Facebook now has more than 600 million users worldwide and that number will probably reach a billion in July 2012. That’s how big and popular Facebook has become. According to Socialbakers, in the Philippines alone, 24.7 million out of the 30 million Filipinos who have internet access have Facebook accounts. That’s 83.48 percent of the entire online population. Thus it is not an exaggeration to say that practically every Filipino who goes online is on Facebook. Continue reading
God Our Father,
Direct our lives that we may use Facebook to proclaim Your Word. Grant that our wall posts may serve as a source of inspiration and joy to our friends.
Guide us as we update our status and let all our comments be pleasing to You. Make us realize that we need to read the Bible more often than we check our news feed. May we find more time correcting our bad habits than editing our profile pics.
Lead us in Your wisdom that we may we be more concerned about following Your precepts than about the size of our friends list. May we poke others only because we want to show we care.
Deliver us from privacy problems, from spam applications and from the temptation to post other people’s images, ideas and videos without permission. Allow us to remain in an open relationship with You, to bear much fruit, and to give glory to Your name.
We ask all these through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Better late than never. Last Saturday, the Vatican launched its official Twitter page. And it is available in no less than six international languages. As of writing this post, the Vatican Twitter (English) page has more than 2,000 followers.
The Vatican is not new to social media as it launched its YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/vatican) as well as Facebook and iPhone applications more than a year ago. The Vatican’s YouTube channel is available in 4 languages.
I gave the following presentation last Saturday at the St. Scholastica’s College in Manila. The audience were mostly parents of high school students. The main premise of the talk is that online social networks, such as Facebook, Multiply and Twitter, have their advantages and usefullness but porn and other inappropriate content are also lurking on the world wide web. Thus young people do not only need to be safe and smart online but also have to develop a greater sense of responsibility in their use of the internet.
In his message for the 44th World Communications Day, Pope Benedict XVI challenges priests to proclaim the Gospel by utilizing blogs, images, videos and other digital communication technologies. The theme of the Pontiff’s message is “The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word”.
The Pope recognizes that priests need to employ new communication technologies for a fruitful priestly ministry. Knowing that “new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances”, the pope asserts that priests “are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word.”
Zoogle is a newly-launched Catholic social networking site. Like Facebook and other social networks, Zoogle allows users to create profiles and add friends, share photos and videos, create one’s own group or join others.
Zoogle is still in beta stage and I’ve had problems accessing my newly-registered account. After clicking the validation link I received via email from Zoogle, it keeps telling me that my account has either been blocked or that I may not have activated it yet. I hope the administrators will solve this problem immediately as others have reported experiencing this same problem. There is no “About Us” page so there is not much I know about the Zoogle.
Last week I posted a list of ten priests who tweet. This time let’s follow these ten consecrated sisters on Twitter.
The ten tech-savvy sisters use Twitter to draw people to God and to communicate His Word through the popular micro-blogging platform. These nuns represent the growing number of priests, religious and lay faithful who make good use of Twitter, as it is a powerful vehicle for evangelization and can provide both inspiration and encouragement.
This list below is not a complete list of all nuns who tweet, but by following any one of them you will be able to connect to many more religious sisters on Twitter.
|Name: Sr. Helena Burns
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Bio: Media Nun. Philosophy, Media Literacy, Theology of Body. Proof of God’s existence: hummingbirds, hockey, Popeye’s red beans and rice.
|Name: Sr. Pat
Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA
Bio: I’m a Catholic Sister of Bon Secours & help folks figure out life options (what’s God want). I like spirituality religion.Blog www.bonsecoursvocations.org/blog
|Name: Sister Julie
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Bio: A Nun’s Life Ministry helps people discover and grow in their their life’s calling by engaging their questions about God, faith, and religious life.
|Name: Sr Lisa M Doty
Location: Rome – Italy
Bio: a missionary, a nun, dabble in graphics, music & techstuff, with one goal in mind
Location: Los Angeles
Bio: Catholic religious sister (read:nun), democrat, loves the Latin Mass
|Name: Sister Anne
Bio: Catholic sister (nun), happy to belong to Jesus as a Daughter of St. Paul for over (ahem) 30 years.
|Name: Benedictine Sisters
Location: MO, WY and AZ
Bio: Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration; Catholic women religious; Makers of low-gluten altar breads
|Name: Sr. Susan Wolf, SND
Location: Washington DC
Bio: SND, Equipping Catholics to evangelize; using social media for mission.
|Name: Margaret Kerry fsp
Bio: Pauline living in community of Catholic women serving people through new media.
Location: Spokane, Washingtton
Bio: Catholic – Poor Clare Nun – Pray, Write, Internet and Radio – oh and family, friends and Pi (my parrot)
Can the real-time web bring real world change? Thus asked Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as she delivered her keynote address during the Le Web tech conference a few days ago in Paris, France.
She pointed out that poverty, disease and education are the big challenges facing today’s world. Then later she asked: can social networks solve these social problems? I completely agreed with her when she said that online activism can effect real change in the offline world and that digital advocacy could translate to analog action. Aside from being a great source for news, social networks can also serve as platforms for collaboration and as mouthpieces to mobilize people.
The tech-savvy queen mentioned how social networks were utilized to help the victims of typhoon Ketsana in the Philippines and other examples of online collaboration that led to real-world change. She said, “Digitizing ourselves have heightened our awareness to be selfless. What we need now is to amplify our actions.”
Following priests on Twitter can be a stimulating experience. While their main goal is to spread God’s Word, they also tweet about their everyday experiences, their opinion on issues that affect all of us, and about other things that engage and excite their attention and curiosity.
There are those who tweet their prayers. Others talk about the liturgy. There are also those who provide the latest updates from their Church and from their mission areas. Some of them even have tens of thousands of followers. The active presence of priests on Twitter is another proof that clergymen would really use all possible means to fulfil their mission to make disciples of all nations.
This list below is not a complete list of all priests who tweet, but by following any one of them you will be able to connect to many more clerics on Twitter.
|Name: Rev. Bosco Peters
Location: New Zealand
Bio: Hi I’m a priest enthusiastic about healthy spirituality and worship that connects. Find more than 160 character thoughts at my website www.liturgy.co.nz
|Name: Roderick Vonhögen
Location: iPhone: -33.873695,151.223495
Bio: Dutch Catholic priest, CEO of the Star Quest Production Network (www.sqpn.com); host of the Daily Breakfast podcast; XBL Gamer Tag ‘Fr Roderick’.
|Name: Fr. Wade Fahnestock
Location: Hyatt Place-Lakeland Center
Bio: Old Catholic Priest on mission, musician, pastor, social networker, marketing consultant
|Name: Fr. Jonathan Morris
Location: New York
Bio: Fox News Analyst, Author, Catholic Priest
Location: South Melbourne, Australia
Bio: Founder of the Fr. Bob Maguire Foundation, Open Family, Emerald Hill Mission. Parish priest of Sts Peter and Pauls South Melbourne. Cranky old man
|Name: Fr. George Mabura
Bio: I am Roman Catholic priest. Faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
|Name: Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
Location: iPhone: 51.512024,-0.117571
Bio: Catholic Priest, Blogger, Columnist – fatherzonline.com
|Name: Fr. Jay Finelli
Location: Rhode Island
Bio: Roman Catholic Priest from the Diocese of Providence, Podcaster, Webmaster, Mac Geek, Live Steam enthusiast.
|Name: Father Stefan
Location: Fairfax, VA
Bio: Father Stefan Starzynski is widely known as The Healing Priest. He conducts a Charismatic Mass on the 2nd Sat at St Mary of Sorrows in Fairfax, VA
|Name: Fr. Chris Decker
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Bio: a priest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and a disciple of the New Evangelization.
Twitter is the third most used social network in the planet. It is reported that it gets 55 million monthly visits from all over the world. I first tweeted in October 2007. My very first tweets were updates of my whereabouts and what-abouts. Then in May 2008 I began tweeting inspirational quotes from well-known authors. Five months later I started posting biblical passages as tweets. Last July 16th I posted my first prayer tweet. Since then I’ve been tweeting nothing else but prayers.
My Twitter and Facebook accounts are linked in such a way that every time I post something on my Twitter account, the tweet automatically appears as my status in Facebook. Many of my Facebook friends respond to the prayer tweets, and based on their comments and on the “who likes this” list I feel that the online prayers have made a difference in their lives. Some of them respond with an “Amen” or another prayer. While some others ask me to include them in my prayers. There are also those who say that they will live out the prayers.
The prayer tweets have not only deepened my relationships with my online friends, they have also allowed me to minister to them. Praying for and praying with people can be as authentic an experience online as it is in the real world.
This experience convinced me that Twitter is a useful tool for evangelization. I am aware that a good number of people are already using Twitter to spread God’s Word. If you are planning to use Twitter to evangelize others, here are some topics/themes that you might want to focus on:
1. Passages from the Bible
2. Thanksgiving prayers and intercessions
3. Quotes from saints and pontiffs
4. Inspiring words from Christian authors
5. Excerpts from Catholic Social Teachings and other Church documents
6. Your personal reflection on faith and life