Recently, I presented for the Diocese of Harrisburg. Jen Reed, in an article entitled Workshop Examines Social Media Connections for the Catholic Witness reported on the whole day. (Chris Heisey was the photographer.)
According to Erik Qualman’s book “Socialnomics,” 96 percent of millennials have joined a social network. Youth and young adults are increasingly connected to cell phones, iPods and the Web.
It’s vital that diocesan ministries reach them where they are.
The Diocese of Harrisburg hosted a social networking workshop on May 19, where diocesan office personnel, clergy, educators and youth ministers gained knowledge and insight to the various forms of social media, strategies for connecting with the millennial generation and legal issues surrounding social media.
“The current generation will look online for the resources and information they want. They want things to be easily accessible to them,” said Tom Steele, Director of Information Technology at St. Joseph Parish in York.
He guided workshop attendees through the maze of social media, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and blogs, and urged them to engage and interact with their audience as they work to promote the Church and spread the Gospel message.
Kevin Gold and Robert Tribeck of Rhoads and Sinon Law Firm in Harrisburg addressed legal issues and liabilities concerning social media in the workplace, and D. Scott Miller, Director of Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, presented best practices for connecting to young people via social media.
He urged attendees to embrace the digital age, not hide from it for fear of using it or not knowing where it might take them.
“A merely censorious attitude on the part of the Church toward the media is neither sufficient nor appropriate,” Mr. Miller remarked. (which is not exactly a quote from me as much as it is from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications document on The Church and Internet,)
With a wealth of options and ideas laid out before them regarding social media usage, workshop participants ended the day with a brainstorming session facilitated by Christian Charity Sister Geralyn Schmidt, Coordinator of the Diocesan Wide Area Network.
“Education has to be effective and relevant,” she said of outreach to today’s youth. “If you have students in front of you, then you have an obligation to digital citizenship.