My prediction: 2011 will be the year of Social Media for the Catholic Church... at least in the United States.
Let's look at some of the latest developments:
- One of the topics for next week's Fall Assembly of the USCCB is "Integrating new media into diocesan communication structures."
- Blogs, Twitter, and other social media outlets are becoming less derivative and dependent on mainstream media, according to a recent Pew report.
- The USCCB recently released a synthesis of social media best practices in its Social Media Guidelines.
- Catholic websites are slowly beginning to integrate more into social media. Catholic news sites are leading the charge, along with high profile bloggers. Dioceses and larger parishes are joining the parade, albeit slowly and begrudgingly at times.
Sadly, there are still very few diocesan-level social media initiatives, but I think this will quickly change in the coming year. There are also relatively few bishops represented online—this is something that may take longer to happen, but it will happen.
It will be interesting to see what comes of the USCCB's discussions on social media.