Tending the Garden of Tweets

By Yonatan Gordon

With the recent redesign the Twitter bird logo, we decided it was a good time to revisit our discussion about tweeting first introduced in: Twitter: Hatching Ideas 140 Characters at a Time

The new bird appears slimmer and tilting upward, or as Twitter’s creative director Doug Bowman said in their June 6th blog announcement: “Whether soaring high above the Earth to take in a broad view, or flocking with other birds to achieve a common purpose, a bird in flight is the ultimate representation of freedom, hope and limitless possibility.” The company’s name no longer appears in the logo either: “From now on, this bird will be the universally recognizable symbol of Twitter.”

In order to appreciate some deeper lesson to this change-over, let’s call this the transition from the mother (original bird) to the chicks (new bird)–ideas incubated by the mother to those that are now in flight.

Tending our Tweets

In his story, “The Seven Beggars,” Rabbi Nachman of Breslov writes, “There is a country where there is a garden and in that garden there were fruit that had all the different flavors in the world and all sorts of aromas in the world and all the different colors and flowers in the world – all in the same garden. There was a gardener who was responsible for the garden and all the people of the country lived a good life because of the garden. But the gardener went missing and everything in the garden should have certainly been ruined, because there was no gardener responsible for the garden any longer. Nonetheless, the people were still able to survive from the natural growth of the garden.”

As every garden needs a devoted gardener, so too each group of followers needs a devoted leader to tend to their needs. The public’s expectation for regular tweets is simply a wish to be well tended. Followers desire to live “a good life,” so they seek thought leaders who will keep their garden fertile with ideas. As we learn from Rabbi Nachman’s story, for a while the natural growth of the garden–the fruit bearing trees–will sustain the population. But in order to revitalize the populace, new fertile fruits needs to be born.

Rabbi Nachman’s story continues to describe how the missing gardener is actually wandering around amongst us, although people think that he is just a crazy lunatic. In today’s pop culture, it seems that the most popular personalities or celebrities are those who express themselves with the most eccentricity. Rabbi Nachman’s story teaches us that while the search for eccentric individuals is a good starting point, we then need to make sure that their ideas bear fruit.  Our search through eccentric personalities should in the end lead us to the person who will help make our lives verdant–our true gardener.

Upward Flight

The way to find the gardener is by never despairing. We need to be aware of the disadvantages of our present situation, while remembering the rectification–the fruit–which will be born from our optimism. If the old Twitter bird symbolized a mother warming its eggs, the new bird is a newborn bird in flight. The warmth of the mother for her eggs brought with it an inner expectancy that the eggs would soon hatch. So too we have to know that our ideas (when nurtured properly) will reach their moment of birth.

Three Circles

“This bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles — similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends.”

Bringing these metaphors together, we could say that “networks” relate to our garden; “ideas and interests“ to ideas or eggs; and the intersection of these two with “peer and friends” to the gardener himself.

Networks Garden
Ideas and Interests Ideas/Eggs
Intersection with Peers and Friends Gardener Himself

Each time the gardener returns to the garden to tweet, the followers connect anew with the personality they are following. If this person is a true gardener (cultivator/leader), he will continuously intersect or connect with the “ideas and interests” of his following. But if not, the incubated ideas of his populace will run the risk of staying infertile and unhatched. The most fertile reality is that of God. So too the ultimate role of a gardener is to bring reality (the consciousness of people within his garden) back to God.

Both networks and gardens collect ideas. The role of the gardener is to transition from the former to the latter. From a virtual internet reality of personal foray, to an awareness that draws warmth and excitement only from God. The gardener turns our forays in a virtual world into a platform (a garden) for real-world change. The time that the gardener takes to tweet on a regular basis is indicative of his desire to affect communal cultivation. His crop is the development of a generation of righteous offspring–the warmhearted Jews who the Ba’al Shem Tov wished to see.

Sources Cited: http://blog.twitter.com/2012/06/taking-flight-twitterbird.html

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