Gone are the days when Jewish organizations and the people who work for them did not use the internet. Today, most small and large Jewish organizations utilize a slew of online platforms to connect with their constituents and spread their message. Case in point: you’ll find that Agudath Israel of America’s national director of state relations, has a very active Twitter account.
But, before running to a relatively new platform such as Twitter that only allows for one hundred and forty characters, we want to turn your attention towards a blog, an online venue that many rabbis across the country have been using for years.
A blog, was initially referred to as weblog (web-log), and was originally intended as a digital personal diary or journal where the author could save his daily activities or special events. Nowadays, blogging is used for different reasons such as marketing, education, etc.
Congregational rabbis across America (see this rabbi in California and this rabbi in Florida) use it as an extension to their pulpit. Plus, it allows them to be in touch with their congregants—and the internet at large—daily, and not just once a week while delivering a sermon.
Do you or your organization blog? If the answer is no, we ask that you consider the four compelling reasons below and see for yourself why it’s time for you and your team to write a blog.
1. Practice Makes Perfect
Right now, you deliver classes, answer questions, speak to donors, etc. How often do you write? And, if you write, how often do you write something you know could be read by hundreds of thousands of people around the world?
Having to go on the record and write a blog several times a week—even in a simple and talkative style that is commonly found in the blogosphere—will force you to become efficient in your writing and communication. These skills are certain to help you at a personal and professional level for many years to come.
2. A Following
You never will know what will happen if you consistently write about something you are passionate about—such as Judaism—until you actually do so!
With time, people will read your writing and make important life-decisions based on your thoughful and relevant blog posts. In short, blogging gives you a place in which you can develop followers who will ultimately not just follow you online—but who will want to turn to you for advice and attend your shul and events.
3. More Than Just A Business Card
Having a business card is still important to some rabbis and professionals. However, a business card cannot tell your story or allow a person to connect with you as well as a well-thought-out and well-written blog can.
Also, even a blogpost as trivial as one that gives a short overview of the latest event that just took place at your house, will allow students and congregants to “pass on your business card” (in the form of a link to your blogpost), to other family and friends who they think would enjoy your community or school.
In short, you can build and enhance the identity of your nonprofit organization around your thoughts by writing them down on your personal blog or the blog of your organization and use THAT as your daily business card.
4. Engaging Your Audience in 2014
Rabbis should also blog because blogging is a great tool that you can use to heavily engage your congregants and students and get them to comment and, better yet, interact and participate with you.
After all, your goal is to get them to read something online that will ultimately compel them to always want to read your writing or, better yet, feel the need to attend your shiur and share their comment in person.
A great way to engage people in such a manner would be if you start a discussion about a particular topic on your blog.
Next, ask students to share their thoughts with you at your weekly “Contemporary Issues” class that takes place every other Wednesday night and is always accompanied with the best kosher sushi in town!
By getting students to be a part of your “virtual classroom”, in the form of reading your blog, you have upped the chances of a newcomer wanting to attend your event.
Plus, by starting your shiur off in this format, people who ultimately don’t feel comfortable to come to your class or had a scheduling conflict, will still be compelled to want to meet with you for a cup of coffee and hear more about this topic.
All because you started your class online and did not restrict yourself by solely being someone who teaches in a room with four walls. In an upcoming blogpost here at NLEResources.com, we will share with you a piece entitled, The 4 Commandments of Successful Blogging, that will help you succeed in this online platform. Hatzlacha!
The problem with a blog is twofold:
1) By the Gedolim, “blog” is a four letter word. I agree there are many that use this venue to express sincere sentiments of their soul and want to connect with others in a meaningful constructive expression of ideas. But many who use this venue have abused it to an extreme. And that goes as much for an author as it does for the anonymous commentors who can get away with murder, literally, with their destructive comments. For it to carry the respect a Rov’s ideas, thoughts, and how much more so, is halachic rulings, would have to have a different mode of online posterity.
But that leads us to a more problematic problem:
2) Online means no ownership, hefkeirus. Once someone records ideas, thoughts, and how much more so rabbinic rulings on people’s individual situations, are now available for anyone to quote, misquote, misuse, impugn, and apply to situations that the Rov never intended.