Monday, January 31, 2011

The Pope, Social Media + Communications in the Digital Age

When I saw recently in Boing Boing that Pope Benedict XVI had given his blessing to social networking, I have to admit, I was surprised. Then, when I took a look at the full text of the 83-year-old pontiff’s statement—“Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age”—I was impressed.

Here are some excerpts:

• “The new technologies are not only changing the way we communicate, but communication itself, so much so that it could be said that we are living through a period of vast cultural transformation. This means of spreading information and knowledge is giving birth to a new way of learning and thinking, with unprecedented opportunities for establishing relationships and building fellowship. “

• “As with every other fruit of human ingenuity, the new communications technologies must be placed at the service of the integral good of the individual and of the whole of humanity. If used wisely, they can contribute to the satisfaction of the desire for meaning, truth and unity which remain the most profound aspirations of each human being.”

• “Entering cyberspace can be a sign of an authentic search for personal encounters with others, provided that attention is paid to avoiding dangers such as enclosing oneself in a sort of parallel existence, or excessive exposure to the virtual world.”

The biggest takeaway: social media outlets like Facebook offer tremendous opportunities for people to communicate and connect, but it’s important not to let “virtual contact…take the place of direct human contact.”

While the Pope does not yet have his own Facebook page, the Vatican does have a utility on its website, Pope2You, that allows subscribers to receive papal messages on the social network.

Technorati Tags: Pope Benedict XVI,Facebook, social media, The Internet,communications, public relations, Makovsky

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