The use of social media tools in ministry is one of the priorities of Benedict XVI and one of the challenges facing those who do ministry. The Holy Father has urged priests and those in pastoral ministries to take advantage of these new tools to proclaim the gospel and bring others to Christ. For ministry leaders already balancing many different priorities—social media might be the last thing they want to think about. However, as much as some of us are reluctant to use it, we need to move social media up on our list of ministry priorities.
What is Social Media?
Social media is the collection of internet tools and programs that allows people to connect and interact online, and share content, opinions, pictures, videos, and anything else they want. New social media tools are being created daily. The most well known, of course, are Facebook with over 500 million members worldwide and Twitter with over 106 million. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google.
Erick Qualman, Global Vice President for Digital Marketing at EF Education, wrote Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business in 2009 to describe the changes taking place in communications. Here is a short video summarizing some of his findings.
Where are we in social media?
While this video is talking about business brands, we can ask how is the “brand” of our diocese, our parish, our organization, our religious community faring in social media? Can we be found there if people want to engage with us? Do we have a blog or a podcast? Are we contributing articles to Wikipedia and videos to YouTube? Are we engaging others in conversations on Facebook and Twitter? As professionals are we on Linkedin? We don’t have to be doing everything, but each one of us needs to be doing what we can to contribute to the overall presence of faith-filled witnesses and teachers on the Internet.
Social media offers tools for education, communication and promotion of our mission
In the November-December 2010 issue of Health Progress, The Journal of the Catholic Health Association of the United States,, William Sweetland and Susan C. Thomson report how Catholic hospitals are starting to use social media to advance their mission. Click here to read their article.
What other signs do you see that we who serve in ministry are embracing the challenges and opportunities of using social media for mission?
If you want to engage others in this conversation, please share this article with them using the icons below. Thank you.