizabeth Wood, Carrie Bornstein, Arnie Samlan? Others?)

Elizabeth Wood Al Tifrosh min hatzibur – Do not separate yourself from the community (i.e. figure out always how to keep yourself connected!)

Irene Lehrer Sandalow Al Tifrosh Min Hatsibur. Social Media makes sure stay you connected to your community.

Miriam Brosseau Whoah, Elizabeth and Irene, you are totally on the same wavelength… and it’s a great call, thanks!

Isaac Shalev Emor me’at ve’aseh harbeh – say little and do lots – should be Twitter’s mission statement

Sara Shapiro-Plevan I’d say that “im ein ani li, mi li” and the rest of that mishna speaks beautifully to the fact that we are nodes in a larger network and not just in relationship with ourselves. Also, Pirke Avot ch. 6 talks about drawing close to colleagues and students, not separating one’s self from community, knowing and contributing to the knowledge of others, and sharpening others’ knowledge as well.

Carrie Bornstein Sara – you JUST beat me to it!

Carrie Bornstein If I am not for myself, who will be for me? (Have a voice in the online world – make your presence known.) If I am only for myself, what am I? (Engage your community – advocate on behalf of others) If not now, when? (Just do it – act in the moment.)

Anita Salzman Silvert I would add the whole Lashon Ha-rah issue. Just using some of the text in a little presentation on the jewish values found in “The Music Man” …think pick a little talk a little…!

Carrie Bornstein Eizeh hu chacham? HaLomed miKol Adam. Who is wise? The one who learns from all others. 

Naomi Malka Da Lifnei Mi Ata Omed—be mindful of your values wherever you go and whatever you say in cyberspace.

Yehudit Batya Shrager The essence of tsniut is being independent of the good opinion of other people. (For the DL on tsniut read “Outside/Inside” by Gila Manolson.) In other words, know what to share and what to keep to yourself and do not define yourself based on how many “friends/followers” you have or how many people “like,” your status updates.

Phil Liff-Grieff malbin panav- it is important to remember that one’s words have serious ripples (sort of a riff on the lashon ha-ra thread….)

Arnie Samlan What about the whole concept of a minyan? That there is a tipping point at which enough human-social energy gathers.

Lisa Narodick Colton Wow, this is great. I’ll add tzimtzum — needing to contract oneself to make room for others to create. good for community guidelines — don’t be a conversation hog.

Larry Brown Excellent topic, Miriam! I believe Pirkei Avot says to find a Rabbi/Teacher and sit at his feet and study. The whole concept of the Oral Torah is that one cannot truly understand Torah simply by reading text, one must learn from others. That is why our ancestors were so reluctant to write it down. Interactive social media can be seen as another way of learning from others.

Paul Wieder Pirsumei Nisah— from Chanukah. Want everyone to know about a miracle? Put it in the window!
“Who is wise? The one who learns from all”- Pirkei Avot
Arba Kanfot— the idea that, while Jews are spread to the “four corners” of the world, we are united.
“A father who does not teach his son a trade teaches him to steal.”— We are required to teach as well as learn, to pass on our knowledge.

Carrie Bornstein In case you haven’t seen it, this thread keeps reminding me of this: http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?q=node%2F90054

Stanley Mieses Kol Yisroel and Derech Eretz. There is no them….only us.

Geoffrey Mitelman I’d add that in our ever-more-interconnected world, g’milut chasadim and tikkun olam are becoming more and more synonymous.

Jewish Values and Social Media – Meta Converastion!

This is cross-posted from Miriam Brosseau’s "Clips and Phrases" Tumbler.

Here’s the current state of a conversation about social media and Jewish values happening on my Facebook profile. What would you add?

Ok, everybody – favorite Jewish values and/or texts that could potentially relate to social media. And…go!

(Whaddya think, Anita Salzman Silvert, David Paskin, Rabbi Jason Miller, Elizabeth Wood, Carrie Bornstein, Arnie Samlan? Others?)

Elizabeth Wood Al Tifrosh min hatzibur – Do not separate yourself from the community (i.e. figure out always how to keep yourself connected!)

Irene Lehrer Sandalow Al Tifrosh Min Hatsibur. Social Media makes sure stay you connected to your community.

Miriam Brosseau Whoah, Elizabeth and Irene, you are totally on the same wavelength… and it’s a great call, thanks!

Isaac Shalev Emor me’at ve’aseh harbeh – say little and do lots – should be Twitter’s mission statement

Sara Shapiro-Plevan I’d say that “im ein ani li, mi li” and the rest of that mishna speaks beautifully to the fact that we are nodes in a larger network and not just in relationship with ourselves. Also, Pirke Avot ch. 6 talks about drawing close to colleagues and students, not separating one’s self from community, knowing and contributing to the knowledge of others, and sharpening others’ knowledge as well.

Carrie Bornstein Sara – you JUST beat me to it!

Carrie Bornstein If I am not for myself, who will be for me? (Have a voice in the online world – make your presence known.) If I am only for myself, what am I? (Engage your community – advocate on behalf of others) If not now, when? (Just do it – act in the moment.)

Anita Salzman Silvert I would add the whole Lashon Ha-rah issue. Just using some of the text in a little presentation on the jewish values found in “The Music Man” …think pick a little talk a little…!

Carrie Bornstein Eizeh hu chacham? HaLomed miKol Adam. Who is wise? The one who learns from all others. 

Naomi Malka Da Lifnei Mi Ata Omed—be mindful of your values wherever you go and whatever you say in cyberspace.

Yehudit Batya Shrager The essence of tsniut is being independent of the good opinion of other people. (For the DL on tsniut read “Outside/Inside” by Gila Manolson.) In other words, know what to share and what to keep to yourself and do not define yourself based on how many “friends/followers” you have or how many people “like,” your status updates.

Phil Liff-Grieff malbin panav- it is important to remember that one’s words have serious ripples (sort of a riff on the lashon ha-ra thread….)

Arnie Samlan What about the whole concept of a minyan? That there is a tipping point at which enough human-social energy gathers.

Lisa Narodick Colton Wow, this is great. I’ll add tzimtzum — needing to contract oneself to make room for others to create. good for community guidelines — don’t be a conversation hog.

Larry Brown Excellent topic, Miriam! I believe Pirkei Avot says to find a Rabbi/Teacher and sit at his feet and study. The whole concept of the Oral Torah is that one cannot truly understand Torah simply by reading text, one must learn from others. That is why our ancestors were so reluctant to write it down. Interactive social media can be seen as another way of learning from others.

Paul Wieder Pirsumei Nisah— from Chanukah. Want everyone to know about a miracle? Put it in the window!
“Who is wise? The one who learns from all”- Pirkei Avot
Arba Kanfot— the idea that, while Jews are spread to the “four corners” of the world, we are united.
“A father who does not teach his son a trade teaches him to steal.”— We are required to teach as well as learn, to pass on our knowledge.

Carrie Bornstein In case you haven’t seen it, this thread keeps reminding me of this: http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?q=node%2F90054

Stanley Mieses Kol Yisroel and Derech Eretz. There is no them….only us.

Geoffrey Mitelman I’d add that in our ever-more-interconnected world, g’milut chasadim and tikkun olam are becoming more and more synonymous.

The Value of a Social Media Policy

Consider the following tale: Gloria works for a large and respected nonprofit organization. She tweets occasionally for the organization, but also has a personal account. One day, in an innocent slip of the fingers, she tweets about drinking at a party from her work account instead of her personal one. Not registering the error, she finishes her day as usual. June’s colleague suddenly starts fielding messages from the organization’s constituents about the, ahem, unexpected tweet. How should he react? Or perhaps this little story will capture your fancy: Tom recently Googled his organization and found that there were several blogs discussing a project his team was implementing. He was pleasantly surprised to find such an enthusiastic group advocating on behalf of his organization, but the blog was hosting by an organization with explicit political leanings, and Tom’s organization is specifically non-partisan. Should Tom take advantage of building the organization’s network and strengthening relationships with individuals who could contribute a lot to their work, or should he steer clear of anything that could be interpreted as political? How should Tom respond? Both June’s colleague and Tom could really use somewhere to turn for guidance. The way many organizations are facing these and other questions is by developing a social media policy (we recently blogged about the excellent policy developed by the Avi Chai Foundation here: “Avi Chai Foundation Gets Social”). A social media policy is essentially a document that helps define how different groups associated with an organization should conduct themselves online. It is a valuable and powerful tool. A social media policy helps outline both expectations and possibilities for social media interactions. It acts as a go-to document for any questions or conflicts that may arise. A social media policy can provide a sense of security, knowing your team is approaching social media from the same set of assumptions. It can also, somewhat counter-intuitively, foster a sense of freedom in the use of social media – you can jump into the game with more confidence when you know the rules. Perhaps even more valuable than the document itself is the process of developing a social media policy. It encourages a big conversation, an honest discussion of the values and character of your organization and how they should be reflected online. As Beth Kanter explains on her blog, “…if you want the policy to truly work, you need a process, especially if your organization is still grappling with fears and concerns.” The process can present an amazing opportunity for listening, sharing, and reflection among the people who make your good work possible. Darim is here to help you have this conversation and implement your own social media policy. That way, Gloria’s accidental tweet (a true story which you can find out more about here) and Tom’s political blog posts won’t seem so daunting – with the right approach, they can become opportunities for learning and increased connection with the people who care most about what you do. To dig deeper into this topic and start the conversation, Darim is offering a webinar on social media policies (and because it’s our tenth anniversary, you’re welcome to join us for free). Here is all the information: Social Media Staffing and Policies Tuesday, May 17, 1-2pm Register here: http://bit.ly/lZTGph And we want to hear from you! Does your organization have a social media policy? If so, what did you learn, or how did you grow through the process of creating your guidelines or policy?

Avi Chai Foundation Gets Social

Cross posted from Allison Fine’s blog, A Fine Blog In partnership with my friends at Personal Democracy Forum, I have had the great pleasure of working with the Avi Chai Foundation since last May. Our engagement has two sides; working with the foundation staff to help them use social media, and developing efforts to strengthen the ability of their grantees and community, particularly Jewish day schools, to become more adept at using social media to build and strengthen their own networks. The foundation has been very courageous and forward thinking about using social media. They are sunsetting in 9 years and want part of their legacy to be a growing “tribe” of Jews that are connected with one another and Judaism. It’s a fascinating notion. They’re not interested in leaving buildings and legacy organizations but want to leave the capacity of a network of people to continue to grow and thrive. We are beginning with a set of experiments with day schools including a training academy for which we will have the great fortune of working with Darim Online, a video contest and online fundraising match. The foundation has taken concrete steps to enter the social media waters. Staffers have started tweeting. Deena Fuchs, the director of special projects and communications, came up with a great idea yesterday. For the next two weeks, the staff is going to have a contest to see who can gain the largest number of new friends on Twitter. We couldn’t decide on a prize. Any ideas? In addition, we agreed on social media policies to provide guidance for staff and boundaries for management. A very interesting point that someone brought up at the meeting is that these really are communications guidelines, that there shouldn’t be an artificial distinction between policies related to social media versus traditional media. Here are their policies. I think they’ve done a great job of keeping them simple, manageable and direct: The AVI CHAI Foundation Social Media Policy AVI CHAI encourages staff and Trustees to be champions on behalf of the Foundation, LRP, day schools and overnight summer camps. The rapidly growing phenomenon of blogging, social networks and other forms of online electronic publishing are emerging as unprecedented opportunities for outreach, information-sharing and advocacy. AVI CHAI encourages (but does not require) staff and Trustees to use the Internet to blog and talk about our work and our grant making and therefore wants staff and Trustees to understand the responsibilities in discussing AVI CHAI in the public square known as the World Wide Web. Guidelines for AVI CHAI Social Media Users 1. Be Smart. A blog or community post is visible to the entire world. Remember that what you write will be public for a long time – be respectful to the Foundation, colleagues, grantees, and partners, and protect your privacy. 2. Write What You Know. You have a unique perspective on our organization based on your talents, skills and current responsibilities. Share your knowledge, your passions and your personality in your posts by writing about what you know. If you’re interesting and authentic, you’ll attract readers who understand your specialty and interests. Don’t spread gossip, hearsay or assumptions. 3. Identify Yourself. Authenticity and transparency are driving factors of the blogosphere. List your name and when relevant, role at AVI CHAI, when you blog about AVI CHAI-related topics. 4. Include Links. Find out who else is blogging about the same topic and cite them with a link or make a post on their blog. Links are what determine a blog’s popularity rating on blog search engines like Technorati. It’s also a way of connecting to the bigger conversation and reaching out to new audiences. Be sure to also link to avichai.org. 5. Include a Disclaimer. If you blog or post to an online forum in an unofficial capacity, make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of AVI CHAI. If your post has to do with your work or subjects associated with AVI CHAI, use a disclaimer such as this: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t represent AVI CHAI’s positions, strategies or opinions.” This is a good practice but does not exempt you from being held accountable for what you write. 6. Be Respectful. It’s okay to disagree with others but cutting down or insulting readers, employees, bosses or partners and vendors is not. Respect your audience and don’t use obscenities, personal insults, ethnic slurs or other disparaging language to express yourself. 7. Work Matters. Ensure that your blogging does not interfere with your other work commitments. 8. Respect Privacy of Others. Don’t publish or cite personal or confidential details and photographs about AVI CHAI grantees, employees, Trustees, partners or vendors without their permission. 9. Don’t Tell Secrets. The nature of your job may provide you with access to confidential information regarding AVI CHAI, AVI CHAI grantees, partners, or fellow employees. Respect and maintain the confidentiality that has been entrusted to you. Don’t divulge or discuss proprietary information, internal documents, personal details about other people or other confidential material 10. Be Responsible. Blogs, wikis, photo-sharing and other forms of online dialogue (unless posted by authorized AVI CHAI personnel) are individual interactions, not corporate communications. AVI CHAI staff and Trustees are personally responsible for their posts.