Reclaim Your Social Media Space

Written by Guest Blogger, 07 of July, 2014

Reinventing my Social Media Presence: A Jewish Educator’s Rant – Part Two

By: Rabbi Arnold Samlan

In Part One of my “rant”, I suggested Ten Commandments of Social Media to be observed as I moved my social media presence to a better place. During May – June 2014, my work of reclaiming my social media was set out in small daily installments on Twitter and on Facebook. Below is the list of the steps I took, as a post each day for about a month, edited for those of us in the fields of Jewish education and Jewish communal service.

Social Media Reclamation:

1. Social media is social. Be cautious of people who watch you, but don’t share at all. Some of them are simply introverts; nothing wrong with that. Some may have created accounts but are no longer actively using social media. But a few may be people who are, well, kind of “spying”. In my case, for example, I blocked the ability on Facebook for anyone to “follow” my posts.

2. Choose “friends” carefully. When I allow students to “friend” me, I know that I will see things about them that I might rather not know or see. I take a deep breath when I accept their friendship. And accept them for who they are.

3. There’s enough hatred in the world. Keep cleaning out people who consistently add hatred, and be sure to delete sarcastic comments.

4. My social media is safe place for expression. Be sure to clear out anything or anyone who makes it unsafe.

5. Down with narcissism. I’ve cleaned out some choice narcissists and limit “selfies” (my own and those of others).

6. Respect. Make sure we’re fostering respect for one another on my social media. Kavod.

7. Humor. Be sure to add humor and joy to social media, and invite others to do so. After all, “serve God with joy” is biblically mandated.

8. Music. Add music that will make people smile or dance and invite others to do so. When King David was angry, he called in the musicians to soothe him.

9. Educating. Post something that people will learn from. Make everyone a teacher and learner (Talmud: I have learned much from my teachers, more from colleagues, the most from my students).

10. Repair the world. Be sure to add something to social media that will make the world better.

11. Make limited use of privacy settings. If you use them too little, people who have no right to every reflection will see them. If you use them too much, you need to rethink whether you’re oversharing.

12. Add passion. Invite everyone to share their passions on social media.

13. Share something personal and invite others to do so. Taking responsible risks is part of social media (and of all social life).

14. Set limits. I am aiming towards a goal of deciding the 3 most important things to post daily, 5 comments I want to make to others and 10 things to “like” each day.

15. Learn silence. Not every comment needs a response. Respect people’s comments by letting them be. Just like you should as a teacher.

16. Exercise ownership. Nobody has an unlimited right to post or comment on my Facebook wall. I grant the privilege to those who are respectful and remove comments or people that aren’t.

17. Reach out to someone new. Add a new contact regularly. You should try it, too.

18. Look backwards. Some past posts no longer reflect who I am today. Clean up and trash what no longer fits personally or professionally.

19. Stop using general posts when what you really need to do is to talk to one or two people about something. No sense in broadcasting what is really an issue that only involves a small number of folks.

20. Share wisdom. Post something that doesn’t do anything for you but could really make a difference for someone else. Like a piece of wisdom or experience.

21. Promote someone else today. Maybe their business, career, or their accomplishments as students or colleagues.

22. Reduce use of social media as free therapy for others. Being an online psychotherapist or relationship counselor doesn’t do them or you justice. Being a friend does.

23. Let go. I don’t watch to see who’s “unfriended” me. I figure anyone who does has a good reason and I respect that.

24. Use Shabbat to turn off for a day. I encourage you to take a weekly social media fast. Or, as one friend suggested, use social media on Shabbat to achieve higher goals.

25. Set a face-to-face or Skype or Hangout with someone you usually see only on social media. If the vast majority of your friendships are only on Facebook, turn that around. One friend of mine took a week and called a Facebook friend each day.

26. Practice humility. The insight I share on social media might be valuable. But I consider the possibility that it isn’t.

27. Stop reading between the lines. A comment is a comment. If you think a comment needs exploration, ask. Most often, people say what they need to and that’s it.

Rabbi Arnie Samlan is executive director of Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education in Miami, FL and founder of Jewish Connectivity, Inc. His Facebook page is Jewish Connectivity and Twitter feed is @JewishConnectiv.