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M A T E R I A L / C O M M E N T A R Y

U P D A T E 2 . 5 - M A Y 2 0 1 0

A L A N D . A B B E Y

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1. On the Media: Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles adapts to changing media market:
Niche journalism and an $800,000 donation make its future seem secure – NEW!!
2. Adding More Jewish Voices to the Discussion – NEW!
3. A Tablet for Today: Journalism for the Curious Jew – NEW!
4. How Social Networking Impacts the Jewish Community: Blogging, Facebook and Twitter
have increased the chatter – NEW!
5. Inside The Jewish Internet Defense Force – NEW!
6. Haredim declare war on the Internet – NEW!
7. Jewish institutions must change to attract today’s ‘New Jew’ – NEW!
8. cu @ temple: Social media transforming the way synagogues, members connect
9. Finding a voice in Facebook: Israeli NGOs are realizing the potential power of social
media such as Facebook and Twitter.
10. The (Sheikh Jarrah) revolution won't be televised... it'll be YouTubed
11. Keeping the memory of Auschwitz alive in a digital world
12. Turn the Future Into the Past
13. The Social Sermon: An Innovative Approach to Community Building, Engagement and
Torah Study
14. Rabbi Eric Yoffie: Toronto Biennial Sermon, excerpt regarding the Internet
15. Meet the fastest tweet in the Jewish organizational world: William Daroff – NEW!
16. Young Adults Doing Religion on Their Own? Blame It on Politics
17. A Synagogue's Unorthodox Revival: Rabbi's Aggressive Outreach Reverses a Traditional
Congregation's Decline
18. Additional articles (links only)


1. Social Media Revolution 2 (Refresh)

2. Nonprofit News: How Start-ups Can Pay Their Way - NEW
3. And the most engaging social network is…
4. Determining Your Social Network Needs: When it comes to social networking, is
more always better?
5. 10 Reasons Why Every Nonprofit Must Have a Blog
6. To Blog or Not to Blog
7. The 3 Facebook Settings Every User Should Check Now
8. Facebook may 'lock in' its Internet dominance
9. How to Bring Facebook Fans to Your Nonprofit Blog
10. Using Social Media in Your Nonprofit: Overcoming Objections
11. Is the Right Person Doing Your Nonprofit's Social Media?
12. The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the
13. God joins Twitter, rewrites Bible
14. 'Twitter Bible' Converts Scripture into Mini Messages
15. 10 Newbie Twitter Mistakes Made By Businesses – NEW
16. The 11 Commandments of Corporate Tweeting – NEW


1. The Internet in 2009

2. New Statistics on Internet, Social Media Use – NEW!

L I N K S / R E S O U R C E S

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On the Media: Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles adapts to changing media
market: Niche journalism and an $800,000 donation make its future seem secure

By James Rainey

May 12, 2010

Few newspapers or magazines escaped 2009 without losses and the Jewish Journal of
Greater Los Angeles suffered like many others.

Operators of the weekly news outlet trimmed staff. They cut salaries 20%. Still, they worried
whether the Journal — chronicler of a variety of topics including Torah portions, sexual
mores, Mideast politics and entertainment industry chatter — would make it to its 25th
anniversary next year.

But by banking hard on two of the most robust growth trends in 21st century media — niche
journalism and philanthropy — the Jewish Journal appears to have extended its life
expectancy and expanded its coverage of Jewish life in Southern California.

If the experience holds lessons for other ethnic and religious-oriented publishers, it's that you
can do good by being good. But it's just as important to have a business plan, friends in the
right places and a target audience with a lot of disposable income.

The Journal, its related website and a nascent monthly magazine recently nailed down a
critical $800,000 donation that should rejuvenate the organization and guarantee its viability
for the foreseeable future.

The money came from four philanthropists — Westfield mall Chief Executive Peter Lowy,
Internet executive and venture capitalist Art Bilger, cooking oil maker and long-time Journal
board member Irwin Field and a fourth, anonymous, donor.

On a $4-million annual operating budget, the contributions will "give it a very stable foundation
and allow us to grow all these parts of the operation," said Lowy, who said he expects
advertising to cover more than 90% of the expenses in future years with ongoing fundraising
to cover the rest.

"The future for print media isn't the rosiest, but this is a way we can add philanthropy to a
business enterprise," Lowy said. "This is an experiment in what I would call a community
media group. The Journal is very important to the Jewish community. But we think this might
work for any communal group."

The magazine-style Jewish Journal, with its glossy cover and newsprint innards, has been
evolving in the decade since Rob Eshman became editor in chief and, in particular, since it
broke away from the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles in 2005.

Eshman has overseen a bolder editorial course, with more lifestyle stories (Sample blog item:
"Why is Hollywood hot for circumcision?") and competing political voices than when the
Journal relied on the Jewish Federation, with its paying members as subscribers.

"The Federation is an overpowering old institution. It's very traditional and very reluctant to
take a stand," said Bill Boyarsky, a Journal columnist and previously city editor of the Los
Angeles Times. "Rob brought a fresh and independent voice."

Among the array of columnists Eshman has brought to print: conservative radio host Dennis
Prager, who recently hit the left for its readiness to invoke images of the Holocaust, and
liberal academic David Myers, a UCLA history professor who wrote last year that Jewish

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citizens were being favored over Arabs in Jerusalem's ceaseless land disputes.

The Journal also has first-rate commentators in other fields, with Martin Kaplan writing about
media, Raphael Sonenshein about politics and Jonathan Kirsch about books.

Generally thorough and professional in tone, the Journal covers stories unlikely to pop up in
other L.A. media — such as alleged financial fraud committed by a group of Iranian Jewish
investment managers and the struggles of a couple who lost two grown children to violent
deaths. (The latter story inspired donations from Journal readers, including one who ponied
up two years of mortgage payments for the couple.)

But the Journal also, on occasion, does little to rock its audience from its comfort zone.

In a story last month on tensions between Muslim and Jewish students at UC Irvine, for
example, the Muslim point of view was so muted as to be nearly inaudible. The first quote
from anyone associated with Islam came about midway through the story.

Although the story explained that representatives of the Muslim Student Union had declined
to comment, the tone suggested there wasn't much determination for finding and representing
that point of view.

"They are informing folks out there what is going on in the community and extolling positive
developments in the community on the one hand," said Myers, who specializes in Jewish
history at UCLA, "and then on the other hand, aspiring to a level of journalistic excellence and
truth telling. That is the core tension for a Jewish newspaper."

Although it unyoked itself from the Federation and its shrinking membership, the Journal did
not immediately thrive. Its circulation had declined from 50,000 to roughly 30,000 and it relied
almost solely on advertising from Jewish organizations.

Rather than pull back, however, Eshman and company have pushed the paper's circulation
back to 50,000, with hopes of going higher, while expanding Internet offerings and launching
a monthly magazine, Tribe, that will soon be out with its sixth issue.

Most readers pick up the Jewish Journal, which is free, at businesses on the Westside and in
the San Fernando Valley, while the magazine, with initial circulation of 15,000, reaches up the
coast to Ventura and Santa Barbara.

The high-end readership for both publications, with an average household income said to
reach above $260,000, has allowed Tribe Media Corp. to reach beyond its demographic and
appeal to a new group of advertisers.

Ads for Jewish mortuaries, summer camps, charities and schools still dot its pages. But with
the hiring a couple of years ago of a new top ad executive, the company has broadened its
horizons significantly. Steven Karash, previously of the New York Times, has helped lure
buys from Porsche dealers, the Four Seasons hotel, Saint John's Health Center, the House of
Blues and, recently, the city of Rancho Mirage, whose resorts are a frequent destination of
Jewish visitors. Even Macy's department stores are looking at hopping on board.

"People now are looking at us as a media group," Karash said, "and not just for an ethnic buy
but for a niche buy with an affluent audience."

While Jewish news outlets in Las Vegas and other communities had been folding, the Jewish
Journal made enough improvements, despite the brutal economic downturn, that it showed
promise. Its expanded Web offerings, including a social networking/dating site,
The online audience has grown to 350,000 unique visitors a month.

Like many other news outlets, the Journal's managers want to find ways to make money off
those online users.

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If they can solve that one, they'll truly have found a model for the new niche journalism.

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April 23, 2010
Adding More Jewish Voices to the Discussion


Just starting a journal called The Jewish Review of Books invites a joke: “Wait, don’t we
already have a Jewish review of books — or several?”

Given the substantial representation of Jews in intellectual life, it’s not surprising that major
book-review sections feature plenty of recognizably Jewish names. Many of today’s best
young critics, like Elaine Blair, Joshua Cohen and Ruth Franklin, are Jewish. And The New
York Times Book Review, The New Republic and other leading journals regularly cover books
about Jewish history, culture and politics.

Why, then, did anyone think that a Jewish book review was necessary? A similar question
might be asked about Books & Culture, “a Christian review,” according to its masthead. Both
are elegantly written and appear on a leisurely schedule — The Jewish Review, first
published this spring, will be a quarterly, while Books & Culture has been a bimonthly since

But who needs them? If I can read the critic Adam Kirsch on, do I need The Jewish
Review of Books? And if I can read Alan Wolfe in Washington Monthly, do I need Books &
Culture? Put another way: what makes a Jewish book review “Jewish,” and what makes a
Christian book review “Christian”? Is this just niche marketing, or are they in some way
essentially, religiously, different?

In an interview this week, the editor of The Jewish Review of Books, Abraham Socher, did not
identify anything intrinsically Jewish about the prose he hopes to publish. Rather, he said that
he wanted to do something like The New York Review of Books, but more Jewish, and
intentionally so.

“To quote, unfortunately, Mao, ‘Let a hundred flowers bloom,’ ” Mr. Socher said. “There’s a
certain kind of essay that not only reports on some intellectual development but actually
advances the field. So, to give a non-Jewish example, John R. Searle’s pieceson the
philosophy of mind in The New York Review” — these pieces are scholarly but accessible to
the nonexpert. One can find them in The New Republic, too, Mr. Socher said, and
“occasionally The New Yorker,” but his magazine’s mission is different: “the exploration and
furthering of Jewish thought and Jewish culture, broadly and sort of small-c catholically

Mr. Socher also hopes to provide a politically neutral zone for discussion. The Jewish monthly
Commentary publishes good long reviews, Mr. Socher said, but he implied that it exists
mainly to push its conservative political agenda. “I have great respect for Commentary, and
have contributed to it,” he said, but he did not believe that even Commentary considers the
exploration of Jewish thought and culture “as its primary editorial purpose.”

He might have added that The New Republic is so identified with Zionism, and The New York
Review with skepticism about Israel, that many minds may have closed to those publications.
The Jewish Review of Books’ editorial board is free of notable anti-Zionists, but it includes
liberals as well as far-right types like the Harvard professor Ruth R. Wisse. And who can
resist a back page featuring a cartoon by Harvey Pekar, of “American Splendor” fame?

The nod to pop culture would please John Wilson, a polymath who has read as much Philip
K. Dick as he has John Calvin, and who has edited Books & Culture from the start. He thinks
of his review “as a conversation,” he said this week, in which “mostly Christians — though not
all, we have some wonderful contrarians, and atheists — have nothing in common except
they are not scandalized to appear in the same magazine where people talk about Jesus.”

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Despite its small cadre of non-Christian contributors (which includes this writer), Books &
Culture does indeed have a very Christian feel. It has a passionate following among
evangelical intellectuals, and it is published by the same nonprofit organization as Christianity
Today, a glossy magazine for evangelicals. A recent Books & Culture editorial, about the Haiti
earthquake, is titled “Faith Makes Us Live.”

The books reviewed have included recent works by Michael Chabon and Chinua Achebe, but
they are quite often from Christian presses rarely covered by more mainstream reviews,
presses like Eerdmans and Brazos.

And there are many contributors whose openness about faith, or their jobs at evangelical
colleges, have probably cost them assignments in secular reviews. Mr. Wilson mentioned
Mark A. Noll, a history professor at Notre Dame and an eminent evangelical historian, who
writes reviews for Books & Culture that would fit well in the great secular periodicals.

Books & Culture serves, in part, as a salutary source of affirmative action for Christian
intellectuals. The March/April issue has reviews by five professors from Wheaton College, the
Christian school in Illinois — a bit extreme, perhaps, but an understandable corrective, given
many New York editors’ discomfort with openly religious thinkers.

Books & Culture, which has 14,000 subscribers, and The Jewish Review of Books are spaces
in which very smart people with academic credentials can show their religious sides. They are
like what the best sports magazines would be if all the writers favored your team. Jews can
write about whether a new prayer book is user-friendly; Christians can carry on about the
popular Anglican bishop N. T. Wright. In this regard, both magazines keep good company
with First Things, the conservative monthly about religion and public life; Tablet, the Jewish
online magazine; and The Forward, the Jewish newspaper.

None aims to keep you apprised of the latest best-seller, but with their willingness to cover
inside baseball, and their open chauvinism, all serve as unique pleasures for the passionate

Alan Abbey Commentary: The more the merrier. This is great.

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A Tablet for Today: Journalism for the Curious Jew

Matt Russo/Presentense

Mon May 3, 2010

“Covering Jewish life has felt expansive, kaleidoscopic, and unendingly interesting. I don’t
need to publish stories that other places can publish. I want to publish stories that really feel
like us,” says Alana Newhouse, the 33-year-old editor in chief of Tablet, an online magazine
launched by Nextbook in June 2009. Nextbook hired Newhouse to revamp its online literary
journal in September 2008. She, in turn, infused Nextbook with additional journalistic
elements, which ultimately led to the creation of Tablet’s website.

Tablet publishes articles about Jewish culture, history, politics, and religion. That coverage is
supplemented by the Scroll, a blog about the most buzz-worthy news in Jewish life, and
summaries of books published by Nextbook. Scattered throughout are podcasts, video clips,
and multimedia that play a significant role in Tablet’s journalistic voice.

What makes Tablet different from other magazines is that it’s not retrofitted to a printed

It takes advantage of a diverse array of digital tools to tell its stories. Marjorie Ingall, a
columnist who writes about parenting and family issues, utilizes audio slide shows, personal
essays, book reviews, and multimedia design for her pieces. Newhouse says Tablet enables
readers to follow a columnist through many dimensions, making the stories even more
comprehensive. “It’s not so much we’re creating something that’s entirely new in any one tiny
specific way,” Newhouse says regarding journalism's past and present, and Tablet's use of
multiple media. “But we feel that the sum is greater than all of its parts.”

Those parts are impressive, including the work of writers from the New York Times, Wall
Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times. Tablet has clearly benefited from launching in the
middle of the worst recession and media slump in recent history. “I’ve been able to attract
talent that I may not have been able to attract in another era,” Newhouse says about her New
York-based co-workers. “I think I have a staff that any editor in this city or any other would
give their right arm to have.”

Newhouse brought some her staff from the Forward, where she worked for five years. The
legacy of the Forward, published since 1897, has an undeniable impression on Newhouse’s
vision for Tablet. “I have a nostalgia for a time when newspapers competed for readers,”
Newhouse says. “That enabled a kind of pioneering, exciting, adventurous, risk-taking
journalism about Jewish life that I’d love to see re-emerge.” She concedes that it has begun
to, but in smaller doses than she would like to see. Gabriel Sanders, Tablet’s deputy editor,
says “it is actually freeing being involved with something from day one.” As a writer at the the
Forward, Sanders was sometimes “a custodian of legacy that wasn’t necessarily your own.
You became someone who was entrusted to defend some of the Yiddishism that it stood for.
Here we have a brand that has no baggage.”

Tablet consistently straddles its desire to create a forward-thinking, technology-laden

publication that also celebrates Jewish life, past and present, with serious journalism. Its
name represents this tension, evoking not only the Ten Commandments and ancient
civilizations but also the unofficial name for Apple’s iPad. Which seems fitting, since
Newhouse says Tablet strives to be “new, ambitious, and different, but also connected to the
past, authoritative and informed.”

Newhouse says that Tablet initially did not have a target audience. But today she says the
magazine attracts “curious” Jews. “The point is that Tablet is for a particular kind of reader
who has an interest in engaging with Jewish identity and culture, perhaps the way they are
not currently living it. So if they are currently living with it by practicing religious ritual, they

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might want to engage with art if they haven’t before. If they are constantly engaged with
Jewish culture, they might want to read an article about religion and religious practice.”

Newhouse says that Tablet must keep pace with a Jewish community that is constantly
changing. “I wanted to create an enduring publication and one that was malleable, but we
should only survive if we can answer the needs and interests of readers.”

Matt Russo is a recent graduate of Columbia University and The Jewish Theological
Seminary. A New York City resident, he spends his free time working on Teach For America’s
recruitment team, anticipating how Lost is going to end, and figuring out his next musical

Alan Abbey Commentary: The question he didn’t ask about Tablet is the question
Woodstein ("All The President's Men," etc…) were told to ask: "Follow the money."
Where is Tablet's money coming from? What is that organization's agenda? How long
can it last? Is Tablet performing a new form of journalism (i.e., foundation-backed)? Is
this a viable model for Jewish media (let alone mainstream media)?

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How Social Networking Impacts the Jewish Community: Blogging, Facebook and
Twitter have increased the chatter
August 28, 2009

David Pessah
Special to the Jewish Times

Want to talk to a nice Jewish girl who shares your love for Sukkot and skydiving? Looking for
someone to point you toward a place for an informal Shabbat dinner? Miles from a synagogue
and want to chat with a rabbi in real-time? Need help interpreting that mesmerizing Torah
passage — right now?
Here’s a suggestion: walk over to your computer, log on to , and type “Jewish” in
the search field. Chances are you’ll find a conversation going on about everything you’re
looking for — and more.
Do the same with Facebook, or YouTube, or any of the many other forms of social media that
pop up seemingly every other day. Access — often instant access — to a wide range of
Jewish life has never been more abundant.
What, you thought Twitter is all about Ashton giving daily accounts of eating Krispy Kremes
for breakfast? That Facebook is only about posting those rowdy college party pics? Sure,
there’s plenty of self-indulgence going on, but don’t let the buzz fool you. Social media like
microblogging site Twitter is changing the world — in a hurry — and that can only be good
news for Jews.
Because social media is making it easier to be Jewish. For a people who have fretted over a
loss of identity for generation after generation — especially in America — innovations like
Twitter and Facebook are nothing less than, dare we say, a godsend.
“Much of the extra-organizational innovation you see in the Jewish world has been made
possible by the Internet,” says David Abitbol, founder of the Web’s most popular Jewish blog,, where posts by Jewish bloggers quickly become vibrant conversations
connecting Jews all around the world. “The Internet has made it easier for Jews to find each
other. Jewlicious itself would not have existed before the Internet.”
Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg, spiritual leader of Beth Tfiloh Congregation, couldn’t agree more.
“There is no question,” Rabbi Wohlberg says, “that with new technology there’s never been
an easier time in history to be Jewish.”
How is social media making it easier to be Jewish?
First and foremost, social media has turned the Web from an information storage locker into a
two-way conversation; and it’s a conversation that knows no physical boundaries. Mr. Abitbol
himself is based in Jerusalem, while some of his Jewlicious colleagues blog from Los
Angeles, New York and Canada. You no longer have to live in a Jewish neighborhood to find
a life in an active, thriving Jewish community. There are thousands on the Web, with more
being added every day.
It’s also a fast and easy way for Jewish organizations to get the word out, whether it’s Beth
Tfiloh tweeting about its Shavuot All-Night Challenge, political operatives like Aaron Keyak of
the National Jewish Democratic Council lobbying government leaders, or a host of fund-
raisers who have discovered they can raise money more effectively — with less overhead —
by using the tools of social media.
“As Thomas Friedman would say, social media has flattened the world,” says David
Weinberg, a social media consultant in the Washington suburb of Silver Spring. “That extends
to Judaism. Before, if you wanted to learn more about Judaism, you could talk to the people
around you, go to the library and take out books or go to the organizations near you. Now,
you can talk to people, libraries and organizations all over the world. You can connect one-on-
one and have discussions about everything from the Torah to kosher food in real-time.
“It’s a game-changer.”
The idea of social networks and social media has been around for decades. Early online
communities popped up in 1985, but didn’t hit critical mass until Friendster and MySpace
gained traction post-Y2K. These two social sites were the first to enable users to have
conversations with each other. They also provided a quick and easy way to pass large
amounts of information — stories, music, videos — around the Internet.

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Their idea spread rapidly, helped by ever-improving technology. A recent study by Nielsen
showed that in February of 2009 social networking sites eclipsed e-mail in global reach. Yes,
e-mail might soon be outdated. There’s been a 1,908 percent increase in the use of video
sites like YouTube, which allows users to post, view and comment on short videos, in the past
six years.
The micoblogging service Twitter, where users send “tweets” of 140 characters, is now a daily
mention on late night TV and a must for every print, Internet and television reporter hoping to
stay current and in touch with their audience. It’s the freshest content on the Internet, with
“tweeple” posting by the minute.
But despite using just 140 characters, Twitter also gives you access to volumes of material.
Just put the link to that New York Times or Jerusalem Post story in the message field with a
headline — the more clever the better. That’s what Rabbi Moshe Goldberger does at
@GemsofTorah, where he tweets daily and answers questions about the Torah. Beth Tfiloh
tweets links to Rabbi Wohlberg’s popular sermons. Israeli comedian Benji Lovitt embeds links
to videos, including the one where he’s trying to get a date on Israel’s Valentine’s Day.
Facebook emerged in 2004 and now has more than 250 million active users worldwide,
including a wide range of Jewish groups. Don’t know where to start? Try one of 1,575 Jewish
and Israel Facebook Group and Fan Pages listed at .
Or stay at home and check out the Facebook page for IMPACT
(, the Associated: Jewish Community
Federation of Baltimore’s volunteer and leadership program for Jewish adults (ages 22-45).
You’ll find a message board, where a new medical student from Chicago posts about his
difficulties in connecting with Jews in Baltimore. IMPACT’s group page lists upcoming events
(Another IMPACT Happy Hour @ Shucker’s of Fells Point), and its discussion board has
posts for the “$400,000 in Special Grants for Jewish Education” and the Big Brother program.
Want to see the group you’re joining? Check out the 300-plus photos of the 308 young Jews,
all tagged with names, posted from IMPACT events like “IMPACT Casino Night” and
“IMPACT Summer Happy Hours.” It’s one of the ways the virtual experience leads to one in
the real world.
“IMPACT is a great way for young Jews in business to network with each other,” says Jason
Schuster, a member of the Facebook group and co-founder/president of Baltimore-based
Budget & Lifestyle Web site “Their events are a fun way to get offline
and interact with others in the Jewish community.”
Rabbi Wohlberg has long known that his sermons are popular. It’s one of the reasons people
join Beth Tfiloh. So he wasn’t surprised when director of communication Joan Feldman
suggested they post the sermons on the Beth Tfiloh Web site. But he was surprised by the
“I was totally blown away,” he says. “Now I write a sermon and I get responses to them from
all over the world. Of course, not all of them are good responses, but that’s part of the
bargain. To be able to reach so many people is amazing.”
Beth Tfiloh was an early adapter to technology, putting up a Web site for the temple and its
school in the mid-’90s. Ms. Feldman added a Facebook page last summer and the staff
started twittering this past fall. “Like everyone else, we’re still learning what Twitter can really
do,” Ms. Feldman says.
One thing Twitter will soon do is make it easier to access Rabbi Wohlberg’s reading habits. A
voracious reader, Rabbi Wohlberg rises early each day and scours the Web for newspapers,
journals, magazines — home and abroad — searching for articles that interest him and are
relevant to his congregation. This fall, Rabbi Wohlberg will be tweeting out his reading list.
“It’s ‘What the Rabbi is Reading,’” says Ms. Feldman. “We think people will enjoy it.”
What could be easier than that?
As you’d expect, it is the younger generation leading the way, with much of the new ideas
coming from New York City, Washington, D.C, Los Angeles and Israel, long a hotbed for new
technology. In the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s recent rankings of the “50 Most Influential
Jewish Individuals on Twitter,” 13 are from Israel (Abitbol @jewlicious is ranked second) and
another 13 are from New York.

Some of the more interesting include:

Yitz Jordan (aka Y-Love), the black Orthodox Jewish rapper from Brooklyn who has 1,841
followers at @ylove ( Ranked No. 4, his raps on Jewish life are all over

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Dani Klein (14th) has 1,612 Twitter followers at @YeahThatsKosher
( and bills himself as a kosher travel expert and “social media
marketing maven.” (Be careful, Orioles fans. Mr. Klein will sprinkle Yankees game updates
along with recommendations for the best kosher restaurants the world over.)

William Daroff, the United Jewish Communities’ vice president for public policy, is No. 5 on
the JTA list and one of the most active Twitter users on the Internet. Want to ask a world
leader a question? Tweet @Daroff, and he will pose the question and tweet back the answer.
The JTA also ranked the most influential Jewish organizations on Twitter. First is the
Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, which has 5,697 followers @HolocaustMuseum.
On Aug. 1, this tweet topped its page: “This day in 1936, Berlin Olympics opens & makes
history for Nazi propaganda, boycott debate, & Jesse Owens’ victories.” Included is a link to
its online exhibition of those Olympics.
Second on the list is the Israel Consulate, which has the largest Twitter footprint with more
than 7,000 followers. Its twitter page — — has become a live feed
from inside the consulate in New York City. It’s a place for users to ask questions and offer
their ideas and opinions. “Instead of just listening to government, you are getting information
one-on-one,” says Mr. Weinberg. “It changes the whole relationship and dynamic.”
For many, social media is the means to an end, with the online experience translating to
opportunities to meet, talk and organize in the real world. That’s the goal of Moishe House,
which credits its use of social media for its success in seeding mini-Jewish community centers
around the world.
“By the end of the summer, we’ll have 28 houses in nine countries,” says co-founder and
executive director David Cygielman, who three years ago started offering rent subsidies to
young Jewish roommates to use their house as neighborhood centers for Jewish programs,
from Shabbat dinners to Purim parties. Part of the agreement was for the roommates to post
recaps and pictures of their events on the Moishe House blog site, as well as to start one of
their own.
“We were trying to enhance Jewish life for people in their 20s,” Mr. Cygielman says. “The idea
of social media is for it to be organic. For most of our residents, social media is already a part
of their lives. Now they incorporate it into the Jewish part of their lives as well.”
There’s a Moishe House in major cities like Boston, and Chicago, small towns like Silver
Spring, Md., and Great Neck, N.Y., and foreign capitals like Beijing and Buenos Aires. Almost
all have Facebook pages, most of them twitter, all of them stay connected with each other
and their communities.
That’s how young Jews living in New Orleans got the scoop on Scott Perlo, rabbi-in-residence
for the Professional Leadership Project. Mr. Perlo’s non-profit organization finds and mentors
20- and 30-somethings to lead the Jewish community in the future. He posted a Facebook
Event Page for a learning at Moishe House’s New Orleans Chapter, booked the gig, and by
the time he arrived at MoisheNola house, resident Gill Benedek had loaded the page with a
bio and articles about Mr. Perlo and PLP.
“Setting up Facebook event pages,” says Mr. Perlo, who travels the country giving these
talks, “has literally revolutionized my life.”
Fund-raisers were early adapters of social media and now have a huge presence on
Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. A recent study by the University of
Massachusetts of the 200 largest charitable organizations in the United States showed non-
profits far ahead of academic institutions and corporations in familiarity and uses of social
media. The study said 89 percent of charitable organizations used some form of social media,
with 45 percent saying it was vital to fund-raising.
“It’s the one place you can truly see results and it costs less,” says Mr. Weinberg, who points
to sites like, which holds online auctions for charity without the expense of
renting out a building. “Instead of mailing out newsletters asking for money, you can do it in
an e-mail. You save all that postage, you can track people, click through, you can put a
donate button to make it easier to donate, you can send out an e-card.
“There are a lot of interesting and innovative tools for fund-raising.”
Says MoisheNola’s Mr. Benedek, who receives most of the money for the house programs
through charitable donations, “You can show donors your Facebook page, your blog, and
they can easily see how strong your message and following is,” he says. “And that helps a
lot.” Putting a link to the donor’s Web site on your page doesn’t hurt, either.

h a r t m a n o r g i l
All of which has become important in the post-Madoff world, where foundations have less
money and the importance of the small donor has never been greater. “The entire Jewish
communal structure has been based on relatively large gifts from wealthy donors,” says Mr.
Abitbol. “They are going to have to adopt a model whereby micro gifts from a broader
constituent base become more important.”
Just how important social media has become was driven home this past June when
thousands of Iranians took to the streets to protest the rigged presidential election. Not
unexpectedly, the leaders of Iran tried to end the protests by shutting down lines of
communication. One line they could not shut down was Twitter, which Iranians were using
over mobile phones to organize inside Iran and to get the word out to the rest of the world.
As fate would have it, Twitter had scheduled to shut down its system for routine maintenance
as the protests were rising. That promoted an e-mail from 27-year-old State Department
official Jared Cohen to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey requesting that he delay the
maintenance and keep Iranians twittering.
“This was a call to say, ‘It appears Twitter is playing an important role at a crucial time in
Iran,’” P.J. Crowley, assistant secretary of state for public affairs, told The New York Times.
“Could you keep it going?”
Social media helping to change the state of affairs in Iran?
Now, that’s something that would make it easier to be a Jew.

David Pessah is a freelance writer based in New York and a past contributor to the JEWISH

h a r t m a n o r g i l
Jewish institutions must change to attract today’s ‘New Jew’

April 21, 2010

I’ve always been a community oriented person, and the community I primarily identify with
has always been the Jewish community. It is no wonder that I decided to build my life in the
ultimate Jewish community: Israel.

However, the Jewish community of which I am a part is no longer limited by physical location.
With the advent of social media, the Internet bridges geographic boundaries and brings
people together based on interests and other commonalities. This changes our relationships,
communities and Judaism.

This was the topic I was asked to speak about when invited to be on the panel, “Where are
the Modern Orthodox Institutions in the Web 2.0 World?” at a conference on the future of
Modern Orthodox

Judaism organized jointly by Ne’emanei Torah Va’Avodah and The Jewish Institute for Ideas
and Ideals. The conference brought together a spectrum of Orthodox organizations and
personalities (see for details).

When I spoke to the organizers, the first thing I told them was that I was not Modern
Orthodox. The response was welcoming as I was told that they are seeking to be a bridge
and welcomed my insights.

I spoke on a panel with two colleagues—David Abitbol, the founder of Jewlicious, an

irreverent young, hip Web site which bills itself as “THE Jewish blog” and sponsors Jewish
festivals, as well as with Dena Lerner Greenspan, founder of TagTeam marketing and Jewish
food blogger. I met both David and Deena originally online through Twitter conversations,
then at real-world social media events and, as is common in my profession working with
Internet marketing, our paths continue to crisscross both on- and off-line reinforcing our
relationships. What most interested me was not the consensus that the panel spoke about,
but some of the input from the audience.

David, Deena and I all feel the lack of Jewish institutions in the Web 2.0 world. They are
rarely part of the conversation that is taking place online. Some institutions that have made
outreach a priority, such as Chabad and Aish HaTorah, are much more present. However,
Web 2.0 is all about creating user-generated content. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr,
Myspace and the many blogging sites are platforms that depend on participants to create
content. Without this, they are empty vessels. In these environments, the hierarchy and power
structure of our community is changing so that people who never had voices in the
establishment are becoming community leaders and thinkers simply because they now have
a voice and an audience.

David joked, saying “who am I?” but as the audience retorted, he is the future. A young man
who started something in a space where no one else did. (For more information about
Jewlicious go to ) Other voices in this conversation include women who are raising issues and
perspectives previously unheard and others asking tough questions with informed opinions.
One such blog I particularly enjoy was described as “posting hyperlinks to stuff that many
folks don’t want to talk about… trying to show that there are other facets to Orthodox
Judaism. That we don’t all think one way and vote one way.” Like Jewlicious, Dov Bear is a
blog written by a team of authors, not one person.

In this new media, many institutions do not know how to act or to lead. When one member of
the audience asked our panel for advice, some pointed to David saying they should hand it
over to the younger generation, others pointed to Deena and myself as consultants to help
institutions make the transition into the next generation.

h a r t m a n o r g i l
Since its inception, Judaism has constantly been changing. The trend for several decades
indicates that Jewish institutions are becoming less relevant to Jews, and in the last decade
the conversation is moving to where people are talking—and living— online. As one Jewish
Web Site,, claims, there is a “New Jew.”

“Disenfranchised Jews alienated—and bored to death—by the Jewish mainstream…. We are

traditional and radically opposed to our traditions. We are queer hasidim and tzenuah
feminists, Orthodox maskilim and secular hareidim, anti-Zionist Zionists and diaspora
enthusiasts longing for geulah, talmud chochams who don’t believe in God and atheists who
want to throw rocks at cars on Shabbos. We embrace the contradictions. And we relish in our
freedom to be true to who we are without having to fill whatever mold you may wish to cast for
us without ever really getting to know us.”

These are the increasing voices being heard online and it is no wonder that Jewish
mainstream institutions do not know how to relate to them. They think in a different way and
are more inclusive. Let Jewish communal and religious leaders learn from this new media and
begin relinquishing control. While they should selflessly contribute value to the community,
they should also be engaging in inclusive transparent communal conversations. These are
the secrets of success in the world of Web 2.0—be it for the future of Judaism, for business or
for the greater good. .

Alan Abbey Commentary: One important takeaway from Charlie's column: " Let Jewish
communal and religious leaders learn from this new media and begin relinquishing control."
The question is: Can they?

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cu @ temple: Social media transforming the way synagogues, members connect

Congregation Ner Shalom in Cotati puts its prayers and blessings on YouTube so members
can learn the melodies before a High Holy Day or Shabbat service.

By using Google documents, Congregation Beth Israel in Berkeley has made it simple for
members to sign up online at their convenience to read Torah, teach a Shabbat class or host
other members at their home for Shabbat.

Congregation Adath Israel in San Francisco updates its members about the status of its eruv
— an enclosure that enables Jews to carry items on Shabbat — in a most contemporary way:
via Twitter.

Within the past year, Bay Area synagogues, religious schools and other Jewish groups have
been signing on to Facebook, blogs, Twitter and other social media, eager to learn how new
technology can strengthen their organizations and improve their outreach.

Faith-based organizations have been “the last to the social media party,” said experts at the
Nonprofit Technology Network, a membership organization of nonprofit tech professionals.
But lately, faith-based organizations have been jumping in with enthusiasm — even the pope
has a Facebook page that boasts nearly 80,000 fans.

“Technology allows us to connect more deeply to each other,” said Rabbi Menachem Creditor
of Berkeley’s Congregation Netivot Shalom, which uses Facebook, Twitter, Google Calendar
and Ning to better connect its members.

Ning is a Palo Alto–based Web site that allows people to join and create their own social
networks — a personal Facebook of sorts.

Sixty-five Netivot Shalom members have signed up for the synagogue’s Ning site, where they
can view other members’ profiles, watch videos posted by the rabbi and read blog posts
about world and community news.

The synagogue also uses Google Calendar to embed a monthly calendar into the site. It lists
minyan times, b’nai mitzvah, fundraisers, funerals, classes, special events and even dates the
rabbi is out of town.

“So many people lose themselves in the virtual world … but we forget that the reason it exists
in the first place is to get us to connect in the real world,” Creditor said. “Technology can be a
very appealing invitation for a real experience.”

That’s been the case for Margee Churchon, a program associate at the S.F.-based Jewish
Community Relations Council. She first participated in a young adult service at Congregation
Emanu-El in San Francisco after hearing about it through a tweet on Twitter. She follows
several Jewish Bay Area organizations on the site to find out about community events and
Shabbat candlelighting times.

Churchon has often “gone to events as a result of what I’ve seen on Twitter,” she said.

For Gabby Volodarsky, program director at Temple Sinai in Oakland, Internet technology has
helped her rally support quickly for someone in need.

For instance, someone posted a note on the temple’s year-old Facebook page saying that
she was “praying for the speedy recovery” of two new members. Volodarsky wrote back
immediately and found out that the couple, who didn’t know many people in the congregation
yet, had been in a car accident.

“Within an hour they got calls from all our clergy and me,” Volodarsky said. “I asked what our
Caring Community could bring them. Because I saw that posting, I was able to reach out and
make them feel cared about. Now they’re among our most active members.”

h a r t m a n o r g i l
Sometimes these new media changes happen behind the scenes. Berkeley’s Congregation
Beth Israel created a wiki page on, a San Mateo–based online workspace for
businesses and nonprofits. The site allows any member of any of the synagogue’s
committees to post notes from meetings and phone conversations.

It’s a “systemic change” from the countless phone calls, e-mails and meetings it once required
to plan a synagogue program, said Beth Israel’s Rabbi Yonatan Cohen.

“We drastically expanded our Shabbat programming in 2007, but after a year, we were all
burnt out,” Cohen said. “The question was: We have something great, now how do we make it

The answer: the Web. The online organizational tools provided by PBWorks are
complemented by the synagogue’s use of Google Docs and Google Calendar, which help the
entire community get involved and network with one another.

“The Internet is enabling the congregation to function,” Cohen said.

That sentiment is echoed by Irwin Keller, spiritual leader at Ner Shalom in Cotati. The
YouTube videos he began making last year for the High Holy Days have since expanded to
include daily blessings, Shabbat prayers and niguns [melodies] composed by congregants.

“We created it for our local use, but because of the boundarylessness of the Internet, people
have watched our videos all over world and posted comments in all languages,” Keller said.
“That’s not our mission, but it is lovely to have it out in the world where people can use it.”

Yet the changes can be intimidating to leaders who are used to the old organizational models.
Cohen, for instance, was scared by the idea of implementing Internet tools that he didn’t know
how to use. But he quickly became comfortable with them, and once he saw how much they
helped his congregation, he was fully on board.

“Social media changes the way people look at their faith-based institutions,” said Lisa Colton,
founder and president of Darim Online, a Virginia-based nonprofit that helps Jewish
organizations get over their trepidation and understand new media’s potential. “Organizations
don’t have a monopoly on organizing anymore. People can talk to each other directly.”

When synagogues and religious schools first turn to new media, Colton said, they tend to use
them to perform typical tasks more efficiently. They send event invitations by e-mail instead of
snail mail, saving time and the expense of postage stamps, or create a Web site that clergy
and staff use as an online bulletin board. But it’s still one-way, top-down communication,
Colton noted.

By delving deeper, she said, Jewish clergy, educators and others discover that these media
tools demand a different way of talking and listening, encouraging active participation and
grassroots involvement.

In February, Temple Beth Torah in Fremont will launch its first “snapcast,” a new platform
developed by G-Snap, a Web company led by a synagogue member.

The snapcast will allow the synagogue to broadcast a live video feed of its annual Purim
Spiel, one of the synagogue’s most beloved events, while viewers in their family rooms and
offices — or even on a BART train, watching on their cell phones — can chat with one
another, as well as the audience.

“We’ll be creating a virtual community between those who are there and those who are not
there,” said Richard Garcia, a synagogue member and technology consultant. “The snapcast
will allow those who can’t make it a chance to participate. But at the end of the day, like any
other event, it’s best when you’re there live.”

h a r t m a n o r g i l
Social media enables congregants to talk to each other as well as to clergy or staff. Rabbi
Yossi Marcus of North Peninsula Chabad posts philosophical notes about Jewish values,
ritual and holidays on his Facebook wall, and has had people emboldened by a Facebook
connection approach him on Shabbat.

“I feel like I’m coming up with new ideas all the time with how to use it,” Marcus said. “Of
course, Facebook itself is evolving and coming up with new things all the time.”

While the Internet hasn’t changed how Marcus plans events or programs, it has changed the
way he markets events, and also how he teaches.

“It used to be that I could only sermonize to people once a year on Yom Kippur, but now I can
do it daily or even hourly,” he said.

But Marcus isn’t the first Chabad rabbi to embrace new media. He recalls a story about the
Lubavitcher rebbe from the 1940s: Chabad had just come to North America, and one of the
first things the organization did was publish a monthly magazine for children.

The rebbe was the editor in chief. He instructed all of the writers and illustrators that he
wanted the magazine to look as appealing as a Dick Tracy comic strip.

“Here, you have a Chassidic rabbi steeped in mysticism and piety, but when it came to
teaching Judaism, he knew that it had to be as engaging and as enticing as Dick Tracy,”
Marcus said. “Even then the rebbe was a proponent of using the newest media. He saw that
they could be used for a holy purpose. And that’s absolutely still true today.”

h a r t m a n o r g i l
Finding a voice in Facebook: Israeli NGOs are realizing the potential power of social
media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Jerusalem Post

'We will demonstrate against the government decision to deport the children of migrant
workers after all. The demonstration will take place today, Tuesday, at 7:30 p.m. at the corner
of Ben-Zion and King George St. We must show the ministers that their voters are against
deportation of children!" - October 13, 2009 at 7:33 a.m.

Pay close attention to this announcement. Made by the nonprofit organization, Hot Line for
Migrant Workers (HLMW), to protest the government's threatened deportation of foreign
workers' children, this rallying call brought together hundreds of migrants and human rights
supporters in exactly 12 hours.

The call was not made on the radio, nor was it published in the newspapers and it certainly
did not form the basis of hundreds of e-mails or phone calls to supporters, rather it is three
simple sentences placed by HLMW on the wildly popular social media Web site Facebook. It
was a cry for help that reached thousands of people within minutes and it highlights the
resonance that new Internet media have for hundreds of local NGOs.

Of course, this particular demonstration was just one of many that happened over the past six
months to protest Interior Minister Eli Yishai's plans to deport some 1,200 children of migrant
workers, but as the gatherings grew in size toward the end of last year, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu was finally forced to weigh in on the debate. He agreed to allow the
children to stay at least until the end of August to finish up the school year.

"We joined Facebook this past summer when the government launched its campaign to expel
the children of migrant workers," says Shevy Korzen, executive director of HLMW, a
nonpartisan, not for profit organization dedicated to promoting the rights of undocumented
migrant workers and refugees, as well as eliminating human trafficking.

"Events were moving at such a fast pace and even though we have a Web site it could not be
updated quickly enough," she says. "We wanted to organize demonstrations and gather up
our supporters in only a few hours to speak out against the government's policies. Many of
our supporters were already on Facebook, so it made sense to create a page, because then
we did not have to waste time sending out a mass e-mails and worrying that people might not
get the message in time."

She says that the NGO also tried utilizing micro-blogging tool Twitter to keep its supporters
updated but "that did not really catch on."

Instead, the organization focused on building up its following on Facebook and, in less than
six months, HLMW has accumulated some 1,127 "friends," keeping them updated almost
hourly with links to news items from around the world, sparking discussions on the
controversial topics important to the NGO and rallying its followers to take up the causes at
ongoing demonstrations.

"We are definitely seeing a much bigger turnout than in the past," notes Korzen, who says
HLMW staff takes it in turn to update the page throughout the day. "I have also begun to
notice that it is not just the same people showing up at our demonstrations like in the past.
Because of Facebook our messages are also reaching those who had not previously been
involved in our battles.

"This past summer we did not spend a shekel on advertising for our protests. Newspaper
advertising has become so expensive and the truth is that this is just much more effective."

h a r t m a n o r g i l
HLMW is just one of a growing number of nonprofit organizations that are taking advantage of
the new wave of on-line media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and other far-reaching
social networks can reach hundreds, if not thousands, of people with one click, and nonprofits
big and small are realizing they can send their messages out much more quickly and cheaply
then via traditional media outlets.

But while the benefits of touching thousands at a time are clear, experts warn that there is a
downside too. With the centrality of the Internet in our daily lives, they say, the new social
media could give voice to organizations that are dangerous or have questionable ethics.

In addition, say those in the know, if organizations do not mobilize such sites correctly, the
transparency and the need for constant monitoring could cause serious damage to their

"THERE HAS been a huge trend in nonprofits using social media," comments Ruth Avidar,
who is in the process of completing her doctorate in the field at the University of Haifa's
Center for the Study of the Information Society.

"Since I started my dissertation four years ago, there has been a huge change, with
organizations starting to realize how powerful social media can be," she says, adding that
these on-line tools allow nonprofits to better interact with their public.

Avidar's research, which quizzed hundreds of businesses and nonprofit organizations, found
that while Internet use in the country's third sector is still fairly underdeveloped, NGOs that
are plugged in have been highly successful at reaching their target audiences and interacting
with supporters and potential supporters.

This on-line medium, she says, "gives a platform to all organizations, even those without
money, so that they can reach out to people or funders who they might not have been able to
get to in the past."

While that is certainly a bonus of on-line social media, Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center's Prof.
Tal Samuel Azran, an expert in new media, warns that giving a voice to smaller groups that in
the past might have been considered inconsequential or fringe is exactly one of the dangers.

"The Internet is much less predictable than the mainstream media," points out Azran, who
also teaches at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "Organizations or movements that found
it difficult in the past to get their message into the mainstream have no problem reaching
thousands of people on-line."

Azran highlights the recent controversy over B'Tselem's Video Camera Distribution Project,
which handed out cameras to Palestinians to record perceived illegal acts perpetrated by IDF
soldiers. As the short clips were pasted on YouTube and other social media Web sites, the
images stirred the Western media's imagination and suddenly B'Tselem's message was
projected much further than the confines of a small supportive community here. The group's
message had reached a new audience.

"This not even post-modernism," says Azran. "This is an example of ultra-post-modernism; it

is a totally new concept that is far outside the mainstream media that we are used to.

"Some organizations today only have a voice or presence on the Internet. While in the past
the mainstream media might have labeled them as peripheral, today these organizations can
reach everyone. Even a deviant has the chance to speak out on through the Internet."

"Social media allow all groups the chance to start up a real dialogue with people and share
with them their goals," contends Avidar, highlighting that it is all part of free speech and a
trend that should be embraced.

"It is up to the public to decide which groups speak to them and which do not. People are not
stupid and now they can see these groups for themselves."

h a r t m a n o r g i l
IN ADDITION to the debate over free speech that comes with new Internet media, Royi Biller,
CEO of the newly established Nonprofit Tech, a public benefit corporation that aims to assist
NGOs in finding their place among the new technological order, says that Facebook, Twitter
and other social media are not beneficial for all organizations; for some it can actually be

"Take this example," points out Biller. "If a friend of mine joins Facebook but is not active and
never actually responds to me in that forum, it could hurt our relationship. The same is true for
an organization. If an NGO joins [a social media site], then it needs to be prepared to create
an ongoing dialogue with supporters. The Internet is dynamic and fast-moving; if an
organization cannot keep up with that, then a potential supporter or funder could feel very let

Biller breaks the NGO world into two distinct groups - social rights organizations that have
been very successful in harnessing social media and working them for the purpose of support
and spreading ideology, and charities that work in a more service-oriented capacity, such as
soup kitchens or food aid distributors, who have a small staff and cannot commit to updating
their Facebook page or other such social media in a timely fashion.

"If I join the Facebook group of a certain organization and see that its last activity was six
months ago, I would be suspicious about what this organization was up to," he says. "It does
not look good at all.

"I have had calls from some NGOs who are bitterly disappointed with Facebook. They were
told it would produce great results and they open a Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn account
expecting to find funding, but they do not see any quick results. Soon they realize updating it
is a full-time job and they just do not have the resources for that."

According to Biller, one of the solutions to this is via GuideStar Israel (,
an on-line portal not yet active that will eventually list the activities of all nonprofit
organizations here and provide organizations a free forum to periodically update their
activities and post messages. A joint initiative by the Justice Ministry, Yad Hanadiv (the
Rothschild Foundation) and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee-Israel,
GuideStar is the central project of Nonprofit Tech and is based on similar sites in the US and

In the meantime, local social rights organizations are waking up to the power of on-line media
as a way of getting their agendas across.

"We often had a problem getting our messages in the mainstream media," comments Dana
Zimmerman, acting director of communications and publications for Amnesty International-
Israel Section, explaining that Amnesty often focuses on global human rights issues not
necessarily affecting Israel or the region. "Now, with social media, there is suddenly a big
change and it is much simpler and easier for us to reach a wide audience."

One example of this is last week's Flash Mob protest that the NGO organized to highlight the
plight of Eritrean asylum seekers. Based on similar demonstrations worldwide, the organizers
invited protesters to lie on the ground in Tel Aviv's Kikar Dizengoff and remain frozen for
several minutes, drawing the attention of passersby to their cause.

The event was posted on Amnesty's Facebook page for three weeks beforehand and the
application also allowed organizers the freedom to embed a video clip of a similar protest at
Grand Central Station in New York, which enhanced the explanation of exactly what was
being planned. Some 200 people showed up for the protest, which was covered by Web
portal Walla! and is now featured on Amnesty's Facebook page.

"It is still difficult for us to assess if [social media] have had an impact on our work," admits
Zimmerman. "However, they are a very useful tool allowing us to post relevant news items
and information from other organizations who are working in the same field."

h a r t m a n o r g i l
Yael Edelist, spokeswoman for the Israel Women's Network, says the same is true for her
organization. "When we started on Facebook a year ago, the goal was to reach out to
younger women who had not usually been our supporters. Now we use Facebook and Twitter
to post news stories from the mainstream media, provide updates about changes in
legislation for women and to highlight our own events or those being organized by other
groups important to us.

"It was becoming very expensive to advertise in newspapers," she added, saying that the
organization does not feel it has lost out by choosing to advertise its events only on-line. "We
believe in the power of this new media and plan to use them not only to reach the 400
Facebook followers we already have but hopefully to reach many more thousands of people."

While Edelist's goals are admirable, University of Haifa professor Sheizaf Rafaeli, director of
Center for the Study of the Information Society and head of the Graduate School of
Management, believes that organizations must not become complacent or rely too heavily on
the social media. They need to keep thinking one step ahead, he urges.

"This year it's Facebook, last year it was Twitter, before that it was YouTube and MySpace.
Organizations need to make sure they are using the most appropriate tool to reach the most
people," he says. "NGOs need to keep ahead of the game if they really want to take
advantage of this new reality."

h a r t m a n o r g i l
The (Sheikh Jarrah) revolution won't be televised... it'll be YouTubed

By Abe Selig
Jan. 25, 2010

Social media sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, along with a slew of blogs, are
playing an increasing role in the growing participation of young Israelis in protest rallies in the
east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, activists and journalists familiar with the
situation there told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

Activists and journalists both described a situation in which protesters were relying on the
Internet to try and affect change on the ground and raise awareness of the arrests made
during demonstrations in the neighborhood.

"It's all Facebook, e-mails and Twitter," said Didi Remez, a human rights activist, who has
become noticeably involved in the Sheikh Jarrah protests as of late. Remez was arrested
during a protest there last Friday.

Remez also said that distant audiences, like American Jews, who might be deprived of
Sheikh Jarrah coverage due to the mainstream media's lack of interest, were instead staying
abreast of the situation via social networking sites.

"The American media is for some reason refusing to cover this," he said. "Even though it's
becoming a major issue in Israel. And still, despite that, there's a lot of awareness [of this
issue] among Jewish Americans, the reason being that they are increasingly connected
through Facebook, Twitter, blogs and so on."

"They're getting information on this without The New York Times," Remez continued. "So,
something that hasn't been covered at all by the [American] mainstream media, is still getting
coverage through new media, and I think that's a statement about the decline of the
mainstream media and maybe a larger comment on the shift away from it."

Others echoed Remez's comments, but added that another advantage of social media was its
ability to counter police statements about Sheikh Jarrah they said the mainstream media often

"This is an issue that the media hasn't really been covering, and when they have, they've
mostly relied on police statements that portrayed the protesters as a handful of extreme
leftists or anarchists, which is simply not true," said Lisa Goldman, a Tel-Aviv based freelance
journalist who has used Facebook, Twitter and blogs to follow the Sheikh Jarrah protests.

"What the social media outlets have been able to provide is a direct source of information that
isn't filtered through the mainstream media," she said, adding that in this vein, the use of new
media had been "absolutely crucial."

Additionally, Goldman added, social media outlets had also served as a tool to awaken the
mainstream Left to the goings-on in Sheikh Jarrah, including, but not limited to, the emerging
issue of police behavior towards protesters there, which the Jerusalem Magistrate Court has
even censured - ruling last week that the arrests of 17 protesters during a rally two weeks ago
was illegal.

"The silent Israeli Left is finally waking up," she said. "And it's a result of the way some young
people are using social media. It's been very effective in raising awareness among the
moderate Left, who are seeing that the police are suppressing free speech."

Goldman also pointed to the participation in last Friday's rally of Prof. Moshe Halbertal, who
helped draft the IDF code of ethics and who has been active in disputing the United Nation's
Goldstone Report, as an example of figures who would certainly not be considered extreme,
but who have joined the Sheikh Jarrah fray.

h a r t m a n o r g i l
Hagai El-Ad, the director of the Association for Human Rights in Israel and one of the 17
protesters arrested two weeks ago, added that the use of new media to circumvent the
mainstream media, which, he said, was often "reluctant to cover hard issues, or blatantly
hostile," was spreading rapidly.

"However, it's not just new media [at play in Sheikh Jarrah]," he said. "I think there's a need to
[step back] from the tactics being used there, and zoom in on the core issue, which is the
moral outrage of Jerusalemite families being thrown out of their homes and living in tents in
the street. That's the essential injustice here, and I think it's a fuel of its own."

Yet El-Ad did concede that the use of new media was a driving force behind the success of
the Sheikh Jarrah protest organizers.

"They are a courageous group of young people, who are functioning without any real budget
or resources," he said. "But they are cleverly online, and they've been able to translate that
into real movement on the ground - it's not just a Facebook group that people add their
names too."

"Yes, the mobilization happens online," El-Ad added, "but the end result is the most classic
form of civil protest."

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Keeping the memory of Auschwitz alive in a digital world

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are playing a part in reaching out to young people on
Holocaust Memorial Day – but do they really have an impact?

By Mercedes Bunz
January 27, 2010

On the Holocaust Memorial Day web page, you can light a virtual candle
"On 27 January 1945, on Saturday, at around 9am the first Russian soldier from a
reconnaissance unit of the 100th Infantry Division appeared on the grounds of the prisoners'
infirmary in Monowitz. The entire division arrived half an hour later," reads the status update
on Facebook of the Auschwitz memorial page. More than 50 people so far have clicked to say
they "like" this.

Holocaust Memorial Day marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau,
and to keep the memory alive, more and more organisations are turning to social media.

In the UK, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is taking a new approach. While a memorial
ceremony will take place in London's Guildhall alongside hundreds of community events
across the UK, the trust has also adapted the act of rememberance for the digital world.

This year, the trust completely changed its website to make it easier for readers to bookmark
and share content via social media websites. It now runs a Twitter feed, a Facebook fan page
and a YouTube page which features a video narrated by Daniel Radcliffe.

The use of digital engagement to keep such memories alive is becoming more and more
common, but it is also controversial: it is claimed that it might just be a simple way for users to
ease their conscience. As digital critic Evgeny Morozov puts it, there is a danger that this form
of activism makes you feel you are engaged when, for example, you join a "Feed Africa"
group on Facebook, while you actually don't make a difference at all.

On the other hand, digital involvement is becoming increasingly important as the media
landscape changes. So this form of activism could be a way to raise interest and pull in users,
especially young people.

"The act signifies a commitment to helping build a safer, inclusive society where the
differences between us are respected," says the trust. Within a week, more than 20,000
people have lit a candle on the website and thus gained more information about history and
ongoing events.

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"The majority of visitors to the Auschwitz memorial are students and other young people,"
said Auschwitz museum official Pawel Sawicki when the Facebook page was launched. "Our
mission is not only to teach them about the history, but to be responsible in the world of today.
We should find every possible way to reach out, so why shouldn't we use the same tool in
that young people use to communicate?"

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Turn the Future Into the Past

JT Waldman JT | 12/21/2009

The Tagged Tanakh (TT) turns the future into the past by making Torah study front and
center in the Jewish educational experience. The Tagged Tanakh takes the Old Testament
and places it in a contemporary format and context to suit the needs of current generations.

Using the TT, educators can build new curricula, conduct faster research, prepare D’vrei
Torah, and help foster communities of practice around Jewish text.

For everyone else, the TT offers an easy and engaging way to learn Torah L’shma, learning
just for the sake of it.

Previously on this blog, we noted that the Talmud dominated the intellectual discourse of
Jewish thought for more than a millennium. However, both halakhah(Jewish Law) and
haggadah (Midrash) use biblical prooftexts to validate and ground their arguments. The
foundations of Jewish scholarship, ethics, and imagination are found in the Tanakh.

Scholar Geoffrey Hartman says that, “There is much to learn from a religious culture in which
the creative energies went almost totally into commentary and the same basic method of
reading was used for law (Halakah) and lore (Hagadah).” Hartman goes on to say that, “there
is an associative way of going from topic to topic that characterizes Jewish writing.” With the
Tagged Tanakh, Hartman’s theories can at last be put into practice by the entire Jewish
community, not just erudite scholars or learned rabbis.

The Tagged Tanakh was imagined as a vehicle to reconnect Jews and other interested
people to the multi-faceted richness of the Jewish Bible. It was conceived as a response to
the changing demographics and needs of the Jewish community. But it’s goals are quite
simple…get people back to the origin of Judaism, the place where it began–the Torah.

Anyone familiar with my writing on the JPS Interactive blog knows that design thinking has
been at the forefront of my process from the beginning of this project. Roger Martin, the Dean
of the Rotman School of Management has recently coined the phrase, “Turn the future into
the past,” for his new book, The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next
Competitive Advantage. In a recent lecture given by Martin in NYC,
( he explains
the relationship between business and design and how the idea of turning the future into the
past is the core of this concept.

Jump to the 35 minute mark to get to the meatiest parts of the lecture. However, I encourage
serious consideration of the points he raises at the 24 minute mark as well.

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The Social Sermon: An Innovative Approach to Community Building, Engagement and
Torah Study

Social media, like other major communication revolutions before it (think: printing press) have
radically changed the way we learn, connect and organize. The impact on culture and
behavior is significant – we have new ways to connect with our communities, find meaning,
express ourselves and engage. The new ease of organizing is fundamentally changing the
role that organizations play for their constituents. This is great news for the Jewish
community, if we are able to take advantage of it.

We invite you to try a new approach to Torah study, community building, and perhaps even
sermon writing in your congregation, The Social Sermon, an idea comes from acknowledging
three things:

1. That many people can’t get to the synagogue for a lunch or evening Torah study
class, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested;
2. That people want the social experience of learning, not just passive reading or
listening to a lecture, and that connection through learning enriches a local community; and
3. Social technologies can be a wonderful tool to enrich and augment Torah
learning in local communities.

Imagine a Saturday morning sermon that’s the work of not only your rabbi, but you as well.
Let’s take it a step further: what if it weren’t just you and your rabbi, but also your fellow
congregants, young and old, those new to the community and the stalwarts of your city? By
the time your rabbi delivers his Shabbat remarks, he or she could be drawing inspiration from,
or even representing the discussion of, hundreds of his congregants!

What does The Social Sermon look like? At the beginning of the week a Rabbi posts a
question on his or her blog, or on Twitter with a particular hashtag (e.g. #CBSSS for
Congregation Beth Shalom Social Sermon), or as a Facebook post on the congregation’s
Page. The first post would describe a theme of the parasha, or link to some text, and at the
end, pose a question.

As comments and responses start to be posted, the Rabbi then facilitates an ongoing
conversation through the week — responding regularly with insight, text, links, answers to
questions, and more questions to guide the discussion.

By the end of the week, several things will have happened:

• New people are engaged in Torah study. Likely a portion of the online participants are
a demographic that doesn’t often come to mid-day or evening adult education classes. (On-
site classes – adult and youth – can also participate);
• Participants will have formed new relationships through the online discussion,
perhaps following each other on Twitter, friending each other on Facebook, etc. which leads
to ambient awareness, thus strengthening your community;
• The Rabbi will have a better understand of what aspects of the parasha resonate with
the community, and be able to design a Shabbat sermon that is the most relevant for the
congregation, and will have ideas, quotes, context to make the sermon even more rich; and
• More people may show up for Shabbat services, feeling more educated, connected
and like they have some ownership over the sermon that week.

And for those that missed the service, they could read it the next day when the rabbi posts the
sermon back on the blog or web site, with a link on Twitter and/or Facebook.
Interested? Use the SocialSermon tag on this blog to find posts about the Social Sermon, and
for case studies and guest posts from Rabbis and educators who are doing it. Follow
#socialsermon on Twitter for updates, links to these blog posts, and to connect with others
who are doing it. Join us on Facebook to be connected others who are doing Social Sermons
and get important news.

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Feel free to adapt the concept — a confirmation class could do this throughout the week
between class meetings, a youth group could do it with their adviser or a parent facilitator.
Please report back and let us know how it’s going, and what you’re doing. Please let us know
if we can help you at any stage – leave a comment here, or any other space mentioned

Want more “hand holding”? Darim offers hourly consulting, and we are working with
interested Social Sermoners to find funding from a donor or Federation small grants program
to work with a group of Rabbis in your local community. Holler if you’d like more information.
Ready, Set…. Social Sermon!

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Toronto Biennial Sermon

by Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie

November 7, 2009


That being so, what about the Internet? Will it undermine the synagogue? Some fear yes—
that it will lure Jews away from the old ways of connecting that require us to be in the same
physical place. They fear that it will become a substitute for in-the-flesh contact, and that if
people start getting their needs met in the virtual world, they will have no need for the real

But this is not my view. True, you can’t have a minyan or pay a shiva call online; online
experience is not the same as being there. Still, it can be a powerful adjunct. And studies
show that heavy Internet use actually encourages users to meet more with other people.

Remember: from the time of Ezra, who rewrote the Bible in a new script, we Jews have
always adapted to our environment and taken advantage of the latest technologies. To
encode our conversations and sacred texts, we moved with ease from stone tablets to
parchment to paper, and we will move with equal ease to the electronic word.

In fact, we should see the Web as one of the most wondrous developments of all time.

In the first place, our members do not have the time they once had. We are working more and
sleeping less, and we can’t get to the synagogue as much as we once did. Carving out an
hour or two for a class or committee meeting is harder than ever. In this world, we need the
benefits that online community brings. In any case, let’s not kid ourselves; our members are
spending more and more of their time online, and we need to be there with them.

In the second place, the web does what Judaism has always aspired to do: it opens up the
vast treasury of Jewish knowledge to everyone. Judaism is not a religion of elites; we are all
expected to learn and to know. The web provides access to Jewish learning on a scale that
was unthinkable a decade ago.

And in the third place, the web – potentially at least – empowers our members and
democratizes our synagogues. The synagogue is the grassroots address of the Jewish world,
and the web gives us an instrument to involve and include Jews as never before. This is
enormously exciting, and more than a little scary.

Are our synagogues doing great things in this area? Absolutely. Are we making the most of
this potential? Not even close. Almost all our synagogues have email lists and websites; but
these are usually a way to present information rather than a means to engage their members.
Even those congregations that have a blog rarely use it to generate conversation and foster

But I believe that we are missing a critical opportunity. The Internet and cyberspace are
changing all the rules of Jewish interaction, and we need to be at the forefront of these
changes. We need to create an online, Oral Torah of ongoing Jewish discourse, and invite in
the opinions of our members. We need to ask our members to share their personal stories
and Jewish memories – which they love to do when given the chance. We need to encourage
hotly debated, multi-voiced, civil discussions on synagogue and local issues, and on Israel
and national issues.

The idea is not just to serve our members but to engage them. The idea is not only to inform
but also to inspire and create community. The idea is to see the Web not as a bulletin board
for announcements but as an act of communal collaboration.

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Please note: None of this makes temple leaders less important. Information is not knowledge.
Our members will still want their rabbis and cantors, their educators and administrators to
listen and to lead.

Nonetheless, we need to be aware of what is happening in our world. We have talked

endlessly about how to attract young adults into our congregations. No one is certain how to
do it. But if we are ever to succeed with these young Jews, we need to know who they are,
where they are, and what they want. Having grown up in the digital world, theirs is a culture of
interaction and enablement. They want to inquire, discuss, and argue. They are natural
collaborators and community-builders. And they will not be attracted by authoritarian Judaism;
they want a synagogue that is more bottom-up than top-down.

That being so, I believe with all my heart that the Judaism best able to reach them is Reform
Judaism, and the synagogue best able to meet their needs is the Reform synagogue. We
must become the address for technological experimentation – for web streaming, “virtual
board meetings,” and a whole range of creative approaches that the innovators in our midst
are already working on. To help our congregations begin this process, the Union has
collected some of the best ideas for your review and consideration.

But there is one particular idea that I hope every synagogue will think about immediately, and
that is a congregational blog – not just an electronic temple bulletin, but a truly interactive,
online forum. We need blogs because the era of one-way, passive information consumption is
over. Our members, young and old, expect to talk back and have a conversation; they think in
terms of networks rather than hierarchies. And creating a blog is easy and free, and the
technology is so simple that even I can understand it. The Union has produced a guide with
sample posts, technical advice, and ideas on how to draw people in. The key is to assemble a
team of temple members who will agree not only to write for the blog but to read other posts
and to comment. At the beginning, participants may be few, but if we address the real issues
in people’s lives, the numbers will grow.

If this is to work, it cannot be the job of the rabbi or the administrator. They may choose to join
in, but they have enough to do. Only if lay leaders take this on will a community come into
being. As I said, if we ask our members to share their Jewish journeys, most will be flattered
and eager to respond. Let’s exchange Jewish memories. Let’s talk about why we come to
services or why we don’t. Let’s discuss the big issues of the Jewish world. And Presidents
and board members can test ideas and ask for feedback, on anything from dues and
membership to personal theology.

It is a rare business nowadays that doesn’t have an online forum for customers to share
insights, make observations, and post questions. Given the importance of our sacred work,
shouldn’t we be doing the same?

A word about the risks. A blog means you don’t control everything. You must welcome honest
and open conversation and give people the freedom to disagree, criticize, and complain.
Once, as we see from the Talmud, Jews could be counted on to do this with civility. But today,
blogging can be a shoot-from-the-hip medium. And if our blogs are taken over by the
kvetchers and the whiners, by the grievance collectors and the supersensitive souls, we are
lost. I suggest, therefore, a simple solution: every temple needs a volunteer moderator who
will review comments before they are posted. The Union will offer online training to prepare
the volunteers for their work. And I recommend three rules to govern what will be posted and
what will not: you need to sign your name; your comments will only be posted if they could be
read from the bima on Erev Shabbat; and no one blogger will be permitted to dominate the

Our NFTYites do not agree with me here. They favor a wide open approach and feel that
those who are petulant or nasty can quickly be brought around. But I believe that if online
conversation is to serve our sacred cause, tact and reflective judgment are essential.

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So yes, there are risks, but they are manageable; we will lose some control, but we will gain
the ability to hear and to learn, and to reach out in new directions. The greater risk by far is
that we will do nothing, and the digital generation will pass us by.

So let’s take up the challenge of the online age. Let this Movement do what it has always
done: welcome diversity, encourage community, and join ancient tradition with cutting-edge
culture. Let us create Torah, embrace Torah, and search out the unfolding word of God,
wherever it may be found.

And by the way, this sermon will appear next week on the Union’s blog, and I look forward to
entering into discussion with you….

Alan Abbey Commentary

In a word or two, Rabbi Yoffie hits the mark here. He mentioned many of the things I
mentioned in my presentation, including the need to engage in a conversation and to be
willing to give up some control. Well said.

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Meet the fastest tweet in the Jewish organizational world: William Daroff

By Ron Kampeas · March 1, 2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Rain pouring in Jerusalem, tears streaming down the faces of fans of
Team USA, tremors shaking Chile -- and always, always lunch at Eli's.

You have entered the @Daroff tweet zone.

William Daroff, the Washington director of Jewish Federations of North America, has taken
the organization that couldn't get its initials straight and boiled it down to an engaging,
entertaining and at times abrasive representation of the Jewish establishment in 140
characters or less.

Daroff's career, always on an upswing, is now careening skyward.

Recent cuts at Jewish Federations mean that he is not only responsible for its redoubtable
Washington lobby shop representing the combined needs of 157 federations, but also will be
helping to direct its seminal rabbinical cabinet and its relief arm, and coordinate the alliance of
40 federations that come together to fund seven national groups (including JTA).

But Daroff is best known for boiling down that alphabet soup into tweets followed literally by
thousands. He has 2,205 followers on Twitter and 2,314 Facebook friends.

A sample just from Sunday and Monday:

* On a conference call with leaders of the #Jewish Federations of North America Rabbinic
* Palestinian Cabinet meets in Hebron, as means of protesting #Israel's list of heritage sites (@JPost)
* RT @jbelmont: NBC says 25% of the men who've watched the Olympics have cried. As an
American who's lived in Canada, I just joined them.
* Latest from Santiago #Chile: No damage to synagogues, damage to #Jewish cemetery
walls, & broken windows at a community bldg.
* RT @KevinFlowerCNN: tensions in Jerusalem over al-Aqsa simmering down -- pouring rain
has helped

The question some Daroff watchers, in the corridors of Jewish power and in other settings,
are asking: Does the tweeting enhance or detract from the federations' message?

"I see social networking and Facebook and Twitter as a new and novel way to communicate
with the world generally and with the Jewish community more specifically," Daroff, 41, told
JTA. "When it comes to communications, not everyone we want to communicate with reads
the JTA, Jewish newspapers or listens to rabbis and their sermons. It's incumbent upon us to
push forward the relevance of what we do as professionals and as a Jewish community, to
meet people where they stand."

Some welcome the tweeting as necessary in an age of instantaneous information.

"I'd rather he tweeted too much than not enough because he often has vital information in his
tweets," said Rabbi Levi Shemtov, who directs American Friends of Lubavitch. "For instance,
yesterday with Chile -- I oftentimes learn about events and initiatives for the first time from
William's tweets."

Others say the tweets reduce the complex back and forth of a conversation to an
unrepresentative sound bite.

This tweet came out of Daroff's attendance at the annual plenum of the Jewish Council for
Public Affairs in Dallas last week: "At #JCPA, @ADL_National's Abe Foxman calls
@dailydish's Andrew Sullivan 'an example of someone who is educated & an anti-Semite.' "

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It infuriated Foxman.

"I give a speech of 22 minutes, there's a series of questions, and this is what makes the
news?" Foxman asked, referring to his talk on global anti-Semitism. "This is how he wants to
get attention for the JCPA?"

Off the record, some government officials say Daroff's real-time tweeting makes them

"I know this is going to be tweeted, so it's on the record and I can't say anything useful," said
one official, who asked not to be identified. "The ability to have a candid conversation is

Daroff dismisses the concerns, saying he confines his tweets to what is already known. He
has tweeted about attending White House meetings, which is a matter of record, but not
about the contents of the meeting, which is not.

"I wouldn't tweet anything I wouldn't tell a reporter," he said.

Other Jewish officials, off the record, say Daroff's tweets have veered into dangerous territory.
They note a passionate back and forth with J Street last year over its reluctance at the time to
endorse Iran sanctions. Daroff said J Street "stands with the mullahs."

J Street has since endorsed sanctions, and officials on both sides say they enjoy good

Still, the exchange raised eyebrows.

"You can't self-promote to that degree and not become a target," said one official who
otherwise thought Daroff was doing a good job.

Some friends say Daroff is addicted to his Blackberry. Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster, tore
Daroff's Blackberry from his hand and threw it into the audience during a panel at the Jewish
Federations' most recent general assembly, in November in Washington.

Friends say if they see him in a restaurant, they will tweet to get his attention. After his
Blackberry delivers the message, Daroff has been known to stand up to greet someone who's
been facing him across the room for half an hour.

Making himself heard has never been hard for Daroff. He was a longtime operative for the
Republican Party, starting with the late Jack Kemp's 1988 presidential bid and including a
long stint as the deputy director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Some people fretted in 2005 when Daroff was named to his current post. The Washington
office of what was then known as the United Jewish Communities had just come through a
fractious period; Daroff's predecessor was forced out, partly because of inter-office tensions;
and relations with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs office had degenerated into a
perpetual turf war.

Did a nonpartisan lobbying body really need a partisan -- albeit one who was well liked, but
who also was not above the well-aimed partisan gibe, and was known for a spot-on
impression of Ira Forman, the executive director of the National Jewish Demorcatic Council?
Daroff quickly reached out to Democrats, including Forman, and did his best to assure them
that he would not be a partisan.

"If he's overrerached at all, it's in reaching out to the left," said a Democrat appreciative of
Daroff's effots, singling out health care, where Daroff has sided more with the Democrats.
His readiness to take hits from either side soon made his case. Daroff received angry calls
from buddies in the Bush White House about UJC plaints about budget cuts affecting

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entitlement programs and from Democrats on the Hill for defending tax exemptions. He was
responsive when Democrats complained that a UJC e-mail newsletter featured profiles of
Republicans in an election year; he stopped the profiles.

"In a situation that could have been very challenging because there were historical
institutional issues to be overcome and where he was coming from politically, he made some
people nervous," said Hadar Susskind, currently the policy director for J Street, a liberal pro-
Israel group, and then Daroff's counterpart at the JCPA. "He did an extraordinary job as
someone who had a professional partisan job, he did a very good job of putting aside and
representing federations and putting those interests first and foremost."

Daroff, dining last Friday at Eli's, the kosher Washington eatery he incessantly promotes on
his social networks (yes, he tweeted lunch with this reporter), is more modest.

"Look, when I was hired, there was a Republican in the White House and both houses" of
Congress "were Republican." He had a year and a half, he says, to build up relations with
relatively powerless Democrats before they retook Congress in November 2006. By that time
he was known as the UJC guy, not the GOP guy.

Not that his former Republican credentials have hurt. At the RJC, he formed a friendship with
Haley Barbour, then the chairman of the Republican National Committee. When the UJC's
relief arm was seeking partners in areas hit by Hurricane Katrina, Barbour, now governor of
Mississippi, was able to help facilitate a successful venture in assisting mental health

His next big challenge is grappling with a Washington that is slashing earmarks. In the 1990s,
earmarks -- the expenditures for home-state projects lawmakers inject into spending bills --
were ballooning, and one of his predecessors, Diana Aviv, saw an opportunity. Through the
earmarks, she helped create the Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, the system
that allows seniors to spend their twilight years near their communities.

The Washington office replicated that feat under subsequent directors with millions of dollars
set aside for enhancing security at nonprofits. Since its inception in 2005, the bulk has gone
to Jewish organizations.

But budget cuts and a presidential campaign in which candidates competed to make
"earmarks" synonymous with corruption have led to a crackdown. The domestic issues that
Jews care about -- particularly government medical care for the elderly and poor -- may mean
siding more forcefully with the Democrats.

Lobbying for earmarks was "lobbying lite," one congressional insider said, and the community
needed to "go AIPAC" and get tough on the health care issue.

Daroff said he would not be dragged into partisan battles, and added that he was confident
earmarks were here to stay.

"The Jewish Federations have continued to be remarkably successful in garnering Member-

Directed-Funding (we don't call them 'earmarks' anymore), even in this current budgetary
environment," he e-mailed in reply. "This is the case because our innovative initiatives are
ones that Members of Congress are proud to promote. They flourish with increased
transparency and with bright lights cast upon them. We are not promoting weapons systems
that the Pentagon doesn't want, but rather cutting-edge social service programs that help
make life better for millions of Americans."

As for Daroff, it appears he's here to stay, too: He is rumored to be on the short list for the
soon-to-be-available post of CEO at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

His response to the rumors was short, even by tweeting standards.

No comment.

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Young Adults Doing Religion on Their Own? Blame It on Politics
By Jeffrey Weiss

Last week, the number-crunching folks at the Pew Center released a report titled "Religion
Among the Millennials." It's part of an ongoing analysis of the generation of young adults
between 18 and 29 years old.

This report was a meta-analysis of lots of surveys done over the past several years, some by
Pew and some not. Many of the results seemed pretty "duh" to me: Young people tend to
lean left politically, be more open to change, more tolerant of differences than their elders. It
has ever been thus, ain't it? As Plato kvetched more than 2,400 years ago:

"What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their
parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals
are decaying. What is to become of them?"

But two paragraphs in the report jumped out at me:

"Fewer young adults belong to any particular faith than older people do today. They also are
less likely to be affiliated than their parents' and grandparents' generations were when they
were young. Fully one-in-four members of the Millennial generation -- so called because they
were born after 1980 and began to come of age around the year 2000 -- are unaffiliated with
any particular faith. Indeed, Millennials are significantly more unaffiliated than Generation
Xers were at a comparable point in their life cycle (20 percent in the late 1990s) and twice as
unaffiliated as Baby Boomers were as young adults (13 percent in the late 1970s)."

So that seems different, evidence of secularization on the march. But then we have:

"Young adults' beliefs about life after death and the existence of heaven, hell and miracles
closely resemble the beliefs of older people today. Though young adults pray less often than
their elders do today, the number of young adults who say they pray every day rivals the
portion of young people who said the same in prior decades. And though belief in God is
lower among young adults than among older adults, Millennials say they believe in God with
absolute certainty at rates similar to those seen among Gen Xers a decade ago."

Which says to me that young adults are not losing faith, just unplugging from religious
institutions at a rate unprecedented in U.S. history.

(And I know that "mileage may vary" for individuals. There are lots of politically and religiously
conservative and engaged Millennials -- they're just in smaller proportions than among their

That data got me thinking about Robert Putnam, the Harvard professor whose book "Bowling
Alone" made a powerful case a decade ago that Americans were disengaging from all
manner of institutions -- from churches to social clubs to bowling leagues.

Putnam later reported that the trend had plateaued a bit after the Sept. 11 attacks, as many
Americans sought social cohesion as a way to cope with the trauma. Maybe the survey
results about Millennials were evidence the trends had resumed and even accelerated? I
wondered what Putnam was doing these days.

Imagine my surprise: He and Notre Dame professor David Campbell have co-authored a
book scheduled for publication this fall titled "American Grace: How Religion Is Reshaping
Our Civic and Political Lives."

So I pinged them, asking what they thought of the Pew report. The bad news: Campbell
replied that the book's publishers have asked that they not do media until closer to when the
book comes out. The good news: They've been talking about their analysis for a while.

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Putnam is the head of Harvard's Saguaro Seminar on civic engagement. The Social Capital
blog reported on a presentation that Putnam and Campbell made last year for the Pew

No surprise, then, that their data tracked what Pew reported last week:

"Young Americans are dropping out of religion at an alarming rate of 5-6 times the
historic rate (30-40 percent have no religion today versus 5-10 percent a generation

And now their explanation:

"But youth's religious disaffection is largely due to discomfort with religiosity having
been tied to conservative politics."

They are hardly the first social scientists to link conservative politics and disengagement with
organized religion. Back in 2002, Berkeley professors Michael Hout and Claude Fischer took
the same line in the American Sociological Review:

"We seek to explain why American adults became increasingly likely to express no religious
preference as the 1990s unfolded. Briefly summarized, we find that the increase was not
connected to a loss of religious piety, and that it was connected to politics. In the 1990s
many people who had weak attachments to religion and either moderate or liberal
political views found themselves at odds with the conservative political agenda of the
Christian Right and reacted by renouncing their weak attachment to organized

But the entanglement of religion and politics is hardly a new American phenomenon. From the
abolitionists to the temperance movement to the civil rights movement to the Vietnam era
protests, people of powerful and visible faith were central to the battles -- on the right and on
the left.

So has the Religious Right of the past couple of decades been more offensive, somehow,
than previous faith-and-politics combinations? Are the Millennials more susceptible than prior
generations? And if so, why?

Putnam and Campbell have said they thought the trend was reversible, that religious
institutions with fewer political ties could engage in all-American entrepreneurship to swoop in
and give the disaffected Millennials a religious home. But even high-profile religious leaders
such as Saddleback's Rick Warren who have tried to stay out of the political swamp have
found themselves pulled in from time to time. And it's hard to believe that people of powerful
faith will be able to resist applying the standards of that faith to the thorniest political issues of
our time.

Maybe Putnam and Campbell will have all the answers in that book. We'll ping them again in
a few months to find out.

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A Synagogue's Unorthodox Revival: Rabbi's Aggressive Outreach Reverses a
Traditional Congregation's Decline


SAN FRANCISCO—When Rabbi Josh Strulowitz set out to rebuild a rapidly shrinking Jewish
congregation, it seemed like a long shot.

Mr. Strulowitz leads Adath Israel, one of the few Modern Orthodox synagogues in the Bay
Area. In 2005, when the newly ordained rabbi arrived at Adath Israel, the 68 members of the
synagogue founded by Holocaust survivors had an average age of 70. Many of the
congregants' descendants had moved away or gravitated toward more liberal forms of
Judaism, and the congregation was debating selling its building and moving to a storefront

Today, thanks to an aggressive effort by Mr. Strulowitz, a 31-year-old rabbi, the synagogue
has more than tripled in size, and the congregation's average age is closer to 40. Many of the
new members came to Adath Israel through Mr. Strulowitz's unusual outreach efforts that
included Super Bowl parties, a Chanukah gathering with a keg for adults and luncheon
seminars at the offices of area businesses.

His approach was on display recently at his synagogue in the Central Sunset neighborhood.
As the prayer service wound down, the rabbi took the stage to plug a Super Bowl party the
next day. "The new high-def screen is off the hook," he said. "And there is going to be kosher
fried chicken."

That struck a chord with Julie Higashi, a physician who switched to Adath Israel in 2007 from
a Conservative Jewish synagogue. With Mr. Strulowitz's events, she says, "there is room for
having fun." The next day, she joined about 50 people who watched the Super Bowl on the
synagogue's 110-inch screen.

Rabbi Josh Strulowitz launched a preschool across the street from his Modern Orthodox
synagogue in San Francisco to attract more families to the dwindling congregation.

The Bay Area's roughly 450,000 Jews make up the third-biggest Jewish population in the
U.S., behind New York and Los Angeles, according to a 2004 study sponsored by the
nonprofit Jewish Community Federation. But only 3% describe themselves as Modern
Orthodox, the strain of Judaism that combines traditional observance with modern life—
compared with 10% nationally, according to a 2001 study led by the nonprofit Jewish
Federations of North America.

Mr. Strulowitz and some other Jewish leaders felt that allowing the synagogue to fade away
would leave a hole in the city's Jewish life. The Modern Orthodox community helps to
preserve a visible Jewish presence, they say, and lends strong support to Jewish institutions
and the practice of certain traditions.

"When you see men wearing kippot and Jewish shops, it makes an impression on people who
are not Orthodox and puts them in touch with the rhythms of Jewish life," says Jewish
historian Fred Rosenbaum

But many Jews in the liberal Bay Area perceive Modern Orthodoxy as too rigid or devout.
That is the case for Greg Lawrence, a 28-year-old member of a Jewish Renewal synagogue
in Berkeley, which observes a less strict form of Judaism.

"When I think of Orthodox Judaism, it means all these laws that just don't really have
applicable meaning for me," he said. "I certainly don't need [Orthodox Jews] to support me in
any way."

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Rabbi Strulowitz recognizes the challenge he is up against. "It's an ambitious mission trying to
bridge the gaps between the outside world and making the religion—the way it was practiced
3,000 years ago—more relevant," he says.

Indeed, some of Mr. Strulowitz's unusual methods haven't resonated with his congregation—
especially with its older members. Birdie Klein, 79, an Adath Israel member for 40 years, says
some of the rabbi's programming doesn't appeal to her, including a recent conference on
Jewish ethics and the Internet that was held at Twitter Inc.'s San Francisco headquarters,
where one of the congregation's members is employed.

"Twitter. Shmitter. I didn't even ask what Twitter means," Ms. Klein says.

When Mr. Strulowitz began his outreach efforts, he sought advice from Modern Orthodox
rabbis in other cities who had had success attracting new members. By late 2005, he had put
together a beginners' service for the High Holidays. Last fall, he opened a preschool across
the street from the synagogue to help bring in families.

Mr. Strulowitz also reached out to the area's business elite. In 2006, he started holding
Jewish study lunches at companies including venture-capital firm Blumberg Capital and
Friedkin Realty Group.

Bruce Taragin, a partner at Blumberg Capital who invited Mr. Strulowitz to host lunches at his
office, says he has attended about half a dozen events. Mr. Taragin belongs to a Modern
Orthodox synagogue in Oakland, but he says the rabbi has made him feel a "deeper and
meaningful connection" to San Francisco's Jewish community.

Still, says Mr. Taragin, the rabbi has his work cut out for him. "It's like he's an entrepreneur
and the Jewish community is a start-up in the nascent stages," he says.

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Inside The Jewish Internet Defense Force

On July 27th someone hacked hacked into a Facebook group called, “Israel” Is Not A
Country!. Delist It From Facebook As A Country!” Responsibility was claimed by the Jewish
Internet Defense Force.(JIDF) The JIDF posted the following statement on the group page:

“This group was one of the most vile, antisemitic, pro-terrorist sites on the internet. Moreover,
it was the most active hate group of all, heartily promoting hatred, murder, and genocide while
proliferating abominable propaganda paralleled only by the fables of Goebbels. While such
content clearly violates Facebook’s own Terms of Use and Code of Conduct, provisions that
users agree to abide when they register on the site, Facebook refused to take action. Despite
thousands of user complaints over the course of eighteen months, Facebook allowed this
group and its ubiquitous antisemitic lies to flourish. Facebook’s own negligence and
abdication of responsibility gave us no option but to take matters in our own hands.

We wish to be clear – we have no issues with legitimate political discourse so long as it is

contextual, comparative and truthful. However, when it comes to encouraging the murder of
Jews and purposefully disseminating misinformation to demonize Jews and to delegitimize
Israel, there is a moral obligation to remove the platform of such repugnant hate-mongers.
Unfortunately, we do not need to search too far back into history to realize that such evils
have a real cost in terms of human lives.”

In addition to posting the above statement, the JIDF began deleting the names of all Forty
Eight Thousand members of the group. As of last check, there were just over Twenty
Thousand names still left on the list. The JIDF would not elaborate on how they have been
able to accomplish this on an on-going basis. There apparently has been no response from
Facebook to date.

In order to get some insight into the activities and motives of the JIDF with regards to Anti-
Semitic and other types of hate speech in the social networking arena, I contacted the group
responsible for the hack. A representative of the group agreed to be interviewed on the
condition of anonymity. He related that he has received multiple death threats arising out of
his activities in the JIDF.

What is the origin of of the JIDF?

The JIDF started as a grassroots effort at the beginning in 2000. Many of us were in NYC
during 9/11, so that had a major impact as well. It began as a mass email campaign. It
eventually morphed onto Myspace during the war with Hezbollah in 2006 and protesting the
disengagement from Gush Katif/Gaza. Shortly thereafter, we evolved with the technology
onto Facebook. Originally it started as just to share news and information about Israel and
Jewish issues with a bit of commentary here and there. As we used Facebook, we noticed
many of the issues began literally to stare us in the face. Anti-semitic and pro-Jihadist groups
were springing up everywhere.


The name “JIDF” is a recent development. We liked how it morphed “Jewish” with IDF –
especially in light of the contrast between the religious and secular world in Israel and the
Jewish world in general.

What are the short and long term goals of the JIDF?

One of our short term objectives is to expose Barack Obama and prevent him from winning
the Presidential election. In the long term we hope to expose and fight antisemitism and pro-
Jihadist trends on the web, including, but not limited to, the vast array of issues on Facebook,
Google/Youtube, Google- Earth, and Wikipedia.

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What do you hope to expose about Barack Obama?

We hope to continue to highlight the issues surrounding his terrorist connections as well as
his racist and antisemitic church which has supported Hamas and The Reverend Louis

What is the position of the JIDF on the “Palestinian Question” regarding disputes over
occupied lands?

Palestinians should be transferred out of Israeli territories. They can live in any of the other
many Arab states. We are against all land concessions to our enemies. We are against the
release of terrorist prisoners from Israeli prisons. We are against the arming and funding of
our enemies and the negotiation with them. We are for morals, ethics and common sense and
feel Israel must truly act as a “light unto the nations” in order for the world to be safe as we
feel Israel is truly on the front lines in the war in which Islam has declared upon us

What has the reaction been from the Jewish community here and abroad?

Since the Jewish people are so diverse, the reaction has been diverse from full support to full

What about the Muslim Community?

99.9% of Muslims hate us. There have been 4 viable death threats. These threats are not just
from non-Jewish Middle Eastern community, but Neo Nazis, etc.

Do you feel social networking groups have the right to question Israel’s right to exist
as legitimate social discourse?

Absolutely! Where they cross the line is when they spew hatred and promote violence,
murder and genocide. This is happening on Facebook despite 10’s of thousands of
complaints and reports.

Do you feel Facebook and other social networking sites are doing enough to monitor
groups promoting hate speech?

Facebook has been negligent in this regard. As an organization it has completely abdicated
its responsibility to its users. Youtube also needs to do more. They all have rules in place.
They should draw the line when people are blatantly promoting hatred, violence, murder, and
genocide. (as most of their own rules state) They need to be more efficient with their systems
to monitor and remove this type of user-generated content.

How do you respond to those who claim your group is engaging in the exact some
rhetoric and conduct that it criticizes?

We disagree. We do not promote hatred, violence, murder or genocide. We do not promote

known terrorist entities. We do not misinform. We do not lie nor make up lies. We do not call
people “apes and pigs” – like many of the Muslims do. We do not advocate the destruction of
countries or of people. The list goes on and on.

Did you break the law when you hacked the Facebook group?

We absolutely broke no laws doing what we did. In fact, we operate with the advice of legal
counsel and within the confines of the law.

There seems little doubt that Social Media is the new battle ground for social activism. Social
Media is not only the new face of social activism, it is a the new face of ethnic and religious

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hatred and intolerance on all sides. As social networking groups such a Facebook have
sprung up and attracted substantial membership more and more groups taking extreme
positions on one subject or another have become popular. Proving this point is the fact that
the “Israel Is Not a Country” Facebook group had over forty thousand members at the time it
was hacked. Are social networking groups such as Facebook and Youtube doing enough to
monitor groups and content advocating extreme political and religous positions that attempt to
encourage or incite violence and hatred towards other groups? Are they simply encouraging
legitimate social discourse? Contrary to popular belief there is no right of free speech on
social netowrking sites. They are for the most part private entities not covered by the First
Amendment. The sites have to the right to censor and remove material they deem
objectionable. Where do we draw the line between incitement of hate and legitimate debate
on religious, ethnic and political issues? Should ther even be a line? Many would argue that
the JIDF encourages the same hateful rhetoric that it claims it fights against. Are they
attempting to squash legitimate debate? Are they also promoting hate and intolerance? No
one is safe. Let the discourse begin.

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Haredim declare war on the Internet


After the evening minyan on a recent trip to the United States, a 40-something man
beseeched me to write about a Web site called GuardYourEyes, which provides tools for
those who have become pornography addicts through the Internet. He did not explicitly tell
me he was one such addict, but the fervor with which he prayed suggested his personal

Every Orthodox rabbi in North America with whom I have spoken in recent years has his own
stories of homes destroyed by the Internet – whether it be through chat rooms, or erotica Web
sites, or instant communications devices that make it easy to establish illicit relationships.
Sins that once required the expenditure of energy and time, as well as the potential for
humiliation if revealed, can now be done instantaneously in private, with little danger of
detection. The Internet not only facilitates the ease with which one can act upon existing
temptations, it has the capacity to create previously undreamed of desires.

AWARE OF the devastation caused by the Internet, and determined to prevent it from
becoming completely entrenched, the leading haredi rabbis in Israel have declared war on it.
A conference for haredi educators in Bnei Brak two weeks ago, attended by a rare cross-
section of the most revered senior rabbinical figures in the haredi world, promulgated several
decrees against home Internet use.

The baseline position was that no haredi family should have Internet in the house. If one or
both of the parents need Internet in the house for business purposes, they must first install
appropriate filters, preferably in combination with a server like Internet Rimon, which both
excludes the most problematic Web sites – e.g., pornography and gambling – and has the
capacity to preview and censor material even within acceptable sites. The password for entry
to Internet must be known only to the parent who needs it for business purposes. In addition,
a rabbi must certify that there is a need for Internet. These provisions will be enforced by
requiring each child in haredi educational institutions to provide a form signed by the parents
that they are in conformity with the above requirements.

Above all, these requirements are designed to convey an unambiguous message that Internet
constitutes a moral hazard that should be avoided and, even in cases of necessity,
approached with the utmost caution and protections. So great is the danger that it outweighs
such considerations as convenience or even educational value. Only economic necessity,
coupled with layers of protection, can justify its possession.

The haredi leadership seeks to repeat with respect to Internet what was done to television in
America in the 1960s and ’70s: to make its possession a defining social marker of who is
within the haredi community and who is not. Certainly Internet has already exacted a toll in
victims far beyond that of television in that vastly more innocent period when it required
prescience to forecast the degree to which it would degenerate.

Television, however, was nothing more than an entertainment medium – not a necessity for
modern life.

INTERNET IS something quite different. At the Bnei Brak gathering, Rabbi Aharon Leib
Steinman, the most respected of the senior roshei yeshiva, admitted, “If we would be able to
totally ban the Internet, that would be fine. But we can’t do that, since there are those who
need the Internet”.

Increasingly, Internet is the principal means of conducting many of the basic transactions of
modern life, whether it be banking, checking bus schedules, finding a site that calculates the
proper times for prayers on transatlantic flights, or just for shopping. In some cases it is only a
convenience – one can live without the information or obtain it less efficiently. In others, the

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difference is primarily a matter of time, though the hours saved are no small matter for
stressed haredi parents, who often must perform chores with several young children in tow.

At one major hi-tech company that operates separate facilities employing haredi women,
visits to sites other than those needed for one’s work are cause for dismissal. But the facility
retains two work stations where women can do some basic banking and other such functions
while on break or after work.

More important, Internet is essential for much modern employment. And at one level, it even
offers unique potential benefits to the haredi world. An ever-increasing percentage of haredi
women – and haredi men – are being educated in computer-based fields. With the move of
haredi women from teaching jobs within the haredi educational system (in which the job
market is saturated) to hi-tech come a host of new concerns about working in mixed work
places. A number of companies have discovered that they can employ haredi women at
relatively low pay by providing sexually segregated work places and mother-flexible work
schedules in or near haredi population centers.

Ideally, working by computer from home offers a possible solution to haredi concerns about
mixed workplaces and the need for flexible hours, but that depends, of course, on having
Internet in the house. That is just one example of how the tension between competing haredi
ideals may play out around Internet.

Given the centrality of Internet to modern life, the attempt to impose a ban (with exemptions)
in the home might strike many as a futile attempt to turn back the clock. And that might well
be true in the United States, for instance, where home Internet is nearly ubiquitous, even in
haredi homes and where every handheld device has Internet connectivity. There the
emphasis will likely be on damage control through Internet education, filters, increased
parental supervision.

But in Israel the haredi public has the market power to secure “kosher” cellphones, without
Internet connectivity. And the haredi leadership, it turns out, might be more on target than
most secular parents with respect to what is at stake.

Every study of parents’ perceptions of their children’s Internet use shows that parents are
totally clueless about both the quality and quantity of their children’s Internet use.

They have no idea how many of their children have shared personal information or agreed to
meet strangers over the Internet. And they are unaware of the degree to which their
teenagers are living in a largely isolated, alternative reality – about 55 hours a week for the
average American teenager. Education officials in the United Kingdom are exploring ways to
limit time teens spend on game sites. While parents would like to think that their children are
locked in their rooms exploring the reaches of human knowledge on their personal computer,
the greater likelihood is that they are at porn sites – the use of which spikes in the afternoon
hours when teens are home alone.

One of Judaism’s six constant mitzvot is “do not stray after your hearts and after your eyes...”
While haredi efforts to preserve the “purity of the eyes” may seem hopelessly quaint in our
erotically charged society, haredi concerns about the dangers of Internet would be shared by
most parents if they had not thrown in the towel on guiding their children.

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Additional articles with a Jewish "angle":

1. Facebook Profile For Holocaust Victim Brings History to Life

2. Small boy killed in Holocaust gets Facebook page _ attracting thousands of friends,0,7470453.story?page=1

3. A “McKinsey Study” on the Jewish Web
from The New York Jewish Week:

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Social Media Revolution 2 (Refresh)

May 5, 2010 · 50 Comments

By Erik Qualman

It’s amazing how fast the world of social media moves! As many of the statistics from the
original Social Media video have changed, I took a moment to refresh the video with a few
new statistics and graphics. Thanks to all of you for your support in making the first Social
Media Revolution and Social Media ROI videos such a huge success and I hope that you
enjoy this refresh!

Stats from Video (sources listed below by corresponding #)

1. Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30-years-old

2. 96% of them have joined a social network
3. Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S.
4. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web
5. 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media
6. Years to Reach 50 millions Users: Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4
Years), iPod (3 Years)…
7. Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year
8. iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months.
9. We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we
DO it.”
10. If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest ahead of the United
States and only behind China and India
11. Yet, QQ and Renren dominate China
12. 2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students
out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction
13. 80% of companies use social media for recruitment; % of these using LinkedIn 95%
14. The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females
15. Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres (combined) have more Twitter followers than
the populations of Ireland, Norway, or Panama. Note I have adjusted the language
here after someone pointed out the way it is phrased in the video was difficult to
determine if it was combined.
16. 50% of the mobile Internet traffic in the UK is for Facebook…people update
anywhere, anytime…imagine what that means for bad customer experiences?
17. Generation Y and Z consider e-mail passé – some universities have stopped
distributing e-mail accounts
18. Instead they are distributing: eReaders + iPads + Tablets
19. What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook…
20. The #2 largest search engine in the world is YouTube
21. While you watch this 100+ hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube
22. Wikipedia has over 15 million articles…studies show it’s more accurate than
Encyclopedia Britannica…78% of these articles are non-English
23. There are over 200,000,000 Blogs
24. Because of the speed in which social media enables communication, word of mouth
now becomes world of mouth
25. If you were paid a $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia you would
earn $156.23 per hour
26. 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-
generated content
27. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands
28. Do you like what they are saying about your brand? You better.
29. People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services than
how Google ranks them
30. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations

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31. Only 14% trust advertisements
32. Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI
33. 90% of people that can TiVo ads do
34. Kindle eBooks Outsold Paper Books on Christmas
35. 24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation
36. 60 millions status updates happen on Facebook daily
37. We no longer search for the news, the news finds us.
38. We will non longer search for products and services, they will find us via social media
39. Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate
40. Successful companies in social media act more like Dale Carnegie and less like Mad
Men Listening first, selling second
41. The ROI of social media is that your business will still exist in 5 years
42. Bonus: comScore indicates that Russia has the most engage social media audience
with visitors spending 6.6 hours and viewing 1,307 pages per visitor per month – is the #1 social network

Social Media Statistics:

Below are the sources I used to compile this video. Keep your
feedback/questions/challenges coming as it will collectively make the next video better – be

A huge thanks to all below:

1. Source: [roughly 52% based on table
data] | 2010 U.S. 310,232,863 | 2010 World 6,814,609,654 | 30 and under:
3,548,760,268 / 6,814,609,654 = 52%
2. Source: Grunwald Associates National Study – Trendsspotting Blog | Millenials
3. Source: Hitwise Intelligence Heather Dougherty
4. Source: Huffington Post
5. Source: McKinsey Study also posted by David Dalka
6. Source: First Stats: United Nations Cyberschoolbus Document
7. Source for Facebook Stat: Facebook Timeline Feb 2009 175 million users – Feb
2010 400 users:
8. iPhone Stat: Apple
9. Personal Quote
10. Source: Facebook and world population data
11. Source: TechCrunch
12. Source: U.S. Department of Education Study
13. Source: Jobvite Social Recruitment Survey
14. Source: Inside Facebook Blog
15. Source: Twitter & World Population Data [Pulled 4/11: Kutcher & Spears 4,743,902
and 4,689,808 = 9,433,710] – note it’s not the combined populations of the countries
16. Source: The Guardian
17. Source: Metro Commuter Newspaper
18. Source: USA Today: Should Colleges Start Giving iPads to Students?
19. Opinion, not a statistic
20. Source: TGDaily
21. Source: Mashable by Ben Parr

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22. Source: - calculated based on # articles per language category;
Colorado State University Wikipedia Accuracy Study; open debate and of course very
biased information is also found on this Wikipedia Accuracy page.
23. Source: China Internet Information Center, Technorati, Wikipedia
24. Opinion, not a statistic
25. Source: ClickZ Stats SES Magazine June 8 page 24-25 Chris Aarons, Andru
Edwards, Xavier Lanier Turning Blogs and user-Generated Content Into Search
Engine Results
26. Calculated based of Wikipedia article data found at
27. Source: TechCrunchThis says 4 weeks so I may have been a little off here as my
source at Facebook had said 2 weeks adjusted above
28. Source: Marketing Vox and Nielsen BuzzMetrics SES Magazine June 8 page 24-25
Chris Aarons, Andru Edwards, Xavier Lanier Turning Blogs and user-Generated
Content Into Search Engine Results
29. Opinion, not a statistic
30. Source: July 2009 Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey (actually 90% now –
updated above but video still shows 78%)
31. Source: “Marketing to the Social Web,” Larry Weber, Wiley Publishing 2007
32. Source: “Marketing to the Social Web,” Larry Weber, Wiley Publishing 2007
33. Source: Starcom USA-TiVo
34. Source: Mashable
35. Source: Solutions Research Group
36. Source: Facebook Stats
37. Opinion, not a statistic
38. Opinion, not a statistic
39. Opinion, not a statistic
40. Opinion, not a statistic
41. Opinion, not a statistic
42. comScore
43. Music in video provided by Fatboy Slim “Right Here, Right Now” (1999) – if you like it
buy the single

To watch videos with millions of YouTube views and deservedly so, please check out Karl
Fisch and Scott McCleod’s Did You Know? And Shift Happens videos on YouTube. If you are
like me you will love them!

Also, if you haven’t seen Marta Kagan’s “What The F**K is Social Media” presentation, it’s
amazing! Many of the same eye-popping facts are contained in it – as well as many more.
Plus, it does a much better job of providing insight than my video which is designed to grab
attention. Kagan’s presentation informs, check it out!

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Nonprofit News: How Start-ups Can Pay Their Way

By Peter Osnos

At the University of Texas in Austin last week, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
convened a dozen of the country's new, mainly nonprofit news-gathering organizations to
discuss the Holy Grail of start-up theology: seeking ways to be sustainable beyond
philanthropic largesse. Knight's president, Alberto Ibarguen, and their vice-president for
journalism programs, Eric Newton, have played a crucial guiding role in the emergence of
these journalism enterprises, countering the broader narrative of severe cutbacks in
newspaper and broadcast resources. Nothing like this has happened on a national scale in
the American media since the origins of public radio and television in the 1960s and 1970s,
when a combination of government-backed initiatives such as the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting and foundations, led by the Ford Foundation, provided the framework and
funding for nonprofit news over the airwaves.

For the most part, in our society, news delivered in newspapers, in magazines, by
broadcasters, and in the initial decade on the Internet, has been market-driven. Our media
industry is overwhelmingly a commercially based competition for survival of the fittest, in
which the quality of output is subsidized by the revenues it can attract. This is an anomaly,
considering that the role of a vibrant press is considered indispensable in a democracy, and
should be a civic asset on a par with other great nonprofit information institutions such as
universities, libraries, and museums.In particular, the precipitous decline in newspaper
revenues leading to closures, bankruptcies, and the loss of many thousands of jobs has
diminished ambitions for metro, investigative, and international reporting and cast a fin de
siècle pall over journalism, even as the best of what is being produced across multiple
platforms is outstanding. I'm certain that this year's Pulitzer Prize, National Magazine Award,
and Peabody medalists could hold their own for breadth and impact with winners of the past.
So as Ibarguen observed in his wrap-up remarks, the Austin session was notable for an
absence of hand-wringing and pessimism, an apparent determination to pool initial
experiences in nonprofit newsgathering with a goal of providing models for sustainable
operation in a digital age. As undeniable as the downside in journalism has been in recent
years, the potential for reinvention and innovation is now established.

I attended the Austin meeting as a co-founder and advisory board member of the Chicago
News Cooperative (CNC), which is being led by James O'Shea, a former top editor at the
Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. Since last fall, CNC's staff has been providing
two pages twice a week to the edition of the New York Times distributed in Chicago and
environs as the first phase of an ambitious plan for state and local coverage on a robust
website, plus the development of community based "news interest networks" in subjects such
as education and culture. Here are the other organizations represented at the session: Bay
Citizen/California Watch/Center for Investigative Reporting, Connecticut News Project,
Gotham Gazette,, New American Media, New Haven Independent, Oakland
Local, Texas Tribune, St. Louis Beacon, and Voices of San Diego.

As all such gatherings are now, the conference was Twittered at #nonprofitJ while in
progress, and a website with summary information was launched before the meeting ended.
My takeaway from the session included a renewed emphasis on the importance of creative
engagement with readers, the development of ways to give them a vested interest in the
news being gathered. Traditional media had their great brand identities cultivated over
decades. By contrast, start-ups have to become distinctive and valuable fast enough to attract
the revenue needed to keep going, usually in a matter of months. Even the best-funded outfits
with million-dollar donations from prominent backers, such as Texas Tribune and Bay Citizen
(the new name for the Bay Area News Project), recognize that these are merely contributions
and will run out unless replaced.

At the inevitable risk of simplifying, here are the keys to sustainable revenue, reinforced by
the Austin discussions (those who follow public radio, by far the most successful model
nonprofit media, will find them familiar):

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• Membership. An active solicitation of contributions from the community being served,
using loyalty programs, events, and news interest groups. Even a relatively small
group of members can make a major difference, and the management of this process
has to be a top priority.
• Sponsorship. This is commercial underwriting intended to bring businesses and
services to the community. The value and price of this support will grow as the
organization does, but it is never too early to bring in advertising, however it may be
euphemistically described.
• Philanthropy. Foundations neither can nor should provide the long-term core support
for news organizations. But specific initiatives in subject areas such as health care,
digital development, and capacity building (creating an effective board of directors, for
example) are essential.
• Government Support. The Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade
Commission, and advocacy groups such as FreePress are actively looking at ways to
provide elements of subsidy through tax policy or Internet regulation under the rubric
of protecting journalism's future. This is an important policy area, but unlikely to be
meaningful in the short term, given the complexities of Washington.

There is no doubt that the 20th-century models for journalism were upended by the digital
revolution and what I have called elsewhere the business equivalent of reckless driving by
some proprietors. But meetings like the Austin conference show that journalists, civic and
business leaders, and foundations are beginning to create enterprises and protocols that will
give us a 21st-century version of news gathering with the potential to match and perhaps
exceed what has come before.

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And the most engaging social network is…


Some sites are utterly addictive. You return to them often, and when you do, you tend to stay
there for a good while, visiting different pages, viewing interesting content. In a word, the site
is engaging.

But how do you measure it? How do you put a number on how engaging a site is?

That is exactly what we are going to do in this post, and we will be looking at social network
sites, arguably the most engaging sites out there. Specifically, we will try to find out which
social network sites are the most engaging in terms of user activity.

The most engaging social network site is…

Figuring out how engaging a site is can be tricky. We could look at the number of page views
per visit, but that number alone doesn’t really tell us much. We also need to take into
consideration how often visitors come back to a site. After all, if we return frequently to a site
and also view many pages when we do, it’s likely that find the site engaging.

For the sake of argument, this article will measure how engaging a site is as the number of
monthly page views per visitor (monthly visits per visitor * page views per visit). You could call
it visitor activity level, but we prefer “engagement level”.

So, with the help of site data from Google and some number crunching, here is how engaging
the various social network sites are:

A few observations:
• These numbers are bound to be a bit unfair to Twitter. Many of its users rely heavily
on applications to access the site and don’t necessarily spend much time on the site itself.
• It’s interesting that Facebook not only has a ton of users (350+ million), but the site
manages to wring out so many page views from each one. This is bound to be extremely

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good news for Facebook’s income from advertising (see further down for a brief discussion of

Those of you who like to dig a bit deeper may wonder how we arrived at these numbers in the
first place, which is a perfectly relevant question. The following section is for you.

A closer look at visitor behavior

The data in the first chart in this post comes from two interesting pieces of information:

• The average number of page views per visit.

• The average number of monthly visits per visitor.

To get the most out of its visitors, social network sites will usually want to maximize both of
these. Facebook doesn’t have the highest number of page views per visit, but its visitors
come back to the site very often and still generate a good amount of page views each time.

This is why Facebook got such a high site engagement level in the first chart.
If we look at these values individually for each site, this is what you get:

A few observations:

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• Social network sites have a tendency to make us click around quite a lot more than
we do on most other types of sites. This is underlined by this mini study, which shows that all
of the top five sites in site engagement are what you could call “traditional” social network
sites, loosely following the template set by Friendster in 2003.
• If we just look at the number of page views per visit, the most engaging social
network would be… drum roll… Friendster.
• Facebook’s 28 monthly visits per visitor is more than twice that of any other site in
this study. Facebook seems to successfully encourage its users to come back to the site very
often. Of course, it has a little extra help from being the number one social network, but on the
other hand, perhaps this is one of the reasons it got there in the first place?

The advertising perspective

Many of these sites make their money from showing ads. More page views will lead to more
ads being displayed, i.e. more dollars, which will be an incentive for these sites to maximize
the page views they get from each visitor. (Twitter famously doesn’t show ads, so it isn’t
affected by this.)
In this respect, Facebook has really hit a homerun. It wrings a lot more page views out of its
visitors compared to the other sites. With such a huge user base, even small differences in
the number of page views per visitor are bound to have a big effect on Facebook’s income, so
you can assume that they are working very hard on making sure that the site is as engaging
as possible.

Final words

Ultimately what sites we like and use comes down to a matter of taste, but it’s always
interesting to see what you can find out about the general behavior of site visitors. Perhaps it
becomes even more relevant for social network sites, which are built around group behavior.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that last week we published a post about the
total number of monthly page views for social network sites. For example, we revealed that
Facebook has a whopping 260 billion monthly page views.

This was in many ways intended as a follow-up to that post. We hope that we managed to
give you some additional insight into where those massive amounts of page views come from.

Note: As always when working with estimates (which Google and all other external data
collection services do), there will be a margin of error in the numbers. All data in this post is
from, or derived from, Google Ad Planner.

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Determining Your Social Network Needs: When it comes to social networking, is more
always better?

By: Beth Kanter

February 5, 2008

More and more people are making decisions and getting information from conversations
taking place on social networking sites, online tools that help people connect with others who
share similar interests, or with those who are interested in exploring new interests and

Social networking sites promise to offer an array of benefits to nonprofits as well, from
allowing them to keep abreast of trends and generate awareness to helping them raise
money and connect with new supporters. As these tools continue to grow in popularity and
expand beyond their traditional under-20 demographic, your nonprofit may be tempted to
create a presence on one or more of the ever-growing roster of social networking sites.

Yet when it comes to social networking, is more always better? As Should Your Organization
Use Social Networking Sites? points out, these tools aren't for every organization. Yet if
you've determined that your nonprofit would benefit from having a presence on one social
networking site, would you find even more success on two or more sites? If so, how should
you go about choosing these sites?

Below, we'll discuss what it means to maintain a presence on one or more online social
networks, and help you evaluate what sort of presence makes sense for your organization.
We'll also show you a few tips for selecting the tools that can give you the most return on your
investment and ensure a successful online presence for years to come.

Potential Benefits

Social networking sites can help your organization increase awareness about an issue, find
signatures for a petition, and encourage supporters to take action. Moreover, by building up a
network of contacts on a social networking site, nonprofits can leverage the tools' viral
abilities to quickly spread messages and alerts to a wide audience beyond their immediate
community of supporters.

This can be especially valuable in times of crisis. A college student backpacking in Southeast
Asia started a Facebook group called Support the Monks' Protest in Burma to draw attention
to the pro-democracy protests led by the country's revered Buddhist monks. The group found
more than 400,000 supporters from around the world and helped attract attention to the
monks' cause.

Not only can social networking sites help your nonprofit widen its general support base, they
may help you find and connect with people who can promote your organization's work or even
fundraise on your behalf. If you put time into them, social networking sites give you an
opportunity to communicate directly and more meaningfully with constituents or potential
constituents in a way that is nearly impossible using other mediums such as direct mail,
email, or Web sites.

Many nonprofits are drawn to social networking sites with the hope that they will help them
raise money. While it is true that fundraising on social networking sites like Facebook and
MySpace shows promise, this is still in the early stages and for the most part, the payoffs are
minimal, barring a few notable exceptions. On the upside, fundraising efforts in these spaces
may be considered a strategy for cultivating future potential donors for your organization.
What Maintaining a Presence Entails

Maintaining your social networking profile is like maintaining a mini Web site. Like a Web site,
you need to keep your content fresh, while taking on the additional task of cultivating your
contact lists.

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One way to keep your community strong is by keeping in frequent contact with your friend
network, either profile-to-profile, via private messaging, or in groups. Remember, people join
social networking sites to network; they want to interact with an actual person from your
organization — not form letters. It is this personal, one-on-one communication that can make
or break an organization's success on a social network — and also what can make
maintaining a presence on one so time-consuming.

Successful social networking requires that you not only maintain existing relationships, but
also seek out new contacts. You will need to budget time to scour the social networking site
and your friends' friends' contact lists for new potential supporters, a task that requires
consistent effort.

How much time are you looking at, then? While some administrative tasks can be delegated
to an appropriate volunteer or intern, you should plan to invest about an hour a day per social
networking site, especially in the early stages. If you can't invest this time or your time is
better spent elsewhere, you may want to hold off on social networking for now.

Options for Nonprofits

While social networking sites have the potential to be a powerful tool in a nonprofit's
communications arsenal, they may not be appropriate for every organization. To reap the
benefits, your organization should create a strategy for how you will proceed and how you will
measure your efforts over time (Number of contacts gained? Signatures on a petition? Funds
raised?). You may want to begin with small, careful forays into social networking as an
individual user before investing in the medium as an organization. Below, we'll take a look at
some types of participation you may wish to consider.

1. No presence.
It can be difficult to benefit from the networking aspects of a social networking site unless you
have a presence on it. Yet if you determine that social networking sites are not for you and
that your time would be better spent in other areas, this does not mean that you are shut out
of social networking sites entirely. While some sites, such as Facebook, deny you to access
to their content without a membership, others, such as YouTube and Flickr, are open for
anyone to peruse, meaning while non-members can't take advantage of the networking
features outlined above, these sites can still be a source of information, content, or even
inspiration should you later decide to create a presence on one.

2. Maintain an individual presence.

If you are interested in testing the social networking waters, but aren't ready to commit to full-
blown organizational participation, you may wish to set up an individual account and profile on
a social networking site. (You may have no choice but to do this: on Facebook, for example,
only individuals using their real names can set up accounts, meaning you technically cannot
set up a profile for, say, Save the Giraffes). The initial setup process, in most cases, won't
require anything more technical than filing a Web-based form but for some sites, like
MySpace for example, more customized profiles may require CSS expertise.

Once you set up your profile, many sites will ask for permission to scan your email address
book. If this search finds people in your address book who are already on the networking site,
it automatically adds them to your contacts list or sends out a friend request. This can save
you a lot of time searching for colleagues.

Fill out your profile as completely as possible, within your comfort level (most sites ask you to
provide your first and last name, organizational affiliation, gender, birthday, hometown, and
interests, while some ask more personal questions, such as sexual orientation), including
links to your Web site and a photo. Because you are setting up an individual account to
represent your organization, keep your profile as professional as possible (meaning no
swimsuit shots or other overly personal information.) Treat your social networking profile like a
public Web site — or it may come back to haunt you.

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Be sure, too, to review the site's privacy policy. You will be sharing personal data, so make
sure you understand the platform's policies when it comes to privacy and data ownership.

Some sites reserve the right to share your data with other users, advertisers, or even the
government, and to re-use or even modify it as they wish. Facebook, for example, can track
and share your activities, giving others access to information including groups you've joined
or the comments you've left on other profiles — a potential source of embarrassment if you're
not careful.

Keep in mind that even individual profiles require a significant amount of time to maintain.
Once your profile is up, plan on spending 30 to 60 minutes a day to explore the site, check
out groups, find friends, and learn how its features work. Katya Andresen's Five-Minute Guide
to Social Networking can help you get started. Read your social networking site's and other
blogs to stay up-to-date on new features and policy changes. Mashable is a good source for
learning about a variety of different social networking sites; check out my Social Networking
Resources for additional social-networking-focused blogs.

3. Maintain an organizational presence on one site.

After you have become comfortable with your individual profile, you may decide you wish to
set up an organizational presence. Bear in mind that this will add to your workflow, as in
addition to this new presence, you may need to continue to cultivate and maintain your
individual profile as well. On Facebook, for example, you must have an individual profile
before you can set up a group or a "fan page" to represent a fictional character, an
organization, or a campaign.

Keep in mind, too, that an organizational presence can demand far more time and resources
than an individual profile. Think of your organizational presence as an online community. As
with a community, you'll need to get know the people who join and participate, keep
discussions going, and nurture and support your profile. (See's Best Practices for
a more detailed description of what this might entail.)

4. Maintain an organizational presence on two or more sites.

Having so much fun on one social networking site that you're tempted to join another? Your
decision to set up profiles on more than one social networking site will depend on your
available resources. To be effective, you'll need to invest time in exploring the site and
maintaining your presence on it. Take the time to analyze the demographic data of the social
networking sites and determine which site is the best match for your organization. James
O'Malley of the Frogloops Blog suggests taking a close look at user overlap before deciding
whether or not it makes sense to maintain multiple presences. After all, if a third of the people
on your current social networking site are also on a site you're considering joining, it may not
be worthwhile to invest in a second presence, especially if you've been diligent in finding good
contacts on your current site.

Selecting the Right Tool

The first generation of social networks, many of which are still alive and kicking, were about
putting your email contact list online and connecting to the contacts of your contacts. LinkedIn
and Friendster are examples of this kind of "friend of a friend" network. The generation that
followed these were designed around the idea of sharing — people connect to one other
through a shared interests in video (YouTube), or photos (Flickr), or other content
(, StumbledUpon, Digg, Twitter).

Recently, a new generation of social networking sites has emerged that combines the friend-
of-a-friend networking with social sharing, along with mini-applications created by outside
developers that extend the functionality of these sites. These include Facebook and Google's
Open Social, which will allow you to access applications and friend lists across existing social
networks such as MySpace, Ning, LinkedIn, and others. In the long term, this will make
maintaining a presence on more than one social networking site more efficient for users, and
give your organization access to a combined list of friends.

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So, where to start? How to choose? Where can you get information to compare the
demographics and size for different social networking sites? Wikipedia's list of social
networking Web sites is an excellent free resource, providing up-to-date data on over 100
services that anyone can join.

In general, however, you are most likely to join one of three broad categories of networking

1. Generalist Social Networking Sites

These larger social networking sites — which include Facebook, Myspace — attract a wide,
more general audience. Each of these communities targets a slightly different demographic,
but also includes many sub-groups where people can network around particular interests.
Facebook and MySpace are currently the two most active social networking sites on the Web
and are where many nonprofits are setting up profiles, launching causes, or networking.
Given their popularity, fast growth, and current size, many of your existing or potential
supporters may already be actively using these services, making them a good place to start.

2. Niche Audience Social Networking Sites

These social networking sites are designed to attract a niche audience, be it a particular
demographic or topic of interest. More and more niche-audience social networks are cropping
up, from Sobercircle (for people recovering from addictions) to MyArtInfo (a social network for
artists). Niche networks for social activists include services like Care2 and Gather, among
others. Niche targeting equals more accuracy in your marketing efforts and possibly a better
return on investment. Keep in mind, however, that there are some downsides to pursuing this
niche audience. There are many social networking platforms out there right now, and not all
will remain viable over the long term. Also, with fewer people in general on these more
focused networks, you may not be casting as wide of a net as you would on other sites.

3. White-Label Social Networking Applications

White-label social networking applications allow you to build your own social networking site
with your organization's branding. One popular example of such an application is Ning; for
others, see this list of white-label tools compiled by Web strategist Jeremiah Owyang., a social network for nonprofits and causes, also recently announced its version
of a white-label network on its site, which, for a monthly hosting fee, offers nonprofits the
ability to brand their own social network, integrate it with their Web site and capture data
about users. While a white-label system offers more control, it requires you to invest
significant time in creating and building an online community.

The bottom line? Choose wisely. If you don't have the time to invest in a social network, move
on. Do your homework. Study and compare your target audience to the target audience of the
social networking site you are considering, do some initial exploratory research as an
individual user, and then decide whether to invest in an organizational presence from there.

Start slow, keeping in mind that it's better to have a deep presence on a single social
networking site than to spread your organization too thin across many.

About the Author: Beth Kanter is a trainer, blogger, and consultant who writes about social-
media tools in the nonprofit sector. She additionally develops curricula, researches, and
evaluates technology for nonprofits. You can learn more about her at

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10 Reasons Why Every Nonprofit Must Have a Blog

By Lance Trebesch and Taylor Robinson

Think your nonprofit organization has no need for a blog? You may want to think again.
According to Technorati, more than 10,500 blogs were tagged charity, 4,000 blogs nonprofit
and 2,300 blogs philanthropy in January of 2007 and these numbers are predicted to rapidly
increase in the future. Below are ten reasons your nonprofit should participate in this
movement and harness the power of the blog today.

1. Search engine optimization — Keywords and website design are important to search
engines when calculating a search result list. A focused, well-written blog on your website will
contain several keywords which improve the site's search ranking. Additionally, if the blog has
useful content, other sites will want to link to it, improving your website's level of importance.
To keep search engines current with your blog, remember to ping them regularly using one of
the many free tools such as pingomatic. For more information on search engine optimization,
read my article “Make Your Nonprofit Website a 'Hit': A 30 Day Step-By-Step Guide to Better
SEO,” or one of the many articles within Search Engine Land or Search Engine News.

2. Expert in the Field — Nonprofit organizations have a wealth of information on their specific
area of focus. This information is highly desired in online blogging communities. By posting
regularly in blogs focused on similar issues, your organization will gain a reputation for being
an expert. Bloggers want to read more postings by experts and will follow links to your
organization's website. According to the March 2007 Blog Readership Report, 67.3% of
bloggers found information by following links from other blogs. Technorati and BlogCatalog
are good directories to find topically relevant blogs. Icerocket has also done an excellent job
dissecting blogs and making them more search friendly.

3. Credibility — It is more important today than ever before for nonprofit organizations to be
trustworthy in the eyes of their contributors. One of the best ways to establish this relationship
of trust is to make events and projects as visible as possible. By having weekly updates on
projects and the projects' successes, users will know exactly what difference their donations
have made (or will make if they donate). Furthermore, project developments can be posted
onto the blog keeping the organization's efforts current (Have Fun Do Good Blog.

4. Awareness — The beauty of the “blogosphere” is that almost all blogs are linked to one
another. This creates a useful network of information that bloggers have access to. According
to Vizu’s March 2007 Blog Readership Report, more than 30% of bloggers use blogs as a
source for information. This means that with an estimated 57 million bloggers today
(Technorati), more than 17 million of them are information-thirsty bloggers who desire the kind
of content your nonprofit blog could provide. In addition, having a blog allows you to create
your own media and bypass traditional media channels which are often expensive and limited
in frequency.

5. Negative Comments — People are talking and probably writing about your nonprofit
already. Hopefully, the majority of what is said is positive, but almost inevitably there will be
some negative commentary. A blog provides a median to field complaints or concerns and
defend the decisions the organization has made. Be sure to keep the tone of the
commentaries professional and respond promptly.

6. Events — A regularly maintained blog will attract loyal readers who can easily be informed
about upcoming events. To incentivize new subscribers, or to increase the loyalty of existing
subscribers, consider having special promotions on the blog before events. It is important to
note, however, that a blog should serve to work in conjunction with the traditional channels of
marketing already in place, not to replace them.

7. Annual Report — Many nonprofits are required to compile an annual or semiannual report.
By working smarter and creating a blog, you will have most of the content for the report
already completed before you even begin compiling it (Have Fun Do Good Blog. Furthermore,

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many supporters feel that blogs are more honest and accurate than formal annual reports, so
the effort required to create the content will be more cost effective.

8. Information — One of the most difficult aspects of any nonprofit is gaining an

understanding of its supporters. A blog can help tap into this resource of information and
more. Two major information-related benefits include:

1. Allowing users to create — A blog encourages involvement in the organization. The

AARP Issues Blog allows readers to create entries about what issues they feel are important
and receive feedback from these entries.
2. Provide information to supporters — If a picture can convey a thousand words, then a
blog on your website will have a lot to say. So much of the success of a fundraising campaign
(whether you like it or not) comes from its emotional appeal. By having a blog that contains
pictures and stories, viewers will become more emotionally involved with the cause or service.

9. Fundraising — By using charity badges on your blog, you can get your supporters to help
with fundraising efforts. A charity badge can be set up quickly and allows people to share the
small graphic image you create to make donations. ChipIn and Network for Good both have
charity badges available for a small fee. There are countless examples of blogging
communities that have worked together to raise money using charity badges.

10. The “Heart” of the Organization — A blog gives you the unique opportunity to show the
organization in a totally new light. While blogs are beneficial for marketing and fundraising
purposes, their most important function should always be to convey interesting and
compelling stories about the organization.

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To Blog or Not to Blog

"To blog!" you hear from your 20-something or Summary:

tech-savvy staffers. "Not to blog" you hear from
your grizzled communications veterans and legal Eventually most organizations will
advisers. "It's basically free to turn on a blog" the blog.
first group says. "But what if people criticize our
organization" the latter group responds. Who will Before your organization starts
win this epic battle? Quite bluntly, your 20- blogging, make sure you're asking
somethings will. Yet, despite this inevitable march the right questions.
to blogdom, now may not be the right time to start
blogging. Or maybe it is. Here are a few Advanced planning will go a long way
questions you should be asking your staff to towards developing an effective blog.
determine whether now is the right time to start

1. Who will read our blog?

Everyone! Hooray! And then the money will come pouring in. Or not. A better strategy is to
keep the blog focused on a specific audience and try to avoid the temptation to speak to
everyone all the time, whether it's your advocates, potential advocates, service recipients,
friends & family members of service recipients, the public at large, members, donors, and
your neighbors). Pick your niche and nail it. Then you can start to expand if it fits your

2. What's the objective of our blog?

Sorting this out is crucial. Expect that your blog will have a soft ROI and may take months
and even years before it builds the audience and following that can turn a post into dollars or
advocacy actions. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, but manage your expectations.
Blogs can serve many different functions from serving your constituent base at a program
level to providing insights on news and analysis on how current events impacts your
constituents. For an example of excellent blogging, visit the Sierra Club - they have several
organizational blogs, each with a specific audience in mind and objectives. Whether it's
raising awareness about what individuals can do about climate change, encouraging people
to get outdoors and go hiking, or getting the Club's position on the latest news and policy by
Carl Pope, each blog has a clear purpose.

3. Does our staff have time? Will they have time two months from now?

Blogging is all about consistency. Your organization should be prepared to write quality
content once a day and no less than three times a week. Reemphasize that it must be
quality. This is no small task. Most personal blogs last three weeks before the posts stop
because bloggers run out of content or can't keep up the daily regimen. Blogging takes time,
make sure the hours are available to make it happen.

4. What does the editorial calendar look like?

Before the first blog gets written, your organization should create an editorial calendar. From
an executive perspective, this ensures that the right types of things are being talked about
with the right frequency. Every blog should have variation in content and a editorial calendar
can help here as well. I'd recommend planning out 3-4 weeks in advance to ensure that
proper research is done, if needed. If you have multiple bloggers, this helps provide firm

5. What is our editorial policy?

This is where you address potential trouble spots from trolls (i.e., people who argue for sake
of arguing) to organization detractors to overly zealous (and potentially factually incorrect)
supporters. In your editorial policy, you will determine what your organization responds to

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and when. It also establishes an escalation protocol depending upon the nature of the
comments being made. Resist the urge to over manage this process - not everything needs
to be responded to.

6. What are our community guidelines?

Having a clear, non-legalese page outlining how your organization expects people to behave
on the blog is a very good idea. What sort of comments and behavior is in bounds? What's
out of bounds? Be straight forward and make sure you can stick with it even when people are

7. How will people find our blog?

Meeting your objectives will be terribly slow if no one knows that your blog exists. Make sure
there is a plan in place to get people to your blog. Furthermore, make sure that initially those
people are the right people. The right people are your supporters who will respond to critics
so you don't have to all the time. How do you do this? Your house email list for starters.

Second, if your staff doesn't have a list of friendly (and not-so-friendly) blogs, now is the time
to create that list and start paying attention to what those blogs have to say. You'll want to
create relationships with these bloggers over time. Third, create a strategy for promoting your
blog and set readership milestones.

8. Are we prepared to relinquish a little control?

The last question you need to ask is whether your organization is ready to relinquish control.
If you effectively answered the rest of the questions above, chances are that your
organization is ready. You now have a plan for who you want to reach and how you are going
to reach them. You have a plan for dealing with critics, trolls, and overly zealous supporters.
It's now time to embrace the open web and engage the world in this format.

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The 3 Facebook Settings Every User Should Check Now

ReadWriteWeb (as printed in New York Times)

In December, Facebook made a series of bold and controversial changes regarding the
nature of its users' privacy on the social networking site. The company once known for
protecting privacy to the point of exclusivity (it began its days as a network for college kids
only - no one else even had access), now seemingly wants to compete with more open social
networks like the microblogging media darling Twitter.

Those of you who edited your privacy settings prior to December's change have nothing to
worry about - that is, assuming you elected to keep your personalized settings when
prompted by Facebook's "transition tool." The tool, a dialog box explaining the changes,
appeared at the top of Facebook homepages this past month with its own selection of
recommended settings. Unfortunately, most Facebook users likely opted for the
recommended settings without really understanding what they were agreeing to. If you did so,
you may now be surprised to find that you inadvertently gave Facebook the right to publicize
your private information including status updates, photos, and shared links.

Want to change things back? Read on to find out how.

1. Who Can See The Things You Share (Status Updates, Photo, Videos, etc.)
Probably the most critical of the "privacy" changes (yes, we mean those quotes sarcastically)
was the change made to status updates. Although there's now a button beneath the status
update field that lets you select who can view any particular update, the new Facebook
default for this setting is "Everyone." And by everyone, they mean everyone.

If you accepted the new recommended settings then you voluntarily gave Facebook the right
to share the information about the items you post with any user or application on the site.

Depending on your search settings, you may have also given Facebook the right to share that
information with search engines, too.

To change this setting back to something of a more private nature, do the following:

1. From your Profile page, hover your mouse over the Settings menu at the top right and
click "Privacy Settings" from the list that appears.
2. Click "Profile Information" from the list of choices on the next page.
3. Scroll down to the setting "Posts by Me." This encompasses anything you post,
including status updates, links, notes, photos, and videos.
4. Change this setting using the drop-down box on the right. We recommend the "Only
Friends" setting to ensure that only those people you've specifically added as a friend on the
network can see the things you post.

2. Who Can See Your Personal Info

Facebook has a section of your profile called "personal info," but it only includes your
interests, activities, and favorites. Other arguably more personal information is not
encompassed by the "personal info" setting on Facebook's Privacy Settings page. That other
information includes things like your birthday, your religious and political views, and your
relationship status.

After last month's privacy changes, Facebook set the new defaults for this other information to
viewable by either "Everyone" (for family and relationships, aka relationship status) or to
"Friends of Friends" (birthday, religious and political views). Depending on your own
preferences, you can update each of these fields as you see fit. However, we would bet that
many will want to set these to "Only Friends" as well. To do so:

1. From your Profile page, hover your mouse over the Settings menu at the top right and
click "Privacy Settings" from the list that appears.

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2. Click "Profile Information" from the list of choices on the next page.
3. The third, fourth, and fifth item listed on this page are as follows: "birthday," "religious
and political views," and "family and relationship." Locking down birthday to "Only Friends" is
wise here, especially considering information such as this is often used in identity theft.
4. Depending on your own personal preferences, you may or may not feel comfortable
sharing your relationship status and religious and political views with complete strangers. And
keep in mind, any setting besides "Only Friends" is just that - a stranger. While "Friends of
Friends" sounds innocuous enough, it refers to everyone your friends have added as friends,
a large group containing hundreds if not thousands of people you don't know. All it takes is
one less-than-selective friend in your network to give an unsavory person access to this

3. What Google Can See - Keep Your Data Off the Search Engines
When you visit Facebook's Search Settings page, a warning message pops up. Apparently,
Facebook wants to clear the air about what info is being indexed by Google. The message

There have been misleading rumors recently about Facebook indexing all your information on
Google. This is not true. Facebook created public search listings in 2007 to enable people to
search for your name and see a link to your Facebook profile. They will still only see a basic
set of information.

While that may be true to a point, the second setting listed on this Search Settings page
refers to exactly what you're allowing Google to index. If the box next to "Allow" is checked,
you're giving search engines the ability to access and index any information you've marked as
visible by "Everyone." As you can see from the settings discussed above, if you had not made
some changes to certain fields, you would be sharing quite a bit with the search
engines...probably more information than you were comfortable with. To keep your data
private and out of the search engines, do the following:

1. From your Profile page, hover your mouse over the Settings menu at the top right and
click "Privacy Settings" from the list that appears.
2. Click "Search" from the list of choices on the next page.
3. Click "Close" on the pop-up message that appears.
4. On this page, uncheck the box labeled "Allow" next to the second setting "Public
Search Results." That keeps all your publicly shared information (items set to viewable by
"Everyone") out of the search engines. If you want to see what the end result looks like, click
the "see preview" link in blue underneath this setting.

Take 5 Minutes to Protect Your Privacy

While these three settings are, in our opinion, the most critical, they're by no means the only
privacy settings worth a look. In a previous article (written prior to December's changes, so
now out-of-date), we also looked at things like who can find you via Facebook's own search,
application security, and more.

While you may think these sorts of items aren't worth your time now, the next time you lose
out on a job because the HR manager viewed your questionable Facebook photos or saw
something inappropriate a friend posted on your wall, you may have second thoughts. But
why wait until something bad happens before you address the issue?

Considering that Facebook itself is no longer looking out for you, it's time to be proactive
about things and look out for yourself instead. Taking a few minutes to run through all the
available privacy settings and educating yourself on what they mean could mean the world of
difference to you at some later point...That is, unless you agree with Facebook in thinking that
the world is becoming more open and therefore you should too.

Note: Other resources on Facebook's latest changes worth reading include MakeUseOf's 8
Steps Toward Regaining your Privacy, 17 steps to protect your privacy from Inside Facebook,
the ACLU's article examining the changes, and's comprehensive analysis of
the new settings. If you're unhappy enough to protest Facebook's privacy update, you can

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sign ACLU's petition. The FTC is also looking into the matter thanks to a complaint filed by a
coalition of privacy groups, led by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. You can add
your voice to the list of complaints here.

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Facebook may 'lock in' its Internet dominance

Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:33pm EST

Social network may be nearing "technological lock-in"

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES, Jan 27 (Reuters) - College senior Alyssa Ravasio gave up MySpace on the
day she got a Facebook account and never looked back. She has already lost interest in
Twitter. But how does Facebook know it can keep her loyalty?

The brief history of the Internet is littered with the ghosts of Websites that people have
abandoned in their relentless pursuit of something newer, faster, better and cooler.

Tech-savvy Ravasio, a 21-year-old UCLA student designing her undergraduate degree

around the Internet's impact on society and communication, is irked by changes privately
owned Facebook has made.

But for now, she says, Facebook is keeping her allegiance because of a concept called
"technological lock-in." In other words, the site has become an essential part of her life.
"I think Facebook is the most valuable Internet commodity in existence, more so than Google,
because they are positioning themselves to be our online identity via Facebook connect,"
Ravasio said.

"It's your real name, it's your real friends, and assuming they manage to navigate the privacy
quagmire, they're poised to become your universal login," she said. "I would almost argue that
Facebook is the new mobile phone. It's the new thing you need to keep in touch, almost a
requirement of modern social life."


Technological lock-in is the idea that the more a society adopts a certain technology, the
more unlikely users are to switch. Its the reason why the QWERTY keyboard layout, devised
for typewriters in the 1870s, is still the standard despite the development of several more
logical configurations.

And Facebook, which has more than 100 million users in the United States and 350 million
worldwide, appears to have nearly achieved technological lock-in, according to web marketing
research company

In December, for example, Facebook recorded nearly 112 million unique visitors in the United
States, compared to 57 million for MySpace and 20 million for Twitter, according to

Users also spent much longer on Facebook, averaging 246.9 minutes in December,
compared to 112.7 minutes on MySpace and 24.3 minutes on Twitter.

"It's something that feeds on itself," Comscore director Andrew Lipsman said. "The more
people who come into the network, the more connected they become to each other and there
actually becomes a greater cost to leaving the network."

"At some point it becomes a critical mass," he said. "It becomes so strong that its difficult to
unlock and I think Facebook has reached that point."

Skeptics might say that the same argument could have been made for MySpace just a few
years ago, when it reigned supreme among social networking sites to the extent that few
American teens would be caught dead without an account.


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But those who study web trends say that MySpace, while wildly popular, never quite reached
the worldwide domination of Facebook, which then-Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg started
in his dorm room in 2004.

Facebook initially limited membership to Harvard, then universities, a move that heightened
the draw for teens. And once Facebook opened registration to anyone in 2006, it was flooded
with members between the ages of 25 to 45.

Tim Groeling, a professor of communication studies at UCLA, said that because it was
possible to sign up for Facebook without dumping MySpace, many young people had
accounts on both sites until the center of gravity slowly shifted to Facebook.

"MySpace wasn't focused as much on the social networking aspect, which they seem to
enjoy. It wasn't quite the tight-knit social machine that Facebook seems to be," he said.
"Facebook has a certain amount of lock-in that's going to be hard for people to get past,"
Groeling said. "It's possible it could happen, but it has to overcome a high threshold of user
cost. It's their game to lose at this point."

Ravasio says that, technological lock-in aside, Facebook could potentially lose her if it keeps
annoying her, as it did when it abruptly changed a default privacy setting so that members'
pictures were public.

"All these (Internet) companies saying they'll figure out how to monetize later seem to be
forgetting that 'monetizing' has historically always meant a degradation of user experience
quality," she said.

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How to Bring Facebook Fans to Your Nonprofit Blog

A challenging social media question came in from a very small health-related nonprofit
support group, recently: How can we move the active conversation on our Facebook fan
Page over to our organization’s blog?

We’ve got a really active community at our nonprofit’s Facebook Page, with lots of discussion
going on between fans there. My question is, how can we move those fans over to our own
blog, to get the same discussion going there instead? We’d like to have more of the
conversation take place at the blog instead of so much of it stuck on Facebook… but is that
even the right thing for us to want to do?

Sounds like a good kind of problem to have!

Many nonprofits would love to see more fan activity on their Facebook Pages… but, yes,
ideally your nonprofit’s online community should be centered around your organization’s
“home base,” which is your blog or website, rather than all taking place on a third-party social

WHY Bring Your Nonprofit’s Fans to Your Blog?

Four main reasons come to mind — and perhaps you can think of other advantages to
encouraging your nonprofit’s community to be more active on your blog instead of hanging
out exclusively on Facebook:

Social Proof

When an active conversation is taking place on your blog, it can provide valuable “social
proof” for your organization. Human nature means we’re likely to be attracted to success; to
stay longer at a well-attended party; to walk past the empty restaurant… and to make a
donation or volunteer for a nonprofit that’s clearly well supported by friends and others with
shared values.

Open Doors

Comments on a blog are open to anyone you want to let in, but comments on a Facebook fan
Page are open only to people who are members of Facebook. For most organizations, a
broader audience is one of their social media goals. If that’s the case with you, an open-door
community makes good sense.

Web Exposure

Comments on a blog are more enduring, in web terms, than those that fly by on a Facebook
news feed and soon disappear. Even on older blog posts that have long since left your front
page, the archives remain to be discovered by readers through search engines, by way of
your own internal links, or using a site search tool if you have chosen to use one.

Content Control

When your own content and that generated by your users is on a website you control, rather
than hosted on a social network or other third-party service, it significantly reduces the risk of
that content disappearing if the service is discontinued or your account suddenly cancelled.
And if a user comes back to deletes a comment, after the fact, it can leave a critical gap in a
conversation. Especially if your organization’s mission tends to touch on contentious issues
that generate heated debate, you may have good reason to want to preserve the continuity of
an online discussion as well as to ensure that a third-party service can’t pull the plug on your

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On the other hand, high on the list of many nonprofits’ objections to using social media you’ll
find a justifiable concern about the risk of users posting inappropriate content on your
Facebook Page — an especially keen concern if your audience is conservative, sensitive to
certain issues or language, and/or includes youth and seniors. You may want to have the
ability to edit or moderate a specific contribution from one specific users in the interests of
your online community as a whole. That’s simple to do this with comments on a blog, but
somewhat trickier on Facebook and other social networks without tipping the balance into
censorship or outright banning, neither of which is ideal.

But let’s get back to the main question…

HOW to Bring Facebook Fans to Your Nonprofit’s Blog

Here are a few suggestions:

Drip Feed the Blog Bait

Tempt your fans to become blog readers by offering good, useful, unique content — and set it
up to post automatically to your Facebook Page.:

• How to Automatically Feed Your Blog Posts into your Facebook Page - a Video

• 13 Facebook Applications to Promote Your Blog

Hook ‘em with Headlines

Good headlines that rouse your fans interest and curiosity encourage them to click through to
your blog, to read the full post rather than just the snippet that Facebook shows:

• How to Write Headlines that Work

• Are You the 1 Person in 4 Who Reads Beyond the Ineffective Headline?

Make It Mobile

Many people check Facebook more often than websites and blogs because they tend to
spend more time on their phones than on their computers, and Facebook goes out of its way
to be mobile-friendly. Consider creating an iPhone app for your nonprofit, or even just offer a
link to a simplified mobile-friendly version of your website. Going partway to meet your
audience will often go a long way to bringing them to you!

• 5 Free Ways to Create a Mobile Version of Your Website

• 13 Tools for Building YOur Own iPhone App

Make It Easy

If you want your fans to connect with your nonprofit through your own communication tools —
blog comments, forum, email list or newsletter, whatever that might be — don’t forget to invite
them! And do provide tools to make it easy for fans to connect with you outside the semi-
walled garden of Facebook Pages:

• How to use NetworkedBlogs and Facebook to increase Blog Traffic and Engagement

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• Add a Newsletter Opt-In Box to Your Facebook Page — or simply share a link that
lets people subscribe to your blog updates by RSS feed or by email: see Get Started
with Feedburner.

Sure, much of this has become basic “best practice” for blogging in a socially networked
world, but sometimes we’re so busy keeping up with the day-to-day demands of our
organizations’ actual programs, it’s all too easy for a few items to slip off our social media
checklist so it never hurts to have a reminder.

Assuming the technology is all set up with your Facebook application and other blog
connections in place, however, here’s what I believe is the single most powerful approach
to changing how (or where) people interact with your organization:

Reward the Behavior You Want to Encourage

The fact is, some people just love Facebook. They practically live on Facebook, do very little
else when they’re online, and go online for the sole purpose of checking in with Facebook. It
is a familiar place, all their friends are there, and they have come to feel comfortable with the

So, if your fans have already got a lively little community going on your Facebook Page —
talking to each other in your Discussions tab, clicking through to your blog posts but coming
back to Facebook wall to make their response on your wall, and so on — you’ve got to ask
yourself, What would make these people want to change their habits?

Here’s the meat of the matter:

• How does Facebook reward your Fans?

• How can your nonprofit do it better?

Realistically, you simply may not be able to shift focus of all the true-blue die-hard Facebook
fans to your nonprofit’s blog. But you may be able to convert a significant number — if you
can find a way to offer the same attention, community, social proof, instant gratification and
whatever else they’re finding rewarding about being part of your nonprofit’s Facebook

We’ll be talking more about the specifics of how to reward your blog visitors, readers,
commenters and subscribers in Part Two and Part Three, coming up. In the meantime, I’d
love to hear your responses to our reader’s challenge:

How would you go about getting your nonprofit’s fans to move their conversation over from
the organization’s Facebook Page to its blog?

How to Bring Facebook Fans to Your Nonprofit Blog - Part 2

"How can our nonprofit move the active conversation from our Facebook fan Page to our
organization’s own blog?" The nonprofit that asked this question might be small, but their
challenge — how to make a nonprofit’s blog more attractive to social network users —
certainly isn’t a small one! This three-part series suggests one way to tackle it.

In How to Bring Facebook Fans to Your Nonprofit Blog - Part 1, we began by looking at WHY
you’d want to center the activity on your nonprofit’s blog. (This question is key to your social
media strategy. If you're still thinking that over, do read Jay Baer’s Should a Blog be Your
Social Media Hub, and the comment by Wendy Harman of the American Red Cross, in
particular, on Is Your Blog the Hub of Social Media Marketing at Debbie Weil's blog. Food for

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Then, we talked a bit about HOW to bring Facebook fans over to your blog, leaving off with a
quick introduction to the single most powerful approach to changing how (or where) people
interact with your organization.

And we’ll pick up at that point today:

Reward the Behavior You Want to Encourage

Teachers, dog trainers, and anyone who’s stayed awake in Psychology 101 class will spot the
principles of operant conditioning here. And in this case, the behavior we’re looking for is
participation on your nonprofit’s blog by your Facebook fans — or, let’s be frank, active
participation by any kind of blog visitors!

There are three ways to get a behavior to happen:

1. Force it: for example, by making your blog the only place where fans can interact
with your nonprofit — not recommended!
2. Lure or Bribe; and
3. Capture it.

Capturing, in this case, would be making it easy for people to visit and interact on your blog,
then generously rewarding them when they choose to do so. It is easily the most effective
method — but capturing may take a fair amount of time, and that can be a real problem when
you’ve got board members breathing down your neck and looking for results. Exercising
patience is hard work, and even more so when you can’t guarantee success on deadline.

Luring is faster. Offer something valuable for free — whether that’s one-of-a-kind content or a
chance to win a prize — and more people are likely to be drawn in to get it. The down side is
that, once you start luring, you may find you need to continue offering the goodies to keep
your fans coming back. If you can aim for a balance between these two approaches, that may
well serve you best.

Reward? What reward?

Once you’ve got people coming to your blog — and maybe they’re starting to leave a few
comments, bookmark a page or two, read about your mission, tweet a few links? — that fan
behavior needs to be rewarded if you want it to continue and grow. Think about your own life
and you’ll notice that those actions that bring a reward (pleasure, peace of mind, a pay raise)
are more likely to be repeated. You know all this from your fundraising and donor
management activities, too.

Bear in mind — this is key — a reward is only a reward if it has value to the person who’s
getting it. That’s why it helps to understand why your nonprofit’s fans (and prospective fans)
are going online in the first place. When you know what they’re looking for, logically, you’ve
got much better odds of delivering it!

So what are they looking for, these Facebook fans of yours?

A recent Ruder Finn study of online intentions reported that the bulk of people go online
looking for education and entertainment:

• Most people go online both to learn (88%) and have fun (83%);

• More than twice as many people go online to socialize (82%) than to do business
(39%) or shop (31%);

• 72% of people go online just to become part of a community.

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Hal Niedzviecki, author of The Peep Diaries, attributes the rise of social media and blogging
to loneliness and a sense of isolation — the need to connect with other individuals — along
with an urge for celebrity and, well, attention:

Nobody knows us and we don’t know anybody so we need to send outward signals about
who we are that can be instantly understood, signals that are able to indicate both our
specialness and our potential openness to alliances with similarly special people. These
signals become more and more important. We live in an atomized society of single dwellings,
lonely car commutes to work, and tenuous social connections we have to work harder and
harder to maintain.

Does that ring true to you?

In November 2009, a Sysomos study of nearly 600,000 Facebook Pages found that content
on FB falls into two broad categories (owner-generated and user-generated), and that the
volume of simple wall posts by the Page owner does not relate to the popularity of a Page.
The most popular blogs show the greatest amount of other kinds of owner-generated content
— photos, videos, links, favorites pages, and so one — and of content generated by the fans

So there are a couple strong hints about what you could be doing to make your Facebook
Page more engaging — and by extension, to make your organization’s blog more engaging,

How Facebook Rewards Your FB Page Fans

When members of Facebook become fans of your Page or interact with it in some way, by
“liking” your content or posting their own, they automatically get a reward. Depending on the
privacy settings each individual has chosen, it could be a note in their own Facebook feed or
profile page, or content posted to other social networks. It could simply be a response from
you or another Page fan… The point is, every action taken by your fans has the potential to
bring them attention and connection. A very powerful reward, indeed!

In a extremely active Facebook community, the rewarding responses often happen in real
time. Instant gratification cranks up the value and encourages the rewarded fan to participate
even more frequently. The more people who are active and are seen to be active on your
Page (this applies to blogs, too — remember “social proof”?), the more other people are likely
to jump in and do the same. Fan activity grows exponentially.

Facebookers enjoy the sense of being part of an active community where something new is
presenting itself for their attention almost constantly. Beyond just entertainment, the flow of
fresh content feeds the need to know. It's one part driven by self-education and one part by
that sense of being “in the loop” that most of us find irresistable.

Watch and Listen

Look at what content on your Facebook Page gets the most response from fans. Look at what
your own Facebook friends are doing when they go online. What can you deduce about their
motivations for using Facebook from the content they “like” and comment on and share?

And that’s a good start, but as web analytics expert Avinash Kaushik points out, the best way
to get qualitative data — information about what your audience wants and needs — is simply
to ask:

• Set up a Facebook Poll (yes, there’s an app for that) on your Page or Profile to get
quick feedback from your fans.

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• Use one of the many free tools for polls and surveys to ask your readers what
content they like best and what brings them back –, for example, is a
new and very professional-looking (free) survey tool that you can embed right in your
blog or website.

• Got a membership event coming up? When you're chatting with members and guests
over coffee, bring the talk round to their surfing habits. If Hal Niedzviecki's right, they'll
be only too happy to share.

• Put your questions to the people on your mailing list, too.

Yes, your email contacts are relevant to your blog and social media strategy! By opting in for
your newsletter, by making a donation, or by whatever (legit) method they’ve been added to
your nonprofit’s database, your existing contacts have shown an active interest in engaging
with your organization. No question but that they’ll have some insights to offer you about
what, exactly, motivates them to welcome your messages and support its mission.

The more you learn more about what brings your target audience online and how they’re
using social networks, the better you’ll be able to figure out how your organization’s blog can
begin to compete for attention.

How to Bring Facebook Fans to Your Nonprofit Blog: Part 3

This is the third and final part of a series, written in response to a reader's question about how
to get her lively community of Facebook fans more engaged on the nonprofit’s own blog.

As we discussed in Part One, there are compelling reasons to make your nonprofit’s blog or
website your online “hub” or “home base,” rather than putting all your eggs in a third-party
social network. But it’s not as simple as “build it and they will come” so, in Part Two, we took a
closer look at the motivations of your Facebook fans:

What are people are seeking when they go online, and what attracts them to Facebook in

The more you can learn about your own Facebook fans, the better equipped you’ll be to
compete for their attention by speaking to their specific needs and wants. It all comes back to
these two questions:

• How does Facebook reward your Fans?

• How can your nonprofit do it better?

Facebook offers its users an opportunity to share their photographs, videos, and other media
and favorites; to tell others what they’re doing and thinking; to share links to things they find
interesting; to comment on what others have posted; to express their opinions; to stay in
touch… and that’s before they tap into the dizzying array of apps available in the Facebook
applications directory.

The successful Page administrator will monitor what “works” and what doesn’t, and customize
accordingly to meet their fans’ preferences, so there can be a lot to learn through observation
of other nonprofits’ Facebook Pages as well as your own online community.

The bottom line on Facebook’s appeal is user-generated content. The fans not only create
the community around a Page, they define in large part how they want to experience it. And
there are two sides to web content from the user perspective: they can consume content or
create it. That is, there is web content that users read, watch, hear, or otherwise consume

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more or less passively; and there is web content that enables and encourages the active
participation of users in creating their own community culture on the site.

So here’s the first half of the equation:

How can you make your nonprofit’s web content appeal to the widest possible range of

Mix it up!

Your nonprofit's web content might take any number of forms, including:

• Blog posts
• Website pages
• RSS news feeds
• Newsletters
• Email blasts
• Spreadsheets
• FAQs
• Reports and ebooks
• Charts and graphs
• Maps
• Photographs
• Cartoons and illustrations
• Videos
• Audio/Podcasts
• Webinars
• Slideshows and presentations
• etc.

Variety of content delivery methods, as we know from many studies of internet usage, can
increase the level of user engagement with your site. Novelty is part of it, but not the whole
story. Different people “learn” in different ways — some people are more visual, some are
more oriented to language — and there are accessibility factors to take into account as well,
especially if your nonprofit serves people with differing abilities.

There are plenty of free or low-cost tools to try out, and we’ve talked about lots of them
already: from Animoto to Mofuse, and from custom campaign maps to eye-catching charts,
and including cross-platform tools like Twitterfountain that brings Twitter and Flickr together in
a nifty widget. We’ve also looked at tools to help your readers to dig into your content more
deeply, such as site search widgets or custom newspages, as well as various RSS tools for
delivering that content to your fans in the ways they’ll find most convenient.

Useful new free or low-cost tools are coming out all the time, so keep your eyes open for
something fresh to try!

The second half?

Let your fans create their own content.

Run down the list of content delivery methods you’re already using — or are considering for
your website or blog — to see how you can enable readers and fans to participate more

Let’s take your blog posts and website pages, for example. How might your fans take a
more active role there?

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Share it

Social bookmarking buttons like AddThis, ShareThis, and similar services give you a snippet
of code to paste into your blog or web page, so visitors can easily bookmark your post or
page and recommend it to their friends. (This can be a terrific traffic-builder for you site, too.)

Rate it

Who doesn’t like to give an opinion? A simple ratings widget like the excellent five-star widget
from Outbrain or one of PollDaddy’s rating widgets (they offer both five-star and thumbs-
up/down styles) may be a good addition to your blog, particularly if your nonprofit serves
teens and young adults.

Discuss it

Comments are the undisputed Big King Daddy of user-generated content, so you’ll want to
make sure that you’ve enabled comments on your nonprofit’s blog unless there’s a compelling
reason not to do so. (Part Two suggested a few good resources to help you get more
comments on your blog and use them to build a sense of online community.) And it’s easy
enough to enable the comment function of most blogging platforms.

But what if you’ve got a static website — web pages without a built-in comments function?
Consider adding a guestbook, chat room, or forum to let your site visitors share their ideas
and opinions (see 5 Quick Free Ways to Set Up Your Own Chat Room and the “Discussion
Forums/Online Communities” section of 100 Online Tools for Nonprofits for some options
there). Alternatively, you might look at a “social commenting” system like Disqus or
IntenseDebate which can be installed on both blogging platforms and static HTML websites.

Suggest it

One of the most effective ways to engage someone in conversation — on blogs or in the real
world — is to let them pick the topic that interests them most. Could you use one of the many
free tools for creating your own polls and surveys to check in with your fans about what types
of content and topics they prefer?

Or ask your fans to help you crowdsource a list of web resources. SlinkSet, for example, lets
you set up your own Digg-like social link-submission and voting site — with a handy feature
that is not often mentioned: the ability to create a widget to show the top-voted links in your

Write it

Guest posts?

Well, you get the idea…

Next, do the same with photographs, videos, whatever other kind of content your organization
publishes online — look for ways that your fans can take a more active role in creating that
content. YouTube Direct, for example, is one tool we’ve talked about already that lets you
create a (moderated) video channel to share your community’s videos on your site.

And remember the big conference of association professionals in Toronto last summer? The
ASAE annual meeting website ran a Twitterstream of #asae09 tweets throughout the event so
people who weren’t able to travel could be “virtual attendees” and follow along. Couldn’t you
do something similar for your own events, through the magic of RSS?

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Ask your members what other platforms they may be using to publish their own content
(Slideshare? Flickr? VoiceThread?) and, if appropriate and feasible, consider showcasing that
member-created content on your organization’s website… The possibilities are virtually

One Final Note:

Nonprofits do have a fine line to walk with user-generated content, true. While individuals,
entrepreneurs and small business folks can be a bit more adventurous with their website
content, nonprofit communicators must answer to an executive board, donors, constituents,
other stakeholders — and, oftten, the general public — all of whom are likely to have very
strong opinions about what is appropriate content for a nonprofit site.

Those stakeholders may be understandably nervous about allowing user-generated content

on the site, but measures such as forum registration and comment moderation, guided by a
thoughtful social media policy, can go a long way to keeping the content family-friendly and
relatively spam-free.

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Using Social Media in Your Nonprofit: Overcoming Objections

Posted by: Debra Askanase

Last week I gave an “introduction to social media” presentation to the Board of Directors of a
multinational nonprofit organization. This was the normal “what is social media” overview, a
review and overview of the popular platforms (Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, blogs, etc.) and
summary of how to get started in social media. By the time I was 10 minutes into the
presentation, I had heard three objections to using social media, and these objections kept
coming at me throughout the entire time I presented. It has been a long time since I was in a
room of people scared of social media. I’m going to take this opportunity to address their
objections one at a time. At the end of this blog post, please tell me if you think I’ve
satisfactorily addressed the concerns, and how you might add to these responses.

1. It’s not safe! What about the BU Craigslist killer? (someone REALLY asked this
question in the presentation)

The”BU Craigslist killer” was actually Philip Markoff, a Boston University medical student who
looked for massage ads on Craigslist and then attacked the women giving massages. In
essence, how is this any different than if Mr. Markoff had responded to a newspaper print
ad? Did social media promote the massage ads? NO. Craigslist is not social media, but an
online classified advertising site. In this instance, for massages. Is one of your nonprofit’s core
services providing massages in hotel rooms? If yes, then you might have to worry. But if your
core mission is about helping save the whales, or feed the homeless, or provide rehab
services to veterans, then you really don’t need to worry.

When I asked my Twitter followers for their responses to this question, my personal favorite
was from Teresa Boze, who wrote: “I’d tell them most household accidents happen in the
bathroom… watch out for the toilet bowl monster.”

On a more serious note, if your organization promotes conversation on sites geared to teens,
then you do have a responsibility to ensure that the conversation includes safeguards against
teen predators. Just as in real life, if you bring teenagers together, there should always be a
responsible adult present.

2. What if our biggest rival pretends to be us online?

Sheena T. Abraham responded (via Twitter) to this objection with “that’s why you have to
build your own online credibility as much as you can, build trust with the online audience.”
This is one great answer to the question! If an organization builds its own relationship online
with its stakeholders, then this is what will likely happen when a rival impersonates the

• the real organization’s stakeholders will notice and alert the real organization of the
• the phony organization will not have the ability to create a phony online profile
because the real organization has already claimed its online profiles at KnowEm.
The truth is that “it’s almost impossible to get your brand name or username back
once it’s been taken” on a social media site, unlike buying back a website domain
name, according to the KnowEm blog.

Secondly, listening for mentions of your organization online will alert you to this phenomenon,
and your organization can quickly address the issue of the “phony brand name.” I cover this
topic further in depth below.

Go get your social media online profile and begin to engage!

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3. Social media means a lot of work and we don’t have the staff time to do that.

I hear that. I’ve worked at nonprofit organizations with two staff people, with 20, and
everything in-between. No matter how many staff people your organization employs, they will
always be overtaxed, overworked, with no time to do social media. This will never change. It
is the nature of not-for-profit organizations. A good social media strategy takes into account
how social media will help your organization better fulfill its mission (engage with
stakeholders) and create real benefits to the organization (listen to members, engage with
stakeholders, vet new program ideas, measure responses, etc.) With that in mind, how do
you not have the time? Amy Sample Ward writes on Twitter that “organizations want a
person or department to “own” the task/responsibility instead of seeing it as a tool to aid all
departments’ work.”

Carie Lewis from the Humane Society of the US (she’s their Brand Ambassador) holds a 9-
minute staff meeting every day to inform each and every one of the HSUS employees about
“what’s going on that day – PR, what people are talking about on Twitter, etc.”

Wendy Harman, of the American Red Cross, writes that “We distribute a daily social media
update email that contains a sampling of most relevant mentions.” Everyone must be
involved. No more silos.

If social media activities let your organization to grow, soar, and be more efficient, then
determine your staff time and resources and create a social media strategy that will
accommodate organizational limitations.

4. There is no place in our organization for social media.

Organizations are used to placing departments in silos. The organizing

department…organizes the community. The fundraising department… raises money. The
research department…researches. Where is the “social media department?” The
organizations that implement social media most effectively include everyone in social media,
whether it is merely apprising them of the latest activities or including them in the strategy
sessions. Social media is the entire organization’s “new website”…its composite brand
identity. Every department must be involved in some way.

Amy Sample Ward again writes (via Twitter) to those that argue “there is no ‘home’ for social
media in any of the organization’s departments, obviously I would argue there is home in ALL
of the departments for it.”

5. People will attack us online with negative critique.

I have news for you: if you are worried about this, then they are already attacking you
online. If your organization is worried about negative critique, then the best thing that you can
do is to be where your critics are…online. The dissatisfied clients/customers of your nonprofit
organization will find a way to critique your organization no matter what – via Twitter, blog
posts, commenting on forums and discussion boards, and many other places. The very best
action your nonprofit organization can do is create a social media presence, listen for any and
all organizational mentions online, and develop an online presence. By developing a loyal
brand following online, your organization is positioned to respond quickly to all negative
remarks, and leverage the loyalty of your followers to pass along your online responses. For
more detailed suggestions on how to engage in proactive reputation management, see a prior
post on this subject.

The final thought comes from Danielle Lanyard via Twitter: “nonprofits were built on an old
corporate model where nonprofits are defined by differences from competition vs. a
collaborative model which is social media.” Social media leverages the collaborative
experience, knowledge and information of everyone online to fulfill the organization’s goals.
The knowledge gained, productive collaborations, extended organizational reach, and

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increased stakeholder (and donor!) engagement should far outweigh fears about using social

Thanks for reading! Do you have other suggestions for overcoming objections to social
media? Have you heard these objections before? Are there other objections that you want to
add, and how you have addressed them? I welcome your participation in this conversation!

Please also visit Amy Sample Ward’s blog, who continues this conversation by inviting her
readers to contribute their own Comeback Lines to Social Media Objectors.

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Is the Right Person Doing Your Nonprofit's Social Media?

Who handles the social media marketing for your nonprofit? Often, in a small organization,
the job falls to the most enthusiastic person — or to the Gen Yer on staff (on the theory that
“that generation knows all about this web stuff”) — but wouldn’t it be nice if there were some
convenient scoring system to help you pick the right person?

Tom Humbarger has come up with a skills-assessment matrix based on the D.A.R.C.
framework suggested by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah in their hit marketing book,
Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.

The original framework’s explained in the chapter, “Hiring in the DARC Ages: Are the Right
People on Your Marketing Team?” (a free PDF of this chapter is available online) — well
worth reading — but in brief, here’s the idea:

D = Hire Digital Citizens

A = Hire for Analytical chops
R = Hire for Web Reach
C = Hire Content Creators

… In baseball, a “five tooled” player is one who can field, throw, hit for average, hit for power,
and steal bases—an ideal player! In inbound marketing, an ideal hire is a “four tooled” player:
a Digital Citizen who is Analytical, has Web Reach, and who can Create remarkable content.
Will it be easy to find D, A, R, and C in spades? Probably not—there just are not a lot of them
around yet! If you have a very small business, then you want to try to get as many of these
qualities in one person as you can. ~ Halligan & Shah: Inbound Marketing

Tricky to measure, yes, but have a look at Humbarger’s scoring matrix, which he’s been good
enough to make available on Slideshare. (What factors strike you as most relevant to your
organization’s social media outreach? Anything you would add or change there?)

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The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The theme of this year’s World Communications Day - The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a
Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word – is meant to coincide with the Church’s
celebration of the Year for Priests. It focuses attention on the important and sensitive pastoral
area of digital communications, in which priests can discover new possibilities for carrying out
their ministry to and for the Word of God. Church communities have always used the modern
media for fostering communication, engagement with society, and, increasingly, for
encouraging dialogue at a wider level. Yet the recent, explosive growth and greater social
impact of these media make them all the more important for a fruitful priestly ministry.

All priests have as their primary duty the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of
God, and the communication of his saving grace in the sacraments. Gathered and called by
the Word, the Church is the sign and instrument of the communion that God creates with all
people, and every priest is called to build up this communion, in Christ and with Christ. Such
is the lofty dignity and beauty of the mission of the priest, which responds in a special way to
the challenge raised by the Apostle Paul: “The Scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him
will be put to shame … everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ But how
can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of
whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how
can people preach unless they are sent? (Rom 10:11, 13-15).

Responding adequately to this challenge amid today’s cultural shifts, to which young people
are especially sensitive, necessarily involves using new communications technologies. The
world of digital communication, with its almost limitless expressive capacity, makes us
appreciate all the more Saint Paul’s exclamation: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1
Cor 9:16) The increased availability of the new technologies demands greater responsibility
on the part of those called to proclaim the Word, but it also requires them to become become
more focused, efficient and compelling in their efforts. Priests stand at the threshold of a new
era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they
are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of
the Word.

The spread of multimedia communications and its rich “menu of options” might make us think
it sufficient simply to be present on the Web, or to see it only as a space to be filled. Yet
priests can rightly be expected to be present in the world of digital communications as faithful
witnesses to the Gospel, exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which
increasingly express themselves with the different “voices” provided by the digital
marketplace. Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest
generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites)
which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue,
evangelization and catechesis.

Using new communication technologies, priests can introduce people to the life of the Church
and help our contemporaries to discover the face of Christ. They will best achieve this aim if
they learn, from the time of their formation, how to use these technologies in a competent and
appropriate way, shaped by sound theological insights and reflecting a strong priestly
spirituality grounded in constant dialogue with the Lord. Yet priests present in the world of
digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly
heart, their closeness to Christ. This will not only enliven their pastoral outreach, but also will
give a “soul” to the fabric of communications that makes up the “Web”.

God’s loving care for all people in Christ must be expressed in the digital world not simply as
an artifact from the past, or a learned theory, but as something concrete, present and
engaging. Our pastoral presence in that world must thus serve to show our contemporaries,
especially the many people in our day who experience uncertainty and confusion, “that God is

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near; that in Christ we all belong to one another” (Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia,
21 December 2009).

Who better than a priest, as a man of God, can develop and put into practice, by his
competence in current digital technology, a pastoral outreach capable of making God
concretely present in today’s world and presenting the religious wisdom of the past as a
treasure which can inspire our efforts to live in the present with dignity while building a better
future? Consecrated men and women working in the media have a special responsibility for
opening the door to new forms of encounter, maintaining the quality of human interaction, and
showing concern for individuals and their genuine spiritual needs. They can thus help the men
and women of our digital age to sense the Lord’s presence, to grow in expectation and hope,
and to draw near to the Word of God which offers salvation and fosters an integral human
development. In this way the Word can traverse the many crossroads created by the
intersection of all the different “highways” that form “cyberspace”, and show that God has his
rightful place in every age, including our own. Thanks to the new communications media, the
Lord can walk the streets of our cities and, stopping before the threshold of our homes and
our hearts, say once more: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice
and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20).

In my Message last year, I encouraged leaders in the world of communications to promote a

culture of respect for the dignity and value of the human person. This is one of the ways in
which the Church is called to exercise a “diaconia of culture” on today’s “digital continent”.
With the Gospels in our hands and in our hearts, we must reaffirm the need to continue
preparing ways that lead to the Word of God, while being at the same time constantly
attentive to those who continue to seek; indeed, we should encourage their seeking as a first
step of evangelization. A pastoral presence in the world of digital communications, precisely
because it brings us into contact with the followers of other religions, non-believers and
people of every culture, requires sensitivity to those who do not believe, the disheartened and
those who have a deep, unarticulated desire for enduring truth and the absolute. Just as the
prophet Isaiah envisioned a house of prayer for all peoples (cf. Is 56:7), can we not see the
web as also offering a space – like the “Court of the Gentiles” of the Temple of Jerusalem –
for those who have not yet come to know God?

The development of the new technologies and the larger digital world represents a great
resource for humanity as a whole and for every individual, and it can act as a stimulus to
encounter and dialogue. But this development likewise represents a great opportunity for
believers. No door can or should be closed to those who, in the name of the risen Christ, are
committed to drawing near to others. To priests in particular the new media offer ever new
and far-reaching pastoral possibilities, encouraging them to embody the universality of the
Church’s mission, to build a vast and real fellowship, and to testify in today’s world to the new
life which comes from hearing the Gospel of Jesus, the eternal Son who came among us for
our salvation. At the same time, priests must always bear in mind that the ultimate fruitfulness
of their ministry comes from Christ himself, encountered and listened to in prayer; proclaimed
in preaching and lived witness; and known, loved and celebrated in the sacraments,
especially the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation.

To my dear brother priests, then, I renew the invitation to make astute use of the unique
possibilities offered by modern communications. May the Lord make all of you enthusiastic
heralds of the Gospel in the new “agorà” which the current media are opening up.

With this confidence, I invoke upon you the protection of the Mother of God and of the Holy
Curè of Ars and, with affection, I impart to each of you my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 24 January 2010, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales.

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God joins Twitter, rewrites Bible:
Old version of Scripture "wasn't reaching people anymore," so Lord shrinks psalms and other
stories to 140 characters each and "live blogs" the Last Supper.

By Andy Helfduke, Staff Writer

In the beginning, God tweeted:

Day 1: Lighting system installed. BRB.

Days 2-6: Some assembly required: sky, plants, cows, people. Left humans in charge, LOL.
Day 7: Siesta

That's how the story of creation is told in "The Twitter Bible," God's latest attempt to spread
His message.

"The old version of Scripture wasn't reaching people anymore," He explained at a press
conference where every question seemed to be anticipated before reporters could ask. "So I
signed up for"

Writing under the pseudonym WWGT (What Would God Tweet?), the Lord has begun
condensing Bible stories into hip, 140-character updates. "Even I can't resist the awesome
power of Twitter," He said. "I just hope I still have enough name recognition to attract more
followers on the site than @RyanSeacrest or @The_Real_Shaq."

To boost His audience, God plans to sprinkle posts with pop culture references and, if
necessary, winning lottery numbers. For example, Psalm 23 will read, "The Lord is my
iPhone. If I need to visit a pasture, there's an app for that. If I need to walk the valley of death,
there's an app for that."

Meanwhile, the Book of Jonah gets condensed to a mere three sentences: "Jonah = reverse
sushi. Big fish eats raw human, minus wasabi, then barfs him up 3 days later. Jonah's scared-
straight talk saves Nineveh."

God also hopes to live-blog the Last Supper, and include links to reviews of the
food ("tastes like chicken") by Jesus' apostles.

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'Twitter Bible' Converts Scripture into Mini Messages

A new so-called "Twitter Bible," which summarizes the over 31,000-verse Bible into nearly
4,000 short-form tweets, is being released at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week.

Thu, Oct. 15, 2009 Posted: 12:43 PM EDT

A new so-called “Twitter Bible,” which summarizes the over 31,000-verse Bible into nearly
4,000 short-form tweets, is being released at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week.
Formally named And God Decided to Chill, the German language book is the compilation of
tweets by more than 3,000 German Christians who participated in the church project earlier
this year.

In honor of the Pentecost holiday, German Christians used the micro-blogging service Twitter
to summarize 3,906 Bible sections into 140 character messages, according to Berlin-based
newspaper “The Local.” Though the project was scheduled for May 20-30, it was completed
37 hours ahead of schedule and achieved a world record.

The tweets were sometimes entertaining, such as the tweet describing God’s day of rest after
creation: “Thank God! It’s Sunday!”

Melanie Huber, portal manager of the Protestant Web site, which
launched the project, said about the initiative: “We want with this action to encourage a
debate about the Bible and to simultaneously show the modern possibilities that exist to
receive and make known the Word of God,” according to Ecumenical News International.

Similarly in the United States, many Christian leaders have found Twitter to be an effective
ministry tool to share the Word of God. Popular Christian leaders such as Pastors Rick
Warren, John Piper, and Mark Driscoll have tens of thousands of Twitter followers who read
their daily updates on Christian insight on daily life, Bible verses of the day, and projects
they’re working on.

Some U.S. churches have even embraced the micro-blogging service to the point of flashing
tweets from worshippers on large video screens during Sunday service.
Ministry leader Greg Stier, president of Dare 2 Share Ministries, in a column contended that
Jesus would have been a Twitter enthusiast and set out to brainstorm possible tweets He
would have posted.

Some of the hypothetical tweets from Jesus include: “40 days without food. Satan doing a full
court temptation press. Does he really think he can win?” “Just healed ten lepers, only one
came back to thank me. Nothing worse than ungrateful ex-lepers”; “5 loaves + 2 fishes x the
power of God = Fish and Chips for 5,000! Thanks for your lunch kid!” “Watching my disciples
as I ascend to heaven. They look helpless. Will send Holy Spirit soon.”

Jokes aside, Reformed Baptist theologian John Piper in an article this year explained why he
engages in social internet media such as blogging, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. He said
that while there are many arguments against using these technology, such as feeding into
narcissism and weakening discursive reasoning, he leaned towards the argument of filling
these media with the Bible and the teaching of Christ.

"We are aware that the medium tends to shape the message," Piper said.
"But it seems to us that aggressive efforts to saturate a media with the supremacy of God, the
truth of Scripture, the glory of Christ, the joy of the gospel, the insanity of sin, and the radical
nature of Christian living is a good choice for some Christians," he said, adding that they may
not be good for all and that some of these media should be abstained from.

Since its launch in 2006, Twitter has grown to over 32 million users.

The nearly 4,000 tweets from the German Christians can now be seen in book form at the
Frankfurt Book Fair, which opened on Wednesday and will conclude on Oct. 18.

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The Internet in 2009

• 90 trillion – The number of emails sent on the Internet in 2009.
• 247 billion – Average number of email messages per day.
• 1.4 billion – The number of email users worldwide.
• 100 million – New email users since the year before.
• 81% – The percentage of emails that were spam.
• 92% – Peak spam levels late in the year.
• 24% – Increase in spam since last year.
• 200 billion – The number of spam emails per day (assuming 81% are spam).

• 234 million – The number of websites as of December 2009.
• 47 million – Added websites in 2009.

Domain names
• 81.8 million – .COM domain names at the end of 2009.
• 12.3 million – .NET domain names at the end of 2009.
• 7.8 million – .ORG domain names at the end of 2009.
• 76.3 million – The number of country code top-level domains (e.g. .CN, .UK, .DE,
• 187 million – The number of domain names across all top-level domains (October
• 8% – The increase in domain names since the year before.

Internet users
• 1.73 billion – Internet users worldwide (September 2009).
• 18% – Increase in Internet users since the previous year.
• 738,257,230 – Internet users in Asia.
• 418,029,796 – Internet users in Europe.
• 252,908,000 – Internet users in North America.
• 179,031,479 – Internet users in Latin America / Caribbean.
• 67,371,700 – Internet users in Africa.
• 57,425,046 – Internet users in the Middle East.
• 20,970,490 – Internet users in Oceania / Australia.

Social media
• 126 million – The number of blogs on the Internet (as tracked by BlogPulse).
• 84% – Percent of social network sites with more women than men.
• 27.3 million – Number of tweets on Twitter per day (November, 2009)
• 57% – Percentage of Twitter’s user base located in the United States.
• 4.25 million – People following @aplusk (Ashton Kutcher, Twitter’s most followed
• 350 million – People on Facebook.
• 50% – Percentage of Facebook users that log in every day.
• 500,000 – The number of active Facebook applications.

• 4 billion – Photos hosted by Flickr (October 2009).
• 2.5 billion – Photos uploaded each month to Facebook.
• 30 billion – At the current rate, the number of photos uploaded to Facebook per year.

• 1 billion – The total number of videos YouTube serves in one day.
• 12.2 billion – Videos viewed per month on YouTube in the US (November 2009).

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• 924 million – Videos viewed per month on Hulu in the US (November 2009).
• 182 – The number of online videos the average Internet user watches in a month
• 82% – Percentage of Internet users that view videos online (USA).
• 39.4% – YouTube online video market share (USA).
• 81.9% – Percentage of embedded videos on blogs that are YouTube videos.

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New Statistics on Internet, Social Media Use

Pew Internet & American Life Project has just published a new research study on Social
Media and Young Adults, which — despite its title — has insights to offer about all age groups
of American users of the Internet.

There are a number of statistics here that will be of interest to nonprofits wanting to connect
with or recruit members and donors online. For example, the study shows, among other
insights, an increase in the numbers of both teen and adult Americans who spend time on
social networks, and that Facebook still dominates across all age groups.

Who’s online?

• 93% of teens ages 12-17 go online, as do 93% of young adults ages 18-29.
Three-quarters (74%) of all adults ages 18 and older go online.

Who’s using social networks?

• 47% of online adults use social networking sites, up from 37% in November

• Adults are increasingly fragmenting their social networking experience as a

majority of those who use social networking sites – 52% – say they have two
or more different profiles. That is up from 42% who had multiple profiles in
May 2008.

• Facebook is currently the most commonly-used online social network among

adults. Among adult profile owners 73% have a profile on Facebook, 48%
have a profile on MySpace and 14% have a LinkedIn profile.

The study also looked at rates of Internet adoption and trends, what gadgets are owned by
which age groups of Americans, the penetration of broadband and wireless connectivity, the
types of activities engaged in online, and a host of other interesting statistics.

I found its findings about the online consumption of news and current events were particularly
interesting: Might this suggest that nonprofits who are active on current events and political
issues have a stronger reason than ever to respond promptly online to headlines that relate to
their missions?

• Two-thirds of online white teens (66%) say they have gone online to get news
or information about current events or politics, while 44% of black teens and
59% of English-speaking Hispanic teens have done the same.

• 72% of online adults get news online [and] 68% of online adults get news or
information online that is specifically about politics. The percentage of adult
internet users who get news online has held fairly constant since 2002,
[while] getting political news online has increased dramatically since [March
2000, when] just 35% of online adults were getting political news online.

You can read the entire report online (or get a PDF download) at

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10 Newbie Twitter Mistakes Made By Businesses
by Mike Johansson on 03/08/2010 00:01 16 comments , 15447 views

Businesses jumping into social media often see Twitter as a “simple” part of the plan: set up
an account and start tweeting. Sadly some even get stuck right after the set up part. Here are
10 mistakes business newbies on Twitter should avoid:

1. Doing Little or Nothing

With an estimated 25 to 30 percent of Twitter accounts either empty or “one tweet and done”
is it surprising that these accounts generate little interest from others on Twitter? Your inactive
or virtually inactive account sends a clear message that you’ve given up on Twitter.

2. Desperately Following
If you’re following hundreds of people and only a few dozen are following back doesn’t that
send a message that you desperately want followers but aren’t getting them? Why not be
patient and never let your Following count get more than 10 percent higher than your
Followers count?

3. Tweeting Too Much

If you’re guilty of this you will annoy your followers and water down your message… which
likely means you’ll lose followers faster than you get them. How much is too much? Start
slowly and only tweet useful stuff two or three times a day. As you slowly increase this over
several months pay attention to what, if anything, gets a response (it's retweeted or
commented on) … and when this happens. Let this be your guide.

4. Mostly Self-Promotional
Too much “me, me, me” talk will mark you as boring … or worse. Add value for others on
Twitter and more followers will come. Mention your business or services only when you’ve
been asked or in direct response to a stated need. If you consistently give, you’re followers
will do the same and your good behavior will be well rewarded.

5. Failure to Connect
It can be tempting for businesses to give a Twitter monologue instead of engaging in a
dialogue. If you get to know your followers by asking and answering questions, for example,
you’ll show that you’re interested in them. They in turn will learn about you. This also means
responding to any “@” messages promptly (within a day at most).

6. Not Helping Others

Acting as a connector or problem-solver will earn you loyal followers. Sometimes the simple
act of retweeting a piece of great content will be seen as being helpful. Twitter truly is a place
of getting more than you give, but you have to give first.

7. Mixing Business and Pleasure

Sending a mix of business and personal tweets can work when you’re well-established, but a
better practice for a business new to Twitter is to keep it all professional. Otherwise you’re
sending the message: We don’t know enough to keep our personal lives out of our business.

8. Impersonal avatars
Yes your business name or logo is important, but Twitter (and all social media) is about
people. Use an avatar image that reflects your people not your brand name.

9. Wasting background space

Twitter gives you a lot of real estate around your Twitter-stream … don’t waste it. Use it to let
people know what you do and why you do it. Put your people and the business personality on
display. It’s also OK here to list a few other contact points such as email address, phone
numbers and other social media URLs.

10. Not Checking In Regularly

Maintaining a Twitter account needs to become part of your routine. Once a day or twice a

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day or more, but it does need to become a regular thing to have any chance of helping your

So what am I missing? I’d love to hear other things businesses who are new on Twitter should
do to improve their chances of social media success.

A Related Post:
Twetiquette: 10 basics for Twitter politeness

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The 11 Commandments of Corporate Tweeting

Last week, the Department of Defense issued its social-media policy, an admirably
permissive guide for military personnel governing their use of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Flickr,
and YouTube. The upshot? It's all good, the Pentagon says.

The Pentagon's ostensible support of social networking is particularly remarkable when you
consider that corporate America, and the rest of the corporate world, for that matter, finds
Twitter and the like so vexing from a corporate-policy standpoint. Recent surveys show that a
full seven out of 10 American companies—and nearly eight out of 10 British firms—still have
yet to address how the company and its employees are to utilize social media—if at all—in
the workplace.

With this in mind, I decided today to update some advice that I delivered last spring to
executives pondering a Twitter strategy. (Yes, the advice focused on Twitter, but any
company that addresses Twitter correctly can easily adapt this across all social-media
channels.) Here goes.

Should the company be tweeting? Only if it can live up to these 10 (um, now 11)

1. We can articulate the company vision in 140 characters or less, minus PR puffery and
2. We are willing to give credit to cool, innovative, or thought-provoking ideas, even if
coined by someone else.
3. We are willing to challenge a potentially destructive position even if our position
generates criticism.
4. We are willing to listen to and engage with others, even if "others" = employees,
customers, or activists.
5. We will not get carried away, never tweeting about a fresh "cuppa," or worse, some
banal corporate achievement.
6. We will dedicate time each week to reading what others have to say and promise to
retweet ("RT") the most clever, valuable, and even humorous.
7. We will never include in a press release, speech, or annual report our "Twitter
followers" figure, no matter how tempting.
8. We actually have something meaningful to say.
9. If we don't have something to say, we'll find the person in the organization best suited
for speaking/tweeting on behalf of the company.
10. If we cannot live up to these commandments we will reflect on whether corporate
marketing is the right role for us.
11. We will use our Twitter channel not just to bump out cheery news, but to keep
customers informed in the event of bad news (i.e., a product recall, a hostile take-
over, a PR crisis), too.

• Bernhard Warner is editorial director of Social Media Influence.

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L I N K S / R E S O U R C E S – Consulting firm working with Jewish groups

The Jewish Non-Profit Guide to Social Media Marketing

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofit Organizations Can Use Social Media to Power Social Networks
for Change ( - Beth Kanter

What is Social Media? (online slideshow presentation) -
Viral Video "Charts" (by Ad Age) -

Open Siddur Project -

The Open Siddur is a volunteer driven project to create a free resource for folks crafting their
own siddur (Jewish prayer book). We intend to collaboratively build an archive of material that
makes up the siddur — texts, translations, instructional material, commentaries, essays, and
other associated media. Along with the archive, we are building the software that can be used
to put together the building blocks to customize and personalize the siddur. Ultimately,
siddurim prepared from this content may be printed on your home printer, by on-demand print
shop, or in cooperation with a book artist.

See also:
And this (RFP):

What is
Coming your way in 2010, will bring Greater Boston’s vibrant Jewish
resources together into one inviting and open online destination that gets more and more
people participating in Jewish life.
This first release of will showcase all events and resources, making
participation as easy as reading movie reviews or buying concert tickets online.
Organizations will use it to promote their services and presence. Individuals will link to it from
Facebook and Twitter and other social media. Over time, everyone will be able to create
content and personalize the site to their particular interests. holds an important key to our future. Given how critical the web is for
reaching the next generation, it’s time for our community to take better advantage of it. In a
world of choice, our presence must be compelling – and it must be online.

31 Days 31 Ideas -

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New Jewish content websites of note:

3. – (Video Interviews)
4. Jewish Social Media -

Christian Bible verses on Twitter (daily)


Jewish Torah Twitter:

1. Article: Rabbi tweets Torah 4 Jews on the go

a. His book: Twitter Torah by Rabbi Ben Greenberg:
2. Torah Tweets: - long list of "Tweeting" rabbis
3. Rabbi Shai Gluskin:

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Sue Fishkoff and Stacey Palevsky,, January 7, 2010:
8 /servlet/Satellite?cid=1263147978593&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
Phillip Brodsky, JewPoint0, blog of Darim Online, November 20, 2009
This is an excerpt dealing with his commentary on the Internet.
"Inside the Jewish Internet Defense Force," no date given, apparently from Summer 2008 based on
references in the article.
Original link has embedded video not given here.
23, September 16, 2009
settings-every-user-should-c-29287.html?em=&pagewanted=print , January 20, 2010
Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVIfor the 44th World Communications Day, Sunday, 16
May 2010
"Internet 2009 in numbers,", January 22, 2010. Data sources: Website and web server
stats from Netcraft. Domain name stats from Verisign and Internet user stats from

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Internet World Stats. Email stats from Radicati Group.Online video stats from Comscore, Sysomos and
YouTube. Photo stats from Flickr and Facebook. Social media stats from BlogPulse, Pingdom (here
and here), Twittercounter, Facebook and GigaOm.

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