Twitter: Hatching Ideas 140 Characters at a Time


By Yonatan Gordon

Twitter markets itself as “the fastest, simplest way to stay close to everything you care about.” What makes short, succinct messages so compelling as a way to communicate with others?

Before discussing the actual size of these messages, let’s first discuss the chirping bird imagery as it’s rooted in Jewish tradition.

There are two words for “bird” in Hebrew, of and tzipor. The first word means to “fly,” the second, to “chirp.” To be a bird it’s not enough to know how to fly. You also must know how to chirp.

Birds chirp when they find fruit. Just like a bird chirps when it sees food to inform other birds, so too when we see fruit (i.e. something beneficial that others can digest), we should chirp about it. This chirping takes place from the vantage point of the branches of the tree, or more essentially, while residing within the nest.

Where Ideas are Hatched

The numerical value of the Hebrew word for “bird” ( צפור ), is equal to the numerical value of the word “peace” ( שלום ). Birds are the harbingers of peace on earth. So too, the chamber of Mashiach—the “prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:5)—before he comes down to this world, is called “the bird’s nest” (קן צפור). From this we learn that perfected consciousness, untainted by the constraints of exile, comes from the birds nest.

The Hebrew word for “nest” is ken, is also cognate to “rectification” (tikkun) and “possession” (kinyan). The most perfected possession is the new Torah of Mashiach, the song of the wings of the eagle, which begins to resonate as he approaches his fledglings. This new Messianic Torah will bring about our rectification as the eagle approaches his nest to gently – touching and not touching – arouse his waiting fledglings.

Tweeting from the Nest

The word for “fledglings” (gozalav), as in the chicks in the nest, is an acronym for “Gam zu letovah” which means “This too is for the best.” The fledgling waiting to be lifted on the wings of Messianic consciousness is waiting to hear from you that whatever happens to us is for the best. So sometimes we Tweet just to share positive messages throughout the day.

In addition to representing peace, the bird imagery also connotes being sensitive to the emotions of others. Asking every Jew about their well-being is akin to walking down a road and happening upon a bird’s nest. Because the soul of Mashiach is the source of inspiration and is alive in every Jewish soul, by expressing concern for another, you are revealing the Messianic bird’s nest in their heart.

Now obviously, for me to inspire another I myself need to be inspired. So while communicating, I need to do so while rooted in my own personal Messianic bird’s nest. Even though I seem to be walking in the street or texting on my cell phone, all these Tweets come from my heart in order to enter the heart of the recipient.

140 Characters at a Time

At the heart of Twitter are small bursts of information called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters long, but don’t let the small size fool you—you can discover a lot in a little space.”

In Kabbalah, Wisdom and Understanding are referred to as the Father and the Mother. Their union is called the higher union. The higher union is constant and therefore these two sefirot are referred to in the Zohar as “two companions that never separate.” Numerically, the sum of Wisdom (73 = חָכְמָה ) and Understanding ( 67 = בִּינָה ) is 140.

The number 140 then signifies the intellectual power to balance between initially perceiving an idea and the ability to clearly explain and elucidate it. The potential for communication begins at 140 (the union of Wisdom and Understanding) but the process first expands when Knowledge (דעת ) is developed. So while Tweets are a good starting point, the conversation should continue with blog posts, articles, books, etc… Knowledge expands when the story around the idea is developed. Most good books start off with one initial idea (perhaps 140 characters or less)—then the rest is commentary.

In Summary (How to Tweet):

  1. While inspired by your personal Messianic Bird’s Nest
  2. Keeping the messages uplifting. They should bring a sense of calm and peace to others.
  3. Use it as a starting point to begin new ideas. Ideally develop Tweets into more expanded concepts on blogs, articles, etc…
  4. Tweet while on the go. Tweeting in this manner is like saying hello to people you meet in the street: spontaneous and cheerful.
  5. Keep people updated. Like an eagle hovering over its fledglings. Keep your followers warm and protected, but let them grow to be full-grown birds and Tweeters in their own right.

3 thoughts on “Twitter: Hatching Ideas 140 Characters at a Time

  1. Pingback: Tending the Garden of Tweets « Community of Readers

  2. Pingback: When The Tweets Went Silent « Community of Readers

  3. Pingback: How to KickStarter a Revolution « Community of Readers

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