Today’s Shavuot. As I have done every year for the past few, I’m participating in a collective social media effort to post enough tweets that include “#Torah” – pronounced “hashtag Torah” – that we “ tweet #Torah to the top ,” meaning it appears on the Twitter home page as a trending topic.
As far as I know, we have not ever achieved the goal. And this year, I’ve encountered a few stumbling blocks of my own…
Everything started out smoothly. Using Hootsuite, a social media tool, I scheduled 80-some tweets to go live between 9 p.m. last night and midnight tonight. Because they appear as both tweets on Twitter and posts on my Facebook feed, I put this message on Facebook last night after two or three tweets had appeared:
It appears that all my #Torah tweets scheduled for the next 27 hours or so are going to show up in my FB feed.
For my FB friends who aren't familiar with Shavuot, it's a Jewish festival (The Festival of Weeks) that occurs seven weeks -- 49 days -- after the first day of Passover and commemorates the giving of the #Torah atop Mt. Sinai. According to legend, every Jewish person from every generation was there to witness the pivotal event in the life of the Jewish people. Today, the holiday is celebrated with late-into-the-night #Torah study sessions and dairy foods -- cheesecake and blitzes, most notably -- which serve as reminders of the Promised Land, which flows with milk and honey. It's also the season for confirmation, when young Jews (generally 16- and 17-year olds) who have continued their studies for several years after b'nai mitzvah commit to lead a Jewish life and help ensure a bright Jewish future.
OK, rabbi, cantor, and educator friends, did I leave anything out?And then I went to sleep.
I awoke to this message from my sister, which she’d sent at 7:09 a.m.: “Why a million Torah posts?” It was followed quickly by this: “I just saw your explanation. You need to delete them. They filled everyone’s feed…message after message after message…”
Um, yes, that’s precisely the point.
Two hours later, when I hadn’t responded (because I slept in and then went to services), she sent another, less contemptuous message: “You look like a Jewish scholar who drank too much slivovitz and pressed ‘Post.’”
Meanwhile, in response to a tweet that appeared in my feed at about 1 a.m., a friend, who thought I was live-tweeting, commented with this: “Jane, I love you. I’m awake with you for at least an hour…” (I set her straight in the morning, sending a link to Hootsuite by way of explanation.)
When I returned from temple, I spoke to my sister and, concerned that I might indeed be looking like a schicker (Yiddish for drunkard), I reposted the explanatory message from last night.
Convinced all was then well, I was dismayed to receive another message late this afternoon – this one from a friend who, although not Jewish, is well-versed in Jewish holidays and traditions. She wrote: “I think you have been hacked… Twitter keeps giving the same status update over and over again…”
Yes, at that point, all the scheduled tweets had the same beginning – Blessed are You, Adonai, Sovereign of the universe who has… -- but ended differently. I responded to her with this: “LOL! They’re different. It’s Shavuot and I’m one of the people who is posting things with the #Torah hashtag to see if we can get Torah to trend in Twitter. Hope all’s well and you’re enjoying Ramadan.”
Thank goodness for Caroline, a high school friend, whose gracious response to one of my many tweets today made it all worthwhile: “I have enjoyed reading these posts.”