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2013 World Communications Day: Social Networks

Pope Benedict XVI released his message for this year's World Communications Day (which will be May 12th), with the theme Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization.

...At times the gentle voice of reason can be overwhelmed by the din of excessive information and it fails to attract attention which is given instead to those who express themselves in a more persuasive manner. The social media thus need the commitment of all who are conscious of the value of dialogue, reasoned debate and logical argumentation; of people who strive to cultivate forms of discourse and expression which appeal to the noblest aspirations of those engaged in the communication process. Dialogue and debate can also flourish and grow when we converse with and take seriously people whose ideas are different from our own....

Read the whole thing here: Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the 47th World Communications Day.

Hat tip to Whispers in the Loggia.

The Pope's first tweet (@pontifex)

As seen on Whispers...

A couple interesting notes:

  • The Pope seems to have not actually triggered the tweet, as he pushed up on the screen, registering a scroll rather than a tweet. Oh well.
  • The Pope is using TweetDeck, but used Twitter for iPad for the first tweet.
  • The iPad nearly tumbled when the assistants confusedly picked it up and popped the smart cover off!
  • It didn't seem the entire event (the placement of the iPad, the actual tweeting, and the arrangement of people around the Pope) was that well rehearsed, but it did elicit some cheers from the crowd.

The takeaway is that the Pope is on Twitter now. We'll see how well the Vatican's social media gurus handle the @pontifex account. It could be a really good channel for connecting with many in society who spend more time communicating online than in the flesh!

The Pope, on Twitter

Apparently, on December 3, the Holy See Press Office will hold a press conference announcing the Pope's official entry into the Twitterverse. From the Vatican Information Service:

Vatican City, 29 November 2012 (VIS) – Benedict XVI will be present on Twitter. All related information will be reported on Monday 3 December at a press conference to be held in the Holy See Press Office, with the participation of Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the same dicastery, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, Professor Gian Maria Vian, editor of “L'Osservatore Romano”, and Greg Burke, Media Advisor to the Secretariat of State.

The Pope has already used the 140 character “tweet” format when, in June 2011, he launched the Vatican information portal www.news.va., with the words: “Dear friends, I just launched News.va. Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI”.

2013 World Communications Day Theme: Social Networks

The theme for the 2013 World Communications Day has been announced: Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization.

In particular, we need to be attentive to the emergence and enormous popularity of the social networks, which privilege dialogical and interactive forms of communication and relationships.

Read the press release here: World Communications Day 2013 [pccs.va].

(The Pope will release his message for World Communications Day on January 24, the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales).

Hat tip to Whispers in the Loggia.

A Faster Drupal—a Faster Web

I just sent a new note to the Flocknote Development list about making Flocknote speedier. Flocknote is a very complex web application, and at the beginning of this summer, I noticed that some pages were taking more than a second to generate on our server (that's before the page would be sent to the end user!).

Investigating the performance problems using MySQL's EXPLAIN, the PHP profiler XHProf, and Drupal's Devel module, I found the culprits to be some inefficient and memory-hungry caches and some inefficient database queries. Applying a couple patches that are in development for Drupal, and adding a couple indexes on different tables more than halved average page load time.

I also am actively trying to get these patches accepted into Drupal core and the Views module. Once the patches are incorporated, millions of other Drupal websites and applications will be able to conserve memory and clock cycles as well. You could easily substitute 'Wordpress', 'Joomla', 'DotNetNuke', or any other CMS or platform for 'Drupal' here.

An App for Every Diocese

I've been working on the Catholic Diocese App (for Android and iPhone) for the past year and a half, and it's my hope that every Catholic diocese or organization that wants an app can have one.

In fact, it's easy enough that even non-developers should be able to help dioceses get up and running on the app in just a few minutes, once they get the hang of the process! I've made this quick demonstration video of how you can customize the App to your diocese or organization's needs in about five minutes:

Basically, all that's involved is:

  1. Downloading the Zip archive of the Catholic Diocese App from GitHub.
  2. Replacing graphics like the App Icon, Default image, and news icon with your own.
  3. Changing a couple strings in Localizable.strings and another file.
  4. Building the app, then submitting it to the App Store.

Customizing the Android version of the app is similar, but requires Eclipse and the Android SDK instead of Xcode.

CNMC 2012 - Tech Summit

Many different aspects of Open Source Catholic's resources were mentioned during the course of the 2012 CNMC Tech Summit, on August 29. I've consolidated links to these resources here:

  • Catholic Diocese App (for iOS and Android)
    An open source app framework, native to the iOS and Android platforms, for building an app for a Catholic Diocese or Organization.
  • Mobile App Development Resources
    Some information about developing your own app, working with an outside developer, or using an app platform to quickly build an app.
  • Registration for OSC
    Join the OSC developer community to share information about your work and to help the Catholic Church develop better software and websites!

You can also follow @OSCatholic on twitter, subscribe via email in the sidebar, or subscribe to the OSC front page RSS feed.

Other things that were mentioned during the day:

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