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The Gentrification of #Ish

Shortly after the Jewish Federations of North America started its What’s Your #Ish campaign, some commentors in the blogosphere pointed out that the federations might have a problem.

The campaign asks Jews aged 19 to 36, to express what makes them Jew-“ish” via Twitter, Facebook or YouTube in an attempt to raise their awareness about Jewish federations.  When they do so, they are asked to use the hashtag “#ish,” which automatically puts their submission in a Twitter trenging feed that puts all submissions with the hashtag in one stream, and automatically puts their submissions on a Website the JFNA set up, whatsyourish.com.

Here’s the problem, as was first pointed out by a commenter on Jewcy.com: “Ish” is also urban for the word shit.

According to the online Urban Dictionary, that is because many rappers started using the term “Ish” instead of the more well-known four letter word in order to get around censorship regulations for radio play. Given the urban meaning, the hashtag #Ish has been until now used as something of a dumping ground for random #ish.

The JFNA says they were aware of the problem, or as I wrote on Jewcy: “They say they were aware of the No. 2 meaning of ish, and that their consultants told them that only about 7 or so folks hashtag #ish per day under the potty usage. The consultants felt that the JFNA’s #ish should soon far outpace the other #ish, thereby essentially flushing it down the toilet.”

Well. Watching the first week of the Twitter feed, it seems that the JFNA might have underestimated how territorial the original #Ish-ers are of their hashtag.

JFNA Tweeters during the first couple of days of the campaign actually seemed to overwhelm the original #Ish-ers. But in recent days it seems the originals have mobilized. While JFNA seems to have weeded out non-Jew-#ish posts on the Whatisyourish.com site, on Twitter there seems to be just about a one-to-one ratio of those using the JFNA’s #Ish vs those using the Urban Dictionary #Ish.

So, a typical sampling of the thread looks something like this:

  • Sleepingbri: So maybe I sometimes complain about things that maybe aren’t worth worrying about. Is that really so awful? #ish
  • IamAshleyJ: remember —— ? #ish: yeah? me: i made out with him. #ish: alright. -changes subject- LMFAO
  • iTaj_Malik: #IfYoureNotFollowingMe then how u know wtf im tweetin… Get off my #ish… Lol
  • DrinkyMcMixy: Neil Patrick Harris on Glee next week. good #ish
  • JewishLiving: My #ish changes every single day – today, it’s creating accessible holiday content for our Jewish families. http://bit.ly/cJN6gk #fb
  • Elishafrumkin: My #ish changes every single day – today, it’s creating accessible holiday content for our Jewish families. http://bit.ly/cJN6gk #fb
  • pardonmymanners: I’m trying to improve my #perception of… [LINK DELETED BECAUSE OF PORNOGRAPHY]  #panties #ish
  • jfederations: Jewish Federation Reaches Out to Young Adults Nationwide for New Campaign #ish http://bit.ly/amTHl2
  • Rimbaud1854: My #ish today is meeting w/Rabbi Zuckerman and shopping for Shabbos. And spending time w/kids.
  • __AYoung__: keep riding thru here on that "boys n tha hood" #ish and im gone Ice-cube yall hoes!!
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