What do you need?

Over this past week, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend time in Pacifica, California. Over three and a half days, I was able to spend some time in prayer, rest, and recreation. Following Easter, it was a welcome break and an opportunity to rejuvenate. This time also gave me the opportunity to reflect a bit on where the Good Lord has brought me over the last couple of years, where I am now, and where He may bring me in the future.

May be an image of sunglasses and outdoors
A bit of rest – just what the Eternal Doctor ordered.

Part of that reflection revolved around my online and social media presence. While social media can serve to maintain some relationships, I tend to look at it with a perspective not so much as maintaining or building relationships in its primary purpose, but more so as a way to convey information. I think we’ve discovered this past year how poorly social media and the internet conveys things like charity, good will, and understanding. Granted, I have developed some wonderful relationships with people I have never met in person through social media, but in the end, I think we need to be very careful about how we use it, what we expect from it, and what we share on it.

All of that in mind, as I reflect on my own social media and internet work and ministry, what would you like to see? Primarily, I am a Diocesan priest and I am called to serve my parish and local community, but much of that local community also extends onto the internet. I’ve tried my hand at short videos, and that has been fun, although over the last couple months it’s been a bit difficult to keep up due parish life starting to return back to (semi)normal. Of course, I have my blog, Facebook, and Instagram (which I use quite infrequently, but I’m open to getting more involved there).

In other words, what would be helpful for you? What might help to stimulate your faith or help you grow as a person? There are many priests, bishops, and lay people who do excellent work on the internet and have millions of followers, but that is not who I want to be or what I want to do (well, I want to do excellent work, but I don’t want the millions of followers). I simply want to provide something that might be helpful to our community here. No idea is outside consideration, and everything is always dependent on my schedule in the parish and in-person, non-electronic ministry. All for God’s glory.

God bless and keep you always! Pax.

Social Media 2.0 and Spreading the Word

Fr. Rodderick, of SQPN fame, is down in Melbourne organizing and presenting at the Catholic New Media Conference. Today at the conference, he shared his and Ryan Eggenberger’s tips for interacting on Twitter and Facebook. Here is a sampling from the extensive list:

 

  • Do not engage in social networks where you are not planning to really interact there.
  • Be personal. Don’t hide behind a veil of anonymity. Comment. Wish people a happy birthday. Perform random acts of kindness.
  • Diversify your content and form (Facebook algorithm)
  • The Bambi advice: when Thumper is making fun of clumsy Bambi, his mother tells him: “If you can’t say something nice… don’t say nothing at all”. (about others, when reacting to complaints or angry comments etc.)
  • Only befriend people you really know, don’t follow back blindly. Limit yourself to a few hundred people.

I highly recommend taking a look at the rest of the list. Not only does Fr. Roderick provide good pointers on interacting with others on social media, many of the points can be applied to “real life” as well.

As Pope John Paul II reminded us in his beginning of his letter Novo Millennio Inuente (At the Beginning of the Third Millennium), we must be bold and “put out into the deep” (Luke 5:4). This includes reaching out with social media, and other new and perhaps unknown forms of technology, in order to spread the Good News.

Fr. Roderick’s list, however, takes all of this a step further: I see in his Social Media 2.0 tips not only evangelizing in word, but in action as well. After all, what we post on Facebook and in other places will hold no weight if we do not back it all up with solid actions. This means treating others with respect, knowing how to use those networks properly, and keeping in mind things such as etiquette and privacy. If we back up our words with solid actions, informed by the Gospel, both our words and actions will carry much more wieght, both in the social media networks themselves, as well as in so-called “real life” social interactions.

Check out the rest of Fr. Roderick’s blog, and be sure to listen to his podcast, The Break with Fr. Roderick.

Pax et bonum.

PS: Please also see my recent admin note.