What a most enlightening experience. To be present when so many key people within the Catholic Church all spoke in unison about the need to use the social media as a key component of evangelisation, was something quiet special and unique.I have tried to do the impossible by noting the key points of the congress below!
The congress booklet set the scene with a quote from Pope Benedict XVI’s message to the 45th World Day of Communication. He emphasised the need to be actively involved with the social media and to evangelise through the various means available here.
“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.”
[“I would like then to invite Christians, confidently and with an informed and responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible. This is not simply to satisfy the desire to be present, but because this network is an integral part of human life. The web is contributing to the development of new and more complex intellectual and spiritual horizons, new forms of shared awareness. In this field too we are called to proclaim our faith that Christ is God, the Saviour of humanity and of history, the one in whom all things find their fulfilment (cf. Eph 1:10). The proclamation of the Gospel requires a communication which is at once respectful and sensitive, which stimulates the heart and moves the conscience; one which reflects the example of the risen Jesus when he joined the disciples on the way to Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-35). By his approach to them, his dialogue with them, his way of gently drawing forth what was in their heart, they were led gradually to an understanding of the mystery.”]
Key speakers at the congress emphasised various points, which supported the Pope’s appreciation of the place of social media in the digital age:
Bishop Bill Walker from Broken Bay (http://www.dbb.org.au/ourbishop/Pages/default.aspx) emphasised that
– new media is not an optional extra – is essential for today. Critical to know who the message is for, and how they receive it.
The more fervent we are at articulating our personal faith with the new media the better will be the response to Jesus.
Community of faith – best done when the base is a solid Catholic community. What makes it Catholic? – A critical mass of mature Catholics.
Monsignor Paul Tighe from Vatican (Irish Priest) – now is a clash of the institutional Church and Internet possibilities. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Tighe
Option for subsidiarity needed. Church needs to develop structures to stop centralisation. Address - Personal and Institutional / Method / Media / Message / Communications – Strategic consideration. People resources are extraordinary worldwide.
Social Media is everything Church does is communicating. It is beyond the pulpit now. Every user of new media is an educator
A highly informed and qualified panel then discussed this in detail. The panel comprised:
Fr Richard Leonard (Jesuit – Director of Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting + Visiting Professor at Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, etc.) http://www.abc.net.au/sundaynights/stories/s3281765.htm
Scott Stephens (ABC – ABC Online Religion and Ethics Editor + on Drum, etc) http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/scott-stephens-33390.html
Geraldine Doogue (ABC – Compass, etc) http://www.abc.net.au/compass/team/geraldinedoogue.htm
Emma Rossi (Media Executive at Australian Communications and Media Authority) http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/HOMEPAGE/pc=HOME
Scott Stephens – Church needs to re-embrace locality / parish – not bastardised social communities. Go against the trend – don’t go where people are – too much opinion out there. Don’t tone down the lesson – turn it up! Quality matters – most popular blog pieces have depth. Church has to exemplify to a watching world – worship, sacramentality, repentance and social ability. What they will get from no other outlet – the ability to think and reason. ABC is a rare outlet trying for this.
Emma Rossi – ACMA – do go where crowds are… eg in Australia teenagers are on Facebook 13hrs/wk avr. Should be a Cardinal Pell Twitter account being regularly updated. Schools and parishes need also. Catholic Church cannot ignore what is being said about it – response is needed.
Geraldine Doogue – ABC – wary of fads – does Twitter suit us? Energy needed to keep social media fresh – huge challenge, otherwise pull back to what can’t be compromised on… Need to provide media with quality content. (Media senses blood for Church today. Lost interest in politics of Church, curiosity of the Church and even great encyclicals…) Media is inspired by trivia and various formats – not content.
Fr Richard Leonard – Hard teaching needed – need to present in a compassionate, gentle and charitable way – particularly to opponents.
Warren Mundine –( Aborigine, former national president of ALP + CEO of NTS Corp) http://www.ntscorp.com.au/index.php/annual-report/executive-team
More aborigines in Sydney than NT. Most aborigines in Australia are urban dwellers. Stop romanticising about aborigines living off the land. Only 9% of Aborigines and 16% of other Australian’s believe media is fair to aborigines. Yet 99% of Aborigines and 87% of other Australian’s believe a good relationship between both groups is needed. Honesty needed in media portrayal – good and bad.
Archbishop Colleridge – Archbishop of Brisbane – Pontifical Council for Social Communications, etc. http://www.catholicleader.com.au/news.php/features/leading-a-missionary-church_79228
What we are seeing now is profound and intrinsic – just as was the invention of the heel, car, printing press. We should be at the vanguard of the of the cultural revolution. How do we humanise the ‘coldness’ of the screen – screen shows a denial of the body.
Open up a vision of possibilities – the world is exciting, especially for young who are bored with the real small world and desire the global world opened up by the digital age. Parishes are not what they used to be – people are moving around – it is being redefines by the car and technology.
Element of surprise is important eg live radio is better than pre-recorded television. Media is rarely the enemy or either the mate! Must be in the culture but not of it.
Julie Posetti – PhD thesis: Twitterisation of Journalism – former ABC journalist at AM, PM and World Today. Now lecturer at Uni of Canberra. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_Posetti
Stories v. important – tell stories on websites continually. Stories are more sources for journalists than ever. New journalist values – transparency – new objectivity – to be open, engaging… / authenticity / collaboration / respect for audience
Today the audience knows more than the journalist knows. New journalist skills – engagement / curate – share your’s and others’ work, facilitate / build – debates and discussions (start these), crowd sourcing – coop audience into research / contacts / verification, making content out of the process – talking to audience eg what you are doing / how you are doing it etc
Journalist branding is now a reality.
Twitter: breaks stories faster / audience engagement / clash of the personal and professional spheres / verification challenge
‘Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls” text 2009 + Submissions to government.
Activists for cancelling sexploitation advertising – hugely successful eg Target, Harvey Norman and Telstra adverts stopped
Fr Dr Matthew Tan PhD – theologian and philosopher / lecturer (Blog – the Divine Wedgie) http://www.campion.edu.au/our-people/faculty/110-dr-matthew-tan http://divinewedgie.blogspot.com.au/
Need to draw people out of cyberspace and back into the physical world – to become part of the Eucharisitic community. Become online missionaries – new search of global energy. Cyberspace is a parody of a monastery.
Use Facebook, Twitter and websites to evangelise. More website involvement of my story / thoughts etc
XT3.com– Mary and Therese Nichols – Sydney youth services
An interactive, content-driven website, with a focus on providing Catholic multimedia resources – also social networking – subscribers have a profile page – an added extra from people’s facebook and twitter pages.
Chris Downey and Paul Thomas – Video on the Web (Workshop)
Global Vision Media – see Erikson promo + Baptcare (bringing care to life) + e-learning examples – GVM demo areas. Final cut pro editing software. Backgrounds (generic) can be purchased . Creative commons - free videos, photos, etc.
Plural + - http://pluralplus.unaoc.org/ - youth worldwide video competition - PLURAL+ supports youth in addressing the key challenges of their communities related to migration, diversity and social inclusion. See Faith in London as an example at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDbgFwOI8uI
Therese Nichols and Daniel Saban – Evangelisation and Media (Workshop)
Video blogs. Mt 5:14-16. “We need you…” (Address to artists by Pope Benedict) We need to evangelise the new digital continent – ie social media world. Real Talk – sexuality videos. Salt and Light Television – built after 2002 WYD in Toronto – promo is very good. http://www.saltandlighttv.org/
Why I’m Catholic – website - http://whyimcatholic.com/
One Billion Stories – website - http://onebillionstories.com/
Word on Fire – website – Fr Robert Barron - http://www.wordonfire.org/ - suggested this be linked to each parish website
Catholic Answers – website – includes Catholic encyclopedia and interactive discussion forums - http://www.catholic.com/
Catholics Come Home (website) – former Catholics – estimate 200 000 so far have come home - http://www.catholicscomehome.org/ - suggested that this is linked to each parish website
*** Strong suggestion to link good Catholic websites to each parish website (2 v.g. examples above)
Each parish should try and include blogs / vlogs (video blogs) / podcasts of priest homilies, etc.
The Gospel in the Digital Age – NY Archbishop Homilies
See’ Why I love religion and love Jesus’ in response to ‘Why I hate religion and love Jesus’ on YouTube.
Blogs Facebook pages - Conditions of Use – note what is acceptable and not + ramifications - withdrawal of comment.
For my personal summary of the key points from this congress see the blog 'Australian Catholic Media Conference 2012 - a summary of key points for the digital age'.
The 'Australian Catholic Media Conference 2012 - an Overview with Links' blog post written by Bryan Foster, author of Church Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (2nd ed), - the paperback and ebook manual for Church communications and marketing personnel - 304 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points, which allow for a considerably large number of quality stategies and examples to be detailed and available for church marketing personnel - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com