The National Catholic Review
For Web-Savvy Organizations

Do Engage. Maintain an active presence in the digital world, including on Facebook and YouTube. It is easy to set up accounts on both. Facebook features “fan pages” for public organizations that anyone can join or “like.” Think about newer modes, too, like mobile phone apps.

Do Update. Frequently. If you are in need of new content, link to news items that people might otherwise overlook. Think sticky.

Do Tweet. It is easy to write 140-character tweets (on Scripture, spirituality, prayer, books, church news) that will help the people of God.

Do Redesign. At least every few years upgrade your Web site.

Do Scout. Look at popular Web sites, blogs, Facebook “fan pages,” YouTube videos and Twitter feeds. What are they posting that makes them successful?

Don’t Foster Link Rot. Leaving up dead links, (a k a “link rot”) will frustrate visitors and give the impression your organization is inattentive or just clueless.

Don’t Be a Hater. Don’t respond to hateful comments with more hate, no matter how tempting it is to “get” the other person. Remember: In all things charity.

Don’t Despair. If you question the need for this kind of evangelization, remember the growing power of social and digital media to reach the young and the not-so-young.

Don’t Be Gullible. Be very discerning when you stumble upon outright attacks on other Catholics. Before you jump to conclusions, find out what is actually going on.

Don’t Be Proud. No medium is beneath us when it comes to spreading the Gospel. Remember Jesus used any and all means to reach people.

Read Fr. Martin's report on the church in the digital age: "Status Update."

James Martin, S.J., is culture editor at America.

Comments

RICHARD KUEBBING | 7/5/2011 - 11:59pm

Excellent points, Fr James.


I have been promoting building a knowledgebase at work to connect information silos as a "spare time" project for years. Slow going because few people responsible for authorizing such work would use the work product and therefore don't have the vision to see what is best practices. Klugeyness is everywhere.


THOMAS ONEILL | 6/27/2011 - 4:12pm
Father Martin, excellent points and a wonderful article too!  Wholeheartedly agree with your points.  I can see where many priests/pastors/deacons may be a little 'afraid' of many of the newer media, but I've also seen clergy who are not so savvy really take to newer media, even if they don't do it themselves.  

I've seen parishes go from audio recordings on cassette tapes, to CDs, to podcasts of readings and homilies, all due to technology that was smaller, easier, and cheaper to use.  Now that so many have smartphones with easy video capability, and some pretty quick internet connections available, no reason not to try video things!

 
WILLIAM FOSTER , Sr | 6/27/2011 - 11:58am
A compendium of Catholic Websites would be useful. My experience to date is in agreement with your original observations-klugey and antiquated. I have not recently visited the Bishops Cnnference site, but will, based on your observations.

As a separate observation, downloads are all over the map. America is exemplary in that a digital download of each issue is possible. Commonweal does it the manual way, emailing an attachment-it still works but is labor intensive for the staff.

It is great to see you dabbling in this. Your books are all readable-your blog is also great.
Regards,
  Bill Foster