A common joke before Passover is that we need to remove the "cookies" from our Web Browser before the holiday. Of course, web browser cookies (or HTTP cookies) are not real cookies and do not really need to be removed for Passover, when all leavened products are forbidden.
Web cookies are used for an origin website to send state information to a user's web browser and for the browser to then send state information to the origin site. The term comes from "Magic Cookie", a term used in UNIX programming to describe this procedure, which is in turn based on "Fortune Cookie" (also a packet containing hidden information).
While that may be a joke, a recent survey by Jewcier.com shows that Jewish singles really are eager to clean out virtual information on their computer. They might not care about Web cookies, but they do use the holiday preparation period to unfriend unwanted connections on Facebook.
Some Jews might find themselves cleaning their homes to prepare for Passover, but the Jewish dating site, Jewcier has determined that many Jewish singles will use Passover as an excuse to clean out their cell phone contacts and unclutter their accounts on the popular social networking site Facebook. Of the 1,120 Jewish singles surveyed, 68% of women and 65% of men said that cleaning out their Facebook friends, and their cell phone contacts, was the most important thing to clean before Passover.
“Most of the attention given to Passover surrounds what foods we can and cannot eat, how to clean our homes, who to invite for the holidays, and where to spend the seder. But we were curious how today’s Jewish singles approached this holiday, and the results we discovered were very interesting," said Shira Kallus, Relationship Advisor for Jewcier. "What we found is that, when it comes to Passover priorities, Jewish singles have traded the traditional priorities with modern, non-traditional ones. Specifically, Jewish singles are more interested in ridding their Facebook from unwanted friends, and ex-boyfriend’s or ex-girlfriends, rather than spending their time cleaning their homes from dirt and their kitchens from chametz."
Here are the complete poll results:
Question: What’s the most important thing I clean out before Passover?
Men: My Facebook and cell phone: 65% Car: 15% Apartment: 12% Office: 8%
Women: My Facebook and cell phone: 68% Apartment: 20% Office: 11% Car: 1%
Question: Why clean out your Facebook and cell phone before Passover?
Men: Passover is a great time to completely clean out your life! 66% Passover is not the time to focus on cleaning out your Facebook/cell phone: 34%
Women: Passover is a great time to completely clean out your life! 73% Passover is not the time to focus on cleaning out your Facebook/cell phone: 27%
Question: Will you spend more time cleaning out your Facebook or cell phone?
Men: Cell phone: 75% Facebook: 25%
Women: Facebook: 85% Cell phone: 15%
Question: How do you determine who will be cleaned out of your Facebook friends list?
Men: Ex-girlfriends: 45% Co-workers who I’m not really friends with: 25% High School friends who have friended me but have never written to me or commented on my posts: 18% Anyone who has me set to limited profile viewing access: 12%
Women: Ex-boyfriends: 58% Anyone who has me set to limited profile viewing access: 29% High School friends who have friended me but have never written to me or commented on my posts: 10% Co-workers who I’m not really friends with: 3%
Question: How will you clean out your cell phone contacts?
Men: Keep all contacts, best way to avoid certain calls: 50% Delete anyone that’s now married: 25% Delete ex’s: 15% Google/look up their online dating profiles. Delete if profiles don’t interest me: 10%
Women: Delete ex’s: 58% Keep all contacts, best way to avoid certain calls: 33% Delete anyone that’s now married: 6% Google/look up their online dating profiles. Delete if profiles don’t interest me: 3%
It is certainly interesting to see how young people understand their social network and feel the need to keep it organized and free of unwanted relationships. The sages understand the obligation to free oneself of chametz to be a sort of spiritual cleaning as well. Chametz is compared to haughtiness and there might just be a connection between haughtiness and an overgrown Facebook profile. So, while the question of whether Facebook is chametz was raised a couple years ago, there might be a strong connection to ridding our homes of leavened products before Passover and ridding our Facebook profiles of unwanted connections before the holiday as well. For some, a pared down Facebook page following some spring cleaning might just be another way of celebrating our freedom.