A City of Mash-Ups

The ultimate mash-up…

Primal, powerful and awe-inspiring…

Alluring…capable of overpowering the senses…driving people wild…beyond control…

Eliciting love and hate…hugs and violence…

No doubt one of the largest viral audiences ever….

What could it be, you ask?

What combination of music, sounds and artists could produce such emotion?


“The voice of the muezzin calling the Muslim faithful to prayer; the toll of the Church bells; the chant of Jews praying at the Western Wall…”

And there is only one place in the world where this intoxicating, heady, elating mash-up can be heard…and seen…Jerusalem…as Amos Elon so beautifully portrays in the quote above from his book Jerusalem: City of Mirrors.

Imagine the clean cold chill of a mountain early morning; the dark clear sky ablaze with the lights of the night as the colors begin to change – black to purple – purple to gold as the glow of the sun begins to overpower all and the chill gives way to heat – now close your eyes and listen – the sounds of Jerusalem – the holy mash-up welcomes the day…in all its new glory….

If I sound slightly infatuated, passionate even maybe a bit crazy and mad – it’s because I am…I was…I stood and listened and watched and experienced the full power and glory of that frenetic mash-up…a sound I can never get enough of when I visit Jerusalem.

And yet, there are some, many perhaps, who would deny that sound – undo the mash-up – limit it to one or another of its parts – unravel the complexity of its beauty – destroy the multi-dimensions…deny the textures that make this mash-up unique.

Let me be clear and honest – I don’t mean for this to be a political or religious diatribe – far from it – I am more interested in the power of this crazy mash-up to drive social long before Facebook, to inspire community long before LinkedIn, to drive connected interactive experiences long before digital anything.

And I am fascinated by what it can inspire today through digital channels of communication, connection and interaction. And yet somehow we seem to be missing the beat.

So as I stood there entranced I asked myself why is it that the promise of all that we have at our fingertips to connect the world divides us more than ever.

Why is it that we create silos as quickly as we break them down – erase one and seemingly hundreds spring up…against the very premise that digital portends.

Bottom line – the mash-up of all mash-ups – an ultimate source for digital content – and social connection and by the way news ­– is sadly divisively isolated into its constituent parts…

As I leave Jerusalem – I can only wonder…and I can only hope…

“Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem?”

How about, instead, we tweet, link, share, post, ping and otherwise use the huge power that each of us has in our hands today to use Jerusalem as a metaphor for what digital can do to change the world…

People who value open systems believe that is just the point – value comes not from owning but from sharing. Not from passion for what is mine but from passion for sharing. From understanding that access is the new ownership – it’s not what I hoard, it’s what I can use when I want.

Let’s share this nutty mixed-up mash-up; let’s all own it – because we can…maybe we have to…


“Jerusalem is a festival and a lamentation. Its song is a sigh across the ages, a delicate, robust, mournful psalm at the great junction of spiritual cultures.” David K. Shipler

Listen and watch:

The power of digital has never had a better place to start…

What do you think?

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