In an acknowledgment of the growing popularity of social networking sites, BBYO announced its launch of b-linked, an online networking site for Jewish teens (via JTA):

BBYO recently launched b-linked, an online community built on the model of social-networking sites like Friendster and Facebook, online communities that connect people through networks of friends for dating or making new acquaintances. The site, www.b-linked.org, aims to revolutionize the way Jewish teens connect with each other. BBYO leaders hope that 50,000-100,000 Jewish teens will join b-linked over the next four years.

The site was launched in October and made available initially to the BBYO community. It already has more than 2,000 members, and the group is publicizing the initiative more broadly in an effort to attract a wider spectrum of teens.

As always, it’s not just the site that’s the thing here. The organizers of the site hope that by wanting to log on to a hip and cool website, teens will also log on to Judaism in a larger sense and for a longer duration.

Lynn Schusterman, who [BBYO director Matthew Grossman says] has been instrumental in enabling BBYO to move in this new direction, says she sees b-linked as similar to birthright israel, a program that brings young Jews to Israel for free in hopes that they’ll become more involved Jewishly and more involved with Israel.

“We’re hoping that if a kid logs on to b-linked, they’ll get involved in Jewish camping, Jewish youth groups, Jewish summer programs,” says Schusterman, of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The site has the potential to engage teens who are otherwise unaffiliated and “may be turned off by a synagogue or, potentially, a youth group, or even Jewish camping,” she says. “When they log on to this, it’s something that’s hip and cool.”

Using technology as a tool in increasing commitment to Jewish connection? What a great idea! Hey, while we’re being all crazy and innovative, you know what we could do? Have a conference based on…wait for it… a blog!

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.

7 Comments

  • BBYO, not too shabby. Weren’t we all making funny faces at their internet radio project?

    This is of course the way to go. FInally a major initiative not stuck in the 1970’s.

  • I read so fast esther I didnt see the obvious and great callout to beachhillel.com and J @ TB2, Feb 17-20, 2006, Long Beach CA

  • This sounds like a great idea. I know when I was in BBYO, it would have been neat. Certainly a great way, also, to share programming ideas.

  • b-linked, shminked! I cant see them getting 100.000 members over next four years. And maybe I m Polish or something but I couldn’t find there any Jewish content. So what is then a difference between this and the Facebook or myspace?
    The Rabbi and Esther are right the conference in Long Beach sounds so much more appealing – especially in the middle of winter!
    And what a name! J@TB2 – mamish a terminator!

  • As part of the marketing campaign for this, b-linked.org was giving out t-shirts to BBYO members. Nothing says BBYO more than free t-shirts.

    Most of the kids in North West Canada Region (www.nwcbbyo.org) actually enjoy the concept of b-linked, as it takes them away from the trash on nexopia.

    And regarding the lack of content, the site is still under heavy construction. The BBYO forums have been replaced by b-linked, so this community may in fact take off.

    Just my $0.02CAD, speaking as an alumni and advisor.

  • […] The original blog for the original conference was destroyed in the summer by some vicious hackers. Yes, the entire blog, up in smoke. But we are not cowered into fear. We will build bigeer and better than before! If you want to reminice about last year’s gathering, then check out Jewlcious.com’s conference blogs which captures some of the essence of what went on. […]

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