The Internet has been around long enough that the novelty has worn off a bit, but not the usefulness. In the book “The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activities, and Bishops who Tweet,” author Brandon Vogt and contributing webheads explain how websites, Facebook and Twitter can be used to strengthen the Church.
Vogt defines New Media as interactive communication, and focuses his attention on websites, blogs and Twitter. All connect people with similar interests and allow them to share their thoughts and opinions with each other.
Each of the book’s four sections takes a look at how new media can be used in one of the missions of the Church – evangelization, formation, community and the common good – and uses the experiences of contributing authors to show how to implement the media.
Father Robert Barron, who leads a ministry called Word on Fire, said the best way to reach out to the 25-year-old unchurched male population is through YouTube. He had received 40,000 comments on his videos over the past three years. He admits that most comments are negative, but that is due to the audience being unchurched. Rather than tuning them out, he engages these people, as it is an avenue for communicating with people who do not attend church.
Likewise, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston, uses a blog to reach out beyond his flock. He began to post his thoughts on a web log after visiting Rome for the celebration of Padre Pio. He saw the reactions from readers and decided to make this a weekly part of his ministry. In his forward, Archbishop O’Malley said he met strangers who commented on reading his blog while attending World Youth Day in Sydney. He said it is a great tool for evangelization.
A Texas A&M grad tells of reaching out to young adults, offering advice like forget email and stick to Facebook, the preferred method of communication for 20somethings. Flocknotes and eCatholicChurches.com offer ways to make communication in the digital age easier.
The book makes a good case for jumping on the digital bandwagon and offers good advice about what to post and pitfalls to avoid. It sometimes seems repetitive, but will prove to be a solid guide.
“The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activities, and Bishops who Tweet,” by Brandon Vogt, published by Our Sunday Visitor, is available from the Catholic Union Store, 795 Main St., in downtown Buffalo.
Classic stage production comes to diocese
Hilbert College hosts first social media conference