I actually joined Twitter as a front end to Facebook. I figured since I’m posting the same basic content, if I did it through Twitter it would be the same effort but I’d have the potential to reach a different audience. I also found the 140 characters was a nice challenge to condense complicated ideas to their most essential points, and do so coherently.
How did you get involved with the Jewish community on Twitter?
I’m listed as a Rabbi and I tweet a lot of Jewish content, so in many respects the Jewish community found me. Also, my followers and friends were essentially people I knew from before I joined Twitter and I gradually “met” more people as I read through the various conversations. Periodically I would interject with a source, explanation, comment, or bad joke.
How has Twitter’s Jewish community changed your life?
Professionally, Twitter is extremely helpful in gauging the attitudes of Jews from across the spectrum. While I rarely need to take a “side,” just knowing how other Jews are thinking enables me to communicate ideas more effectively to a target audience, or to formulate my own responses to any number of concerns. Furthermore, social media allows me to be a more effective pastor in that I have a much greater sense of what is going on in my constituent’s lives. I have no interest in spying but often social media lets me know if someone is struggling which in turn allows me to respond accordingly (if I can).
On a personal note, I’ve been able to reconnect with old friends and make many new ones, some of whom I’ve been fortunate enough to meet in person.
What are the most interesting Jewish conversations taking place in your Twitter feed?
Discussions on Jewish concepts, principles, or methodology lend themselves to better conversations than Jewish Law which frequently can be reduced to “yes/no” answers. But the best conversations I have are with people who are interested, willing, and able to have a serious conversation.
Who are your favorite Jewish tweeters?
5. I don’t have the time to read blogs on a regular basis, though sometimes a link will get passed around which warrants attention. Following Jewish news outlets like @Jerusalem_Post or @VINNews or commentary sites like @jewishideas, or @jewishideasorg are usually good for interesting content.
It’s harder to list favorite “tweeters” since for myself it’s more about engagement with the person rather than just consuming their content. If anyone wants recommendations, just see with whom I interact most.
What’s the most interesting or out-of-the-box way you have used Twitter?
I find Twitter fun for trying out new material. If I’m working on a controversial idea I can crowd-source feedback and see if I’m on the right track and/or what are some points I need to consider.
Plus it’s a wonderful forum for trying out jokes and getting bad puns out of my system. Upon request I started compiling my favorite witticisms and I think I’m closing in on 30 pages worth.
Follow Josh Yuter @JYuter and read his blog, YUTOPIA.