Thursday, May 22, 2014

Social Networking Service

What are Catholics saying about the Church in their daily lives? What do the  Catholics find enjoyable about their lives? In order to have the answers to these and similar questions, we need a way of listening to what Catholics are saying, and a good way is the new media; simply put, going to the Internet. These are the words of a priest who is an authority in the study of media, and writes in the Catholic Times on the new media.

One of the research groups in the United States reports that during 2013 those who visited Pope Francis' Twitter account, 84 percent reacted favorably to what they read. Indirectly, he says, we know there are people who in their daily lives are interested in what the Church is saying and  are happy with the leader of the Catholic Church.

Important as it is to have a theological blue print of what is happening, likewise, necessary is to know what people are saying and feeling about the goings-on in the Church. With this information, we are able to prepare the nourishment and  make it more digestible. It is precisely this need that will make it easier for the Church to convey its inexhaustible treasures in a way  persons will be open to receiving them. This requires a need to know where to listen and to examine what is being said. The traditional media: radio, television, newspapers and the like are communicating news; their interest is not recording what people are saying but to explain and circulate information. It is here that the SNS (Social Networking Service) is of value. 

From the SNS, we learn how people relate to things religious, what they find helpful and what gives them vitality; the way they  relate to Jesus and how they experience him in their lives. We learn what they expect from the Church. These are all very important answers needed to understand what the Church has to do to address the problems people have in society.With the  new media, we  hear  the  voices of the people  and their witnessing  within the Church and become acquainted with what they  feel and need for living the spiritual life. 

The new media as with all of life, there is a need to  discern what is of value and what is not. Since the voices are many, it requires patience and good judgement to determine what is of help and what isn't. There are still many who use the new media without any desire to inform: negative, disparaging, and participate in less than human ways. This can be seen in some of the responses to the Pope's Twitter account. Since most of the responses are positive, we are thankful, but that is the price we pay for a free Internet. The criminal use of the Internet is illegal and when done authorities are notified and legal steps are taken, but there is a lot  between the very bad and the very good that is of little worth.


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