The conclave to elect the next Pope has begun. The College of Cardinals has assembled in the Sistene Chapel for their first vote. One of the unique aspects to this conclave is the activity on social media which is fully engaged in following the age-old, traditional process of selecting a pope. From the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the pre-conclave meetings and throughout the conclave and afterwards, people are/will be getting their conclave news on mobile devices and computers via text, tweet, and post, as well as through the traditional media: TV, radio and print.
Social Media Innovations:
Free conclave apps.
Lisa M. Hendey, the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com (and a CWS subscriber) describes the app she has tested from Verbum and Logos Bible Software for ios software in an article on Patheos. There is also an Android version. It has resources related to the conclave including a link to the Twitter feed for #conclave.
The Pope Alarm.
This comes from FOCUS (fellowship of Catholic university students). It is a simple service that will send you a text or email message when the smoke coming out of the Sistine Chapel chimney turns white so you will know when a new Pope has been elected.
Adopt A Cardinal (with over 450,000 participants).
You sign up and are given a Cardinal to pray for. The Cardinals are assigned randomly. You receive a photo and a little data about your Cardinal.
Bloggers, online reporters and social media sources (to name a few):
Sister Mary Ann Walsh, RSM, media relations director for the USCCB, is in Rome and blogging daily on the USCCB Media Blog.
John L. Allen Jr., NCR senior correspondent, writes weekly on the goings-on in the Vatican and in the church around the world. He also serves as senior Vatican analyst for CNN. He is posting about the conclave on his blog All Things Catholic.
The traditional news media have made their own observations about this new media coverage.
From ABC News: Conclave 2013: Electing Pope in Social Media World
From Rachel Zoll, AP Religion Writer: Catholics Create ‘Virtual Conclave’ for New Pope
This real time engagement of the faithful and the curious is a great opportunity to witness to the world the vibrancy of the Catholic Church in spite of its human failings. Christ is at the center of our faith commitment and he will be always with us. It is his fidelity that we celebrate at moments like this.
How will you keep up with the conclave? Do you have a favorite FB page, Twitter feed, blog or website that you are following on the conclave? Please share it with us.