A few weeks ago, it dawned on me, there are a few rabbinical schools out there tweeting and I thought to myself, “I wonder if anyone’s written about it?” Â I haven’t seen anything out there, so I’ve come to begin to fill the gap.
I’ve noticed a handful of North American rabbinical schools on twitter, namely: Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institution of Religion, Cincinnati, Rabbinical Reconstructionist College, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Canadian Yeshiva and Rabbinical School, and Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Â I imagine that the rabbinical schools not on Twitter are not on it perhaps because they don’t see the point. Â So, let’s see what tweeting does for a rabbinical school.
The opportunity that being on Twitter affords rabbinical schools are 1) Sharing events going on at the school: whether open to the public – which would be a nice way of inviting people who are not enrolled at the school to come hear what speakers have to say and to allow them to share in the activities – or exclusively for those enrolled at the school -whether events or other speakers, etc. to let outsiders know simply what is going on that day (e.g. “Rabbi X from place Y and is speaking on topic Z to the entire school”).
It also 2)Â allows them to let people know what their graduates are doing or to retweet something that their graduates have put up on twitter (whether it be something they did or simply tweeted).
3) ItÂ allows them to interact and engage within the broader Jewish dialogue going on in the Twitterverse.
4) They can post uploaded lectures or classes, which allows either alumni, donors, or other stakeholders to listen in and stay connected to the content being discussed at the school. Â It can also serve to help the schools share their brand of Judaism.
5) It’s free marketing – simply by being out there and active, it gets their name out there and can be on potential students’, donors’, or others’ radars.
Although I am sure there are more ways in which rabbinical schools can utilize twitter, I will now turn my attention to some good and some not-so-good uses of twitter.
I have to commend HUC and HUC-Cincinnati for both being very active on twitter, which is excellent, as well as being engaged in conversations and retweeting with a nice frequency. Â I also want to commend the creativity displayed by the Canadian Yeshiva and Rabbinical School for coming up with different tweets, depending on the day of the week (see here).
That having been said, one thing that I really think these schools should stay away from is relying upon automatic tweeting, such as with Constant Contact, YouTube uploads, and more. Â It’s okay to do that once in a while, but not as a mainstay of one’s tweeting, as it’s just not that interesting.
Lastly, although I’ve discussed rabbinical schools tweeting, I will leave it for someone else to discuss heads of rabbinical schools tweeting, such as Rabbi Arnold Eisen, Rabbi Dov Linzer, or Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz.
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