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,

Here’s the problem, as was first pointed out by a commenter on “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 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. #fb
  • Elishafrumkin: My #ish changes every single day – today, it’s creating accessible holiday content for our Jewish families. #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
  • 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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