I picked up on this blog post by Natalia Angulo, who poses the question: “Is Jesus Social Media Savvy“. Particularly relevant to what we are trying to do here, i.e. the gradual introduction of social media (e.g. this blogging platform) to our congregation at St Michael’s Church, and the wider community through our Outreach work. I recommend reading the full post by Natalia, but I felt these abstracts were particularly relevant:
Celebrities may have more followers, but with 1.3 billion impressions every 30 days and over 16.5 million fans, Jesus Daily claims to be the most engaged Facebook page in the world. The site’s success is indicative of the way religion has moved beyond the churches and synagogues onto the web, where faith can touch us not just on the weekend but every day. ….
……Even Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI took to Twitter at age 85, quickly building up more than 1.6 million followers before signing off the social network on Feb. 28 following his almost unprecedented resignation, sending a final thankful tweet:
@Pontifex: “May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives.” …..
…..Another religious leader with a large following on Twitter is the Dalai Lama who on his @DalaiLama verified account has more than 6 million followers.
….Just as St. Paul was willing to travel in order to spread the message of the gospel, Morris — who uses Twitter and Facebook, and hosts a SirusXM Catholic radio channel — sees social media not just as an opportunity, but an obligation to reach out to people who may not be coming into his pews on Sundays, as well as a means to keep in touch with parishioners…..
It seems that social media has come too late for many people at St Michael’s, i.e. there is precious little engagement on this blog, and Twitter remains an enigma for the vast majority. I think that social media is viewed as a young person’s environment, to be avoided at all costs by the ‘older demographic’, which is clearly not the case if you look at the examples of Pope Benedict and the Dalai Lama mentioned above – neither of whom are enjoying the springs of youth!
So, does social media have a role to fulfil in reaching out to the people in our Parish (and beyond), who are unlikely to ever set foot in any church, let alone St Michael’s? Surely it does, and if Jesus was living amongst us – physically – today, I’m sure he would have a Twitter account!