#ThanksPontifex - a Twitter Storm to Thank the Pope

I wanted to thank the Pope as he retired but I didn't know how. I happen to work with youth ministry, so I also wanted a way for teens to get involved. Then this idea came to me, why don't we create a Twitter storm of thank-you messages. If we got enough, our tag would appear on "Trending" for all users on twitter even non-Catholics.

I mentioned it to a few who have more followers than I on twitter and got a positive response. So now I would like to invite you to participate with the tag #ThanksPontifex.

We want to have messages being posted all day on the 27th and 28th to trend. Then at the moment the Pope retires (7:45-8:15pm Rome time on the 28th) we want to try and occupy multiple of the top 10 trending worldwide spots. Once #ThanksPontifex tops the list, we can add in #PontifexThanks, #PontifexThanks, #TYBenedictXVI, and #ThanksBenedictXVI in that order.

Many tweets are good with @Pontifex at the beginning. I think it is best if everyone personalizes it a bit after adding the one tag - then I think the tag will trend better. (Nobody knows the secret formula to determine trending on Twitter.)

I have a bunch of model tweets and programs to schedule tweets at a more in depth post on my own blog.

I'll add you to the list if you tweet to me @22Catholic.

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”.

Pope Benedict's Message for 45th World Communications Day

The Pope delivered his message on the 45th World Day of Communications. Very apropos:

It is an ever more commonly held opinion that, just as the Industrial Revolution in its day brought about a profound transformation in society by the modifications it introduced into the cycles of production and the lives of workers, so today the radical changes taking place in communications are guiding significant cultural and social developments. The new technologies are not only changing the way we communicate, but communication itself, so much so that it could be said that we are living through a period of vast cultural transformation. This means of spreading information and knowledge is giving birth to a new way of learning and thinking, with unprecedented opportunities for establishing relationships and building fellowship.

The Pope has dealt with the Internet, social networking, and mass communications many times in the past. He is always quick to highlight the transformational power new technologies offer—in this case, he compares our communications revolution to the Industrial Revolution.

He is, as always, quick to warn of the dangers involved in this technology's misuse, and reminds us that, as with every tool humanity uses, this tool must, too, be placed at the service of good, rather than evil... and it is up to you and I to do this!

Pope unveils new agency to promote 'new evangelization'

From the CNS:

Pope Benedict XVI unveiled a new Vatican agency to promote "new evangelization" and assigned it the task of combating the "de-Christianization" of countries that were first evangelized centuries ago.

...and of special interest to Open Source Catholic readers, it looks like this agency will work especially through the means of modern communications media, such as social networking:

The archbishop said the council would work closely with modern communications media -- an explicit request of the pope -- and that the council's staff would operate in several languages.

The Pope's apostolic letter went on to speak of the importance of religious values and family in society, and mourns the loss of community and the fact that many live in an "interior desert" as a result of relativism and modernism.

Very poignant; we'll see what comes of this!

Benedict XVI to Priests: Use New Technologies to Evangelize! [UPDATED]

From Reuters:

VATICAN CITY - For God's sake, blog! Pope Benedict told priests on Saturday, saying they must learn to use new forms of communication to spread the gospel message.

In his message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Communications, the pope, who is 82 and known not to love computers or the Internet, acknowledged priests must make the most of the "rich menu of options" offered by new technology

"Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources — images, videos, animated features, blogs, Web sites — which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis."

Hat tip: The Forum

More sources for the story:

"Pope Benedict XVI urged priests over the weekend to use as many tools as possible to communicate with people, which includes the Internet and—yes—blogging. The Pope, who has been a bit of an Internet cudmudgeon, acknowledged that "the larger digital world represents a great resource for humanity" and said priests should take advantage of the tool before they become outdated."

Ars Technica: Pope: priests should blog, tweet the gospel too

Catholics Called to Communicate with Charity

Seen on the Catholic News Service wire, and mentioned on Whispers:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Communications technology keeps changing, but the need to deliver a message with truth and charity is never obsolete, said Italian Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli.

As president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Celli presided over a four-day meeting of cardinals, bishops and Catholic media professionals to discuss -- mainly in small groups -- new pastoral guidelines for church communications.

A recurring theme during the meeting Oct. 26-29 was what constitutes Catholic communications and what, if anything, can be done about those who use the word Catholic to describe themselves while using all sorts of nasty adjectives to describe anyone who doesn't agree with them.

Archbishop Celli said he didn't think a Catholic bloggers' "code of conduct" would accomplish much, especially when what is really needed is a reflection on what it means to communicate.

Upright, ethical communication is a natural result of a sincere desire to share the truth about God, about faith and about the dignity of the human person, he said.

The archbishop said that what Pope Benedict XVI has said about solidarity and development aid goes for communications as well: "Charity needs truth and truth needs charity."

BXVI: Proclaim the Gospel on the "Digital Continent"

From the Catholic News Agency:

Vatican City, Oct 29, 2009 / 11:30 am (CNA) — Addressing the full Pontifical Council for Social Communications today, Benedict XVI urged its members to help communicate the teachings of the Church on the “digital continent” of the ever-changing technological landscape.

Reflecting on the role of social networking and increasingly real-time electronic communication, Pope Benedict XVI said on Thursday that "modern culture is established, even before its content, in the very fact of the existence of new forms of communication that use new languages; they use new technologies and create new psychological attitudes.”

"Effectively," he continued, the advent of new technology “supposes a challenge for the Church, which is called to announce the Gospel to persons in the third millennium, maintaining its content unaltered but making it understandable.”

Quoting John Paul II's encyclical "Redemptoris Missio" that affirms: "Involvement in the mass media, however, is not meant merely to strengthen the preaching of the Gospel. There is a deeper reality involved here: since the very evangelization of modern culture depends to a great extent on the influence of the media.”

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