Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Catholicism and Web 2.0

With the evolving Web the Church needs to adapt to the changes that continue to come. Popes have expressed  the need for us to get involved. An article in the Catholic Times introduces us to Web 2.0. The Web 1.0  was mainly static but now we have interaction and user-generated content.

With the Web 2.0 we have a new way of involvement and a challenge to the Church--a dilemma.  Catholicism is not managed according to democratic principles, it has a fixed structure. When all can create information, opinions and become owners of the new media, the one directional information conveyed approach will be challenged.

Back in the 90s most of the parishes established their own parish web-sites; today they have few visitors and many have been discontinued. New technology needs to be accepted and used. In 2000 we began using the so-called Web 2.0. Users can now create data, process,  preserve and publish.  We  have SNS and UCC (User Created Content)  and Wikipedia, Tweeter and Facebook and the like.

Korea is familiar with Web 2.0. Our diocesan bulletins  are no longer only giving information but the form and ways of  accessing  the bulletins have changed. QR code ( a code consisting of black and white squares that can be read with your smart phone) can allow one to access the bulletin easily. One can interact with the site and in certain bulletins we have a code that allows those with impaired vision to access the spoken word. Podcasts are available.

When the tools and methods of communication  change, it is well known that communication's enviroment  changes: politics, economics, culture  and society change. The way we live and think, religion too will be affected. Our understanding and behavior, the pastoral enviroment in which we live, our Christians  and the environment in which we seek to evangelize, and our attitudes change.

One of the priests of the diocese in an essay he wrote for the Catholic Times in 2004, at the beginning of the Web 2.0 era  said: "The flood of information calls for a different behavior on the part of Catholicism." We have a paradigm shift : "Catholics have to begin to  get into the pastoral work of the Church. This change has to take place before they leave the Church."

In the future we will have Web 3.0 and 4.0.  Web 2.0 is interactive, Web 3.0 will have communication, customized to the individual. If the  Church is not to lose its essential nature she will have to adapt and  plan counter measures. If we see the technological advances as only something that is adding to our comfort we  miss what is important.The article concludes reminding the readers that all those using the internet are no longer one way users of  technology.                              

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