from Project InCite:

Reflections on our Jewish Digital Future

Right now, we are living through a fundamental shift in the structure of our society. Digital media and portable connective devices are transforming our world by eliminating the transaction costs that once acted as barriers to offline activism.

… Our digital tools are stretching the limits of human potential, expanding the capacity of the individual and the collective to affect scalable, rapid change in our communities.

… Jewish institutions cannot afford to carry out their missions on the ground without simultaneously engaging with thought leaders and activists in “cyber space”. If we are doing a phenomenal job, our success will be reinforced and extended by the community online. If we are not, well, there is cause to worry.

Online, the authenticity of an organization’s impact and relationships is king. We have entered what I like to think of as the ultimate audit – of individuals, businesses and institutions. We are no longer simply what we say we are. Rather, we are the sum of our searchable reputation; ratings, followers and reviews that tell others the truth about what we have to offer. This is both powerful and frightening.

The critical mass of people trafficking across the web creates a filter beyond anything that a lone editor or institution could guarantee. If we are ineffective or irrelevant, if we are not part of the conversation, or fail to deliver on the claim that we are making – people in our networks will know. They will talk. They will tweet. The internet has empowered people with a voice. And they are speaking up whether institutions give them the microphone or not.

The organizations that we care about cannot continue addressing the internet as another place to post their brochures. It is time to change our metaphors. We need to see social media as a networking event or a Kiddush luncheon, one that we cannot afford to miss, even if we arrive on Jewish time.