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According to a report on the Tablet website the head of Catholic Youth Ministry in the Philippines is worried that the Church is losing out to Social Media.
People making this point aren't rare these days. But Fr. Garganta goes on to make the point that most people usually then miss off the end: that social media could be used more effectively to evangelise.
We are called to be incarnational and to take the Gospel to where people are. In our case, young people. And in this case, social media.
I seem to remember making this very point on the telly four years ago. Since then though, the Church doesn't seem to have moved that far on the issue!
A brilliant youth development resource from LifeTeen. Here's a slice...
Go, read the rest...
TheYouthCartel.com has a run through of the top 25 Youth Ministry Blogs of 2012. Have a look.
There are some great sites on the list, including many that we pick up content from, but it's a little disappointing not to see any Catholic sites on there.
So, let's add some of our own...
The Catholic Youth Ministry Blog, run by Scott Miller is a must-read, as is Clayton Imoo's blog. The blog at CatholicYouthMinistry.com is also on that list. If you can think of any others, stick 'em in the combox below :)
Fascinating post from the USCCB blog. Here's a slice:
Go, read the rest...
For a few years now I have consistently advised youth groups and a lot of other small and medium sized parishes and organisations that Facebook pages, and not websites, are the way forward for the 21st Century.
Let me explain what I mean...
If you have a website then people need to know it's there. They then need to bookmark it and they need to go back to it and check it every so often in order for them to see the stuff you are putting up there. Okay, so this is a little easier if you've got RSS (which is a must) but it's still not easy. The fact is that most people don't just think to themselves 'hmm... I'll just check the youth group website before I go to bed to see if there's anything new up there!'
You convince yourself that they'll do just that, but they really won't. Okay, so a couple might do that once a week or so, but most won't. People don't check websites every day, or even every week unless they are really, seriously devoted to organisation or unless the website is awesome. And, I mean seriously awesome, not just with a really good Wordpress theme.
Communicating in the 21st Century is about getting your message to where people are. It's not about putting your message somewhere and hoping people come to that place. In fact, never mind what century we're in, communication has always been that way.
And that's where Facebook comes in...
Facebook is where young people and young adults are. It's where they go. It's what they check several times a day and it's a huge part of how they live their lives.
And that's why having a presence on Facebook - which your young people will visit a lot - is better than putting a website on a small corner of the web and hoping that they'll stop by.
You have to do a bit of work to get young people to 'like' your page, but once you've done that, you don't need to rely on them stopping by. You've just got them. When you post something on the page it appears on their timeline, and there's a good chance that they'll see it. You can set events, post photos, start discussions and do a lot more besides.
Trust me on this... unless you are a huge organisation, or unless you have MASSIVE plans for your website, you are far, far better just getting a Facebook page. You can even do targeted (yes, paid) advertising on Facebook to reel in a few more!
[image hotlinked from Flickr user lawtonchiles]
Brilliant flowchart I picked up on the Catholic Youth Ministry Blog...
We're posting videos from previous Youthwork Summits every few days. We don't have time to review them all, hence we are not recommending them as much as offering them for discussion. I'm sure they'll mostly be very good though. I seriously doubt I will agree with this one!
Aficionados of this site might remember my very brief appearance on the News at Ten back in 2009. Archbishop Nichols had made a comment about Facebook being bad for young people and the BBC had asked me for a quote in response.
Following my 10 seconds of fame, I wrote about my views in a little more detail on the site.
Anyway, as Clerical Whispers report, it turns out that the Archbishop is now coming round to the view that Facebook has it's uses. Here's a slice...
You can read the rest here...
YouthMin.org has a great post about youth ministry blogs. Specifically, Ben Read tells us what his favourite blogs are and why he reads them. There are some familiar names on that list, plus a few which are probably new to us.
Youth Ministry blogging is one area (of many!) where the evangelical world is still light years ahead of our efforts on this side of the Tiber. They have some great sites offering some great resources and insights. They also produce a plethora of great youth ministry books - like the Mark Oestreicher book I'm currently reading, for instance.
If you can think of any more stick 'em in the combox below...
I have to admit that I'm not Cardinal Pell's biggest fan. Perhaps because I disagree with him on a whole heap of issues (Conscience, the Environment, Liturgy) and perhaps a little bit because when I walked up to him in Madrid and said 'Good morning, your Eminence,' he simply looked at me as though he were wondering whether some random lay person from England actually merited a response.
I did not.
Having said that though, I think he gets a rough ride a lot of the time, and he also seems to have suffered quite badly from false and malicious allegations over the years.
I was completely on his side recently (support, I'm sure he finds invaluable!) when a Melbourne Comedian posted a message on Twitter alleging that Pell was directly involved in the sexual abuse of young people. It's an awful thing to write. Even if you don't like the guy and even if you don't like the Catholic faith, accusing somebody of that sort of thing when it's clearly not true is just downright evil. The comedian is the sort of person who likes to say deliberately controversial things. Pervious tweets have got her fired from jobs in the past, and she doesn't seem to have learned her lesson. Either that, or she calculates that the kudos from doing stupid things far outweighs the negatives. Or, as we call it in the UK, the Jeremy Clarkson principle!
Cardinal Pell responded to the tweet by getting some baddas lawyers and demanding that Twitter take the offending message down. When they refused, they threatened to sue and Twitter changed their mind and complied. You can read all about it on CathNews.com if you want to.
And, here's the youth ministry angle... (you were wondering. Be honest?)
I can't help thinking that if Pell had ignored the tweet and got on with life the whole controversy would have passed in a flash. Controversial comedian says controversial thing which everybody knows isn't true. It's not really a story. But Cardinal threatens to sue Twitter, now that's a story.
Sometimes negativity is best answered with dialogue, sometimes it's best met with force. Most of the time though, it's best just ignored. Especially on Twitter, where there are literally millions of people spoiling for a fight.
So, the next time you hear something negative about you or your project, ask yourself what the best response is. Think with your head and not your heart, on this one. at least. Ask yourself if you will be making a situation ten times worse by not letting the little things go.
In its latest move to embrace social media and the age of digital technology, the Vatican has announced a new Twitter account to share the Pope's messages.
The Pontifical Council for Social Communications denies that the move is a technological gimmick that will "dumb down" the Church's message.
Speaking to Vatican Radio, the council's secretary, Mgr Paul Tighe explained: "The idea was very simply to try and use Twitter to share with people the essence of the Pope's message for Lent, so over the 40 days of Lent to tweet every day one of the ideas of this message…. doing it in a way so that people can re-tweet and already people we know from our meeting with bloggers last year are already re-tweeting."
He said that Twitter was a channel to "provoke people's interest and to invite them then to follow the message and read the text".
"Many of the key Gospel ideas are readily rendered in 140 characters - this is not the only way the Church speaks but it's an avenue that is open to us and it's pithy, succinct and it's one I think that we're quite good at," he said.
The Vatican already has its own Facebook page, YouTube channel and iPhone application.
Although the Twitter account was set up to share the Pope's Twitter message, Mgr Tighe suggested it would continue after the season's end.
MYMission - the awesome youth arm of Middlesborough Diocese - have just launched a brilliant new website. Have a look...
MYMission have only been around for a few years, but they've made a huge splash and done some brilliant stuff in that time. What's especially impressive is their use of multimedia - and their ability to get interviews with some seriously impressive sports stars too!!
If you want to know more, you can meet them at Flame Congress...
I've just read the following on a site called seventy8productions.com and I found myself totally disagreeing with it...
This chap means well, I'm sure, and it's important to remind ourselves that when we disagree it is always with a mind to being friendly, charitable and hopefully to creating an engaging, growthful debate.
That said though, I really disagree with these sentiments for a few reasons. Firstly, there is a huge range of stuff that might be interesting or useful to youth ministers - both in their work and in their formation, their faith, their lives - and sometimes when you run a big site you find yourself sticking loads of stuff up with a quick line at the end about how it might be useful in youth ministry. You do so because it actually might be useful. You also do it because you might be a little too busy to spend three paragraphs explaining exactly how it might be useful. Sometimes it's good to set people thinking.
Secondly "when was the last time you heard a student in your youth group say We should connect using social media?"
Answer: Yesterday, and the day before that. And the day before that too. I run a youth Mass for which the only way young people have of connecting is through Facebook. I have been involved in World Youth Day groups and Lourdes groups for which the best way of getting to know one another, swapping photos, arranging reunions and so many other things is through Facebook.
Social Media matters. A lot.
A few years back, CatholicYouthWork.com proposed a new Twitter hashtag for Catholic Youth Ministry - #CathYM. For the uninitiated, we should probably explain that hashtags are a way of organising information. People who want to know about youth ministry stuff on twitter, for instance, might have a look at one of the common youth ministry tags to see what's being tweeted. It's just simpler than just following everyone who sometimes tweets about youth ministry and then trawling through the rest of their stuff.
Anyway... so #CathYM was pretty successful. It gets multiple uses each day and it seems to be gaining recognition as the official way to organise Catholic Youth Ministry tweets.
With that in mind, we've come up with another bright idea. Well, maybe. The idea is that we need a hashtag for UK Catholic Youth Ministry stuff, and we're suggesting #CathYMUK. Let's give it a go and see if it flies!
[image hotlinked from Flickr user mikecogh]
I've just been reading a good article on a site called YouthLeaderStash.com about the current trends with teens and Social Media. The article is a report from a symposium and it looks at current trends as well as some possibly emerging trends.
It's important as youth workers to know what teens are in to. Firstly, because we are missionaries to their culture, and therefore we have to understand it, and secondly because communicating with them is much easier if we actually get how they do it!
[image hotlinked from YouthLeaderStash.com]
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