Upside and downside of social media

Social media is a wonderful thing. You can create videos or blogs and spread your message far. The downside is your message can spread far.

Two recent examples of the upside and downside.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

First, the upside…

11/14 – Wall Street Journal – This Rabbi Raps and Riffs – on Judaism – Ordained Hasidic rabbi Medny Pellin also does comedy and rap videos. You can check out his signature video, Talk Yiddish to Me.


As a tip for enjoying the video, know that every time “booty” appears in the original song, the Rabbi substituted a Yiddish word that sounds similar but means “grandma.” That is why a grandmother figure keeps appearing in the video. Turning crudeness into funny is great. You just gotta’ love break-dancing with a prayer shawl and a pick-up game of basketball with everyone wearing a hat and jacket. Um, hiding the ball under your coat is called travelling, rabbi.

Article says there is some pushback against his comedy routines from inside the Hasidic community. That is their debate to have.

So you know my worldview, I am a gentile.  From my perspective, I found the video funny, entertaining, and not in the least bit dishonoring. As an outsider, it seems to be respectful of Judaism in general and the Hasidic community in particular.

And then the downside…

11/14 – Peter Greer – The day my photo went viral – and why it wasn’t awesome – Mr. Greer posted a photo of his children on timeout after an argument. The consequence also included holding hands during the timeout. In three days, the post received 18 million views and 12,000 outraged comments explaining in colorful detail what a horrid parent he is.

I’m not sure if the grievous offense was the inexcusable barbarity of being forced to hold your sibling’s hand or the heinous cruelty of actually imposing consequences for inappropriate behavior.

He did not enjoy his 15 minutes of fame. A few of the lessons he learned:

We need to learn how to disagree

Don’t read the comments or attempt to defend yourself.

One real friend trumps 1 million “likes.”

You never know what will go viral.

Like a bad case of dysentery, the attention passes quickly.

If you are active in social media, prepare yourself for the day something goes viral and thousands of people who don’t have a clue what they are talking about anonymously declare you are of the devil.

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