There is No “I” in Web 2.0

by Mordecai Holtz

In an era in with information flying in supersonic speed, it takes quite a bit of creativity to attract a reader. The following tweet came through my feed recently, from someone attending a Jewish educational conference.

In an “I” generation – Itouch, Ipad – the only we this generation knows has two I’s in it-wii [as in Nintendo].

Besides being a great sound bite and a perfect tweet at 92 characters, I found this provocative message to be one of the saddest statements of reality that we, as a Jewish community, face. In truth, this shocking proclamation is a global problem evidenced in a recent NY Times article, but from a Jewish communal perspective, this statement poses a challenge: how is the Jewish world, going to engage a generation of “I’s” to recognize the power of the ‘we’? Will our rich history, culture and traditions, all rooted in the power of assembly, be lost? Are we going to sit back and surrender our future as the next generation remains glued to their computer screens and smartphones? It would be a gloomy day if the ‘we’ that makes the Jewish people so strong is sacrificed under the guise of technology.

Borrowing from the social work tenet which states to “always know where the client is,” the answer may be to engage this generation using their tools as the platform and offer them the opportunity, today, to be part of their collective future. This group of individuals needs to understand the tremendous power they bring to the table. Their knowledge and understanding of web 2.0 is predicated on knowing how to catch the attention of the collective. These ‘I’s’ are keenly aware of the Jewish ‘we,’ and like previous generations, need to sense that they are the ones shaping the future of the organization.

We, as Jewish communal professionals, need to harness this reality and transform it into an asset. So take the time, energy and resources to invest in developing your respective organizational social media campaigns. Social media does not only mean having a Facebook account that is updated every so often. It means that there is a young, dynamic, and creative human behind these accounts engaging in some good old fashioned outreach. Imagine, if even for a moment, how your organization’s Facebook or Twitter experience would be enhanced if the audience they are trying to reach is sitting and crafting the messages to their ‘friends’ or ‘tweeps.’ In today’s tough market having the end user on board, promoting the message, and shaping the organization’s future is the ticket for future success.

In short, to that speaker I say: #igeneration has gr8 power! U R putting them down & disqualifying their understanding. Engage them 2day & behold a brighter Jewish future!

Mordecai Holtz is the Administrative Director of Pathways Israel – a leading short-term Israel experience for Jewish college students and young professionals interested learning about and deepening their connection to Israel, Jews and Judaism. Email mordecai.holtz [at] gmail dot com; follow his new blog organizingourchaos; Facebook: Mordecai holtz Twitter:@mordecaiholtz