On June 21,2012 Twitter underwent a series of service
disruptions over a three-hour period. For about two hours and forty minutes, the
micro communication world of over 500 million active users was quiet. What
happens when social goes silent? Do our ready tweets turn any sweeter after the
site is turned back on?
In his article on zdnet.com after in outage, Zack
Whittaker sums up public sentiment as follows: "Its users have become
accustomed to Twitter ‘just working.’ People don’t notice when a service is
working: they only notice its absence when it’s not."
Maturing through Silence
Zack calls these moments of silence a "maturing" process.
When undergoing a period of silence before speech, we enable ourselves to speak
even more effectively. Look at those you follow on Twitter. If the tweets before
and after the outage have some qualitative difference to them, then this is a
good sign. Some people always have this "moment of silence" before speech. These
are the people least troubled by this interruption.
For speech to be positive, it should be filled with
As we mentioned in our essay "Hatching 140 Characters at a Time" (see part 1: Hatching 140 at a Time),
tweets are meant to be continual, positive affirmations conveyed to others. Now
we will say something more. For speech to be positive, it should be filled with
kindness/chesed. There is negative speech that attempts to silence
others. But to speak with kindness means to first silence ourselves in order not
to cut down others. Kind speech comes from first silencing ourselves in order to
encourage the speech and potentials of others.
While 140 characters signifies the unification of Wisdom/chochma and
Understanding/bina, the product of the two is Consciousness/Da’at.
Within consciousness there are two levels, the higher and the lower. The higher
(Da’at Elyon) allows a person to see the world from God’s perspective
where everything is as if it were not even created. But then the transition to
lower consciousness (Da’at Tachton) is to be able to come down from this
higher perspective in order to teach people on their level. To recognize that
God creates the world.
The wisdom here is to learn how to listen. If you are a follower of someone,
these outages were a good time to reflect on the act of listening. The
maturation process occurs when followers reach greater clarity as to who to
follow. This is called discovering the sweetness of your teacher. Moses is
sweeter than honey.
Secret of Secrets
To be a tweeter implies that you have something to say on a
daily basis. There are four levels of interpretation to the Torah. The highest
is called the secrets (sod). To be connected to the secrets of Torah
(Kabbalah and Chassidut) is to merit to receive from the Infinite
Wellspring (Neviat Ha’Ein Sof). People that learn at this level are
always coming out with something new. Every day, the Torah is completely as new
in their eyes. They are always revealing something novel.
Streaming Reality ...the
landscape disappears in the face of the idea.
How does an outage signify something game changing? As Zack
wrote in his article, users became accustomed to Twitter "just working." In
order to reveal insights, the landscape for these ideas needs to be consistent.
What happens when the ideas become too much for the landscape? Than the
landscape disappears in the face of the idea. This dual relationship is what is
called in Kabbalah the unification of mah and ban.
The name ban is reality (the landscape for ideas), while the name mah
is essence (the concepts or ideas being presented). In general the person
conveying the message signifies the mah aspect entering ban .
Our question is not whether the relationship of teacher to
student (tweeter to follower) exists; but rather how consistent this
relationship is. There are two levels of interaction. The first as we said is
the unification of Wisdom and Understanding, also termed Father (Abba)
and Mother (Imma). The second is between Zeir Anpin (the six
emotions of the heart from loving-kindness/chesed through foundation/yesod)
and Nuvka (reality). The difference between these two interactions is
that while the coupling of Abba and Imma is constant, the
interchange of Zeir Anpin and Nuvka only occurs during an
exchange. Whereas Abba and Imma are constant and never changing,
the coupling of Zeir Anpin and Nuvka is fleeting. They keep to
their own, just from time to time they meet up with each other again.
This then serves as the basis for a discussion on consistency. If my tweets are
purely emotive (stemming from Zeir Anpin), then the main thing is that my
tweets be consistent. The lack of tweets may, God forbid, be a sign that I am
not fully kind or compassionate to those I am tweeting to. If my tweets come
from the coupling of Abba and Imma (the intellectual union of
Wisdom and Understanding) then my connection with my followers is always
The maturation that silence affords is the chance to ascend...
The maturation that silence affords is the chance to ascend from an emotive
relationship to an intellectual one. When the tweets go silent, devoted
followers have no choice to connect directly to the essence (Abba or
Wisdom) or their teacher.
With this we can explain why we seek consistency in social media platforms. As
discussed earlier, any rectification between ideas and reality, relates to the
coupling of mah and ban. The question though is at what level am I
tweeting? If my tweets comes from a desire to connect intellectually with my
followers, then maybe I am not so concerned about an outage or with tweeting on
a daily basis. If there is a period of silence, my followers are still connected
to me through studying or remembering my teachings.
If my tweets are emotive in nature, then will my followers think that I am as
kind and compassionate after the absence? If they reply to my tweet, and I don’t
respond within minutes, am I still a good communicator? This outage was unique
in that the famous whale "overload" picture also failed to load. So too, the
potential to connect with a teacher is sometimes best reached out of complete
darkness and silence. The advantage of Abba over Imma is the
understanding that all of reality is as nothing before God. So too when the
substance of reality gives way to ideas, then the essence of the concepts become
revealed for all to see.
Yonatan Gordon, is a writer with over 10 years of
Jewish marketing experience. His Kabbalah and Technology blog can be found
at //CommunityofReaders.org. The content of this article was inspired by the
teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh of Gal Einai (//Inner.org).
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