Tweeting the Encyclopedia

Tweeting the Encyclopedia

Twitter is still in its infancy and users around the globe continue to discover new ways to use the microblogging application. One national Jewish organization is now looking to release an entire encyclopedia via Twitter. If you think that sending out the content from an encyclopedia in less than 140 characters at a time might take a long time… well, you’re correct.

The Jewish Women’s Archive has begun to tweet The Jewish Women’s Encyclopedia. The Twitter feed can be followed at #jwapedia

Why tweet this information to Twitter? JWA has taken up this project in honor of Jewish Heritage Month, taking place during the entire month of May. The idea for this project was the brainchild of Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, a self-described lover of the Encyclopedia. She explained, "The challenge of making it accessible to everyone is hard but it made me think that it would be a great Twitter project because it is simple and straightforward. It is a perfect match of serious content and decentralized sharing and collective learning.

Abusch-Magder likes the way a diverse group of people can search the information that interests them and then share it with their followers on the social networking site. JWA is hoping this will create a new way of seeing the Encyclopedia. She likens this project to the story of Hillel teaching the Torah on one foot but then encouraging more learning.

Liz Polay-Wettengel (@LizPW) used this as an opportunity to share the Encyclopedia’s article on a famous Jewish actress. She wrote, "A hard working mom, who is the daughter of a hard working mom. Goldie Hawn has always made me smile. #jwapedia." And Julie Ann Silver tweeted about an Encyclopedia entry explaining the life of a lesser known woman, Dorothy Fields. Each tweet contains the hashtag identifyer #jwapedia and a link to the Encyclopedia page referenced.

Don’t think that just because this is a project of the Jewish Women’s Archive that only women are involved. Twitter user Ari Davidow (@aridavidow) did his part today when he tweeted this nugget from the annals of The Jewish Women’s Encyclopedia: "Olga Taussky-Todd, self-described "torchbearer for matrix theory" from Austro-Hungary 2 Cal Institute of Tech #jwapedia."

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