A Collective Church Online?

A Collective Church Online?

Media fascinates me whether print, online, television, movies, podcasts, UStream, Kindle…I use them all. My career is based on understanding how consumers buy, use and interact with media. If you ask my son, he’ll complain, “My mom is either on her cell phone or some computer!”

But, as Catholics, many, including those who work in media, find the last five years troubling, especially the “immediacy” and “always on” nature of online media.

Are we substituting timeliness and speed for accuracy and clarity?

Catholics are online

Is it imperative to allow commentary for every event that happens, especially ones where Church truth and teaching are openly challenged? Can’t a deacon blogger go on vacation and close commentary?

Do we strive after the latest and greatest tech gadget and forget that the content and message are far more important than these gadgets?

Must we be at every new social media platform, the latest is Google+, and forget sites and forums where we already connect with friends and family?

And what responsible Catholic has time for all of this?

Some of my online Catholic colleagues believe we, as a Church, need to be more engaged online. We need to do more than “send out press releases” and hope for the best when a Church event happens.

But it makes me wonder: is it possible to strive for a collective Church online? And if so, where are we all gathering?


About the Author

Barbara Baker works in Marketing in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Anonymous

    It IS starting to feel a bit “scattered” with the addition of Google+ as an additional place to gather, but I believe there is a great deal of good in Catholics representing faith and teachings in all the forums where people today are likely to be found.  I also believe that what is happening is fundamentally good.  In terms of gathering, here are some of my experiences.

    About 150 or so Catholics “gathered” on Facebook as members of a “prelature” (team) playing the game “Priestville” about a year and a half ago, and even though most of us are no longer playing the game, since we had to “friend” each other we frequently share Catholic content and discussions on Facebook – as well as lend prayer and support in times of need.  What we post is visible to all our non-Catholic friends as well – which has enabled me to have discussions about faith with some of them as well. I see my Facebook presence as both ministerial and personal.  it has allowed me to get to know Catholics from many areas of the country from many walks of life.

    Twitter has provided a different kind of platform – more conducive to a small community. About 12 or so Catholics interested in technology have more or less “gathered” for nearly daily interaction on Twitter.  Some of us did an in-person “tweet-up” at the last NCCL conference.  We are now gathering additionally on Google+ as early adopters.  I find that being frequently in touch with other Catholic leaders helps me by giving me the ability to share resources, ideas and opinions, as well as support.  It is a community – and the connection is real.  I suspect there are other small communities out there as well – and that we have only scratched the surface of the possibilities.

  • http://catholicservant.com Craig Berry

    Great questions Barbara.

    I wrote this long thoughtful comment about how I’m bored with social networks and all I really want is one or two that I’m active on; then I deleted it.

    My answer to your headline is “No”. We are a fragmented Church online. 

    More prayer. More penance.

    Sorry for my cantankerousness; I haven’t had enough coffee yet this morning.

  • Meredith Gould

    I strongly believe that “responsible Catholics” have a responsibility to be and do “church” wherever two or more are gathered. These days, a lot of that happens online. In my work with churches and people of faith interested in social media I suggest thinking of the virtual world as another vineyard; social media as a supplementing rather than replacing church-the-building.

    And if that doesn’t persuade, consider that digital media allow the home bound and disabled to participate in ways that they/we are otherwise unable.

    Peace be with you and please know that you are warmly invited to participate in the new weekly Twitter-based chat focused on church social media. For more information, visit: http://churchsocmed.blogspot.com.

    • http://KolbeMarket.com BarbaraKB

      Thanks for your reply, Meredith. Sorry it took so long for me to respond here. Access to Church issues via web and social media channels for home bound and disabled is something I had not considered. Perhaps next time I will join your #chsocm at Twitter as @CatholicMeme:twitter

  • http://KolbeMarket.com BarbaraKB

    Glad you’re admitting your struggles too, Craig… and glad you deleted anything cantankerous!  We’ll struggle together but, you’re right, more prayer and penance before more social media in our online lives!

  • http://KolbeMarket.com BarbaraKB

    WOW! Thanks, Joyce (@jdonliturgy:disqus). YOU are why I keep plugging away at various social media sites: you discover new ways to connect with real people about real content and work. See? Now I need to go over to Google+ and make sure I am apart of your circle of discussion because what you’re doing, connecting online with offline, is what social media does. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Notjudith Dex

    Good point.What do you prefer G+ or FB?
    social media for churches

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