Who is talking? Who is listening?
While we are deep into a discussion of Jewish identity, Israel, Zionism, and our Jewish future, I would like to introduce you to a project that will help us think more broadly about these ideas.
The Jewish Reconnection Project features a series of 6 video conversations between four Jews in New York and five Jews in Israel on:
- Israel– Diaspora Relations
- The “Promised Land”
Sponsored by the Nathan Cummings Foundation to promote conversations in the Jewish world, these videos remind us of the salon, cafe, node, and think tank models we have been discussing. The names vary by author and details, but the ideas are in essence the same.
Jumpstarting the Conversation
One thing I’ve noticed going through the Project’s press section is that everyone seems to think it’s a good idea, but no one really has much to say about it.
The videos conclude with the recommended, “We want to know what you think” message, but I don’t think we have enough information about the project, either through the videos or on the website, to start our own conversations. We understand the idea in general, but don’t know what to do with it.
Even the longer articles listed from sites that are more formally news oriented than blogs lean toward quoting the video’s participants rather than forwarding the discussion themselves.
Let’s think about how this could be remedied. (Keep reading below)
Suggestions for Improvement: 5 Ways to Improve the Project
So what could the Jewish Reconnection Project do better? Fortunately, they have the easy part down. The Project has produced a series of high quality, interesting videos on serious issues. But there’s room for improvement.
Here are some suggestions:
- Add a video that profiles each member individually and the team as a whole. The viewer needs to be able to establish patterns and understand each participant’s background in order to form opinions about them and on the conversation in totality. Knowing that someone is an accountant from Phoenix is interesting, but we want to know how these participants were chosen and what ideas and identities they are meant to represent
- Add text profiles with short interviews and a photograph of each participant to the menu bar. We want to get to know them more personally and relate to them as individuals. Let us use their bios as a reference that we can look at after each video. Include a personal manifesto from each one or a story about what they care about and why
- So nu, what changed? Clearly great effort went into making these videos, so what resulted? We want details so that we can invest and care about the project as a whole. What were the dynamics like when they came together? How was the project introduced to them? What did they learn from participating? How will it change the way they think?
- Where should we go from here? We have a Facebook page (which is inactive since November), we have MySpace, and Yideoz– clearly the intent is there– but these are frontal applications until you make something happen. Who is leading the discussion? What questions should we be thinking about? How should we go about formulating our own thoughts? How can we take the intended impact of this project and help make it happen?
- Integrate the Project’s message and medium more fluidly. Am I alone in wondering where the rest of the footage went? Great editing, interesting shots, and– good news– you left me wanting much more. So where is it? Were these shorts filmed as part of a larger project, a documentary perhaps, or were the six videos, each under five minutes in length, the ultimate product? The problem is that I’ve read the whole website and I don’t know the answer. In appearance, everything looks great, but I still have key questions. take the professional skills that went into making the video and use them across the whole project. A great video can be the heart of your project, but you need to represent yourself more fully in explaining your idea and helping people understand what to do with it
Where Do We Go From Here?
Whenever I write a post like this, I always find myself asking, “Have you answered the question: ‘where do we go from here?'” What do you think? What else could the project do to improve their package? What can they do to invest you as a user? What do you need from them in order to feel fulfilled?
In turn, here’s what you can do now.
Photo by Lyonzy
Make Me a Recommendation
For more Jewish and Israel videos, join me on my Youtube channels here and here. I look forward to hearing your recommendations about who else deserves recognition for their work in getting the message across using new and developing media.
Both channels are under development and I need your help to make them as good as possible so that we can use them as a resource for Jewish and Israel issues.
Recommendations for You
- “Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley: Best Practice Model for Using Technology to Get Your Message Across” (Think I let them off the hook too easy? Look for an upcoming interview on what it takes to make a video like this one)
- “Getting the Message Across with YouTube: 7 Ways to Take Your Nonprofit to the Next Level”
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