Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Social Media Warning

Disclosure: I am not an RC. Pope Benedict has raised some interesting questions about social media.

In a message entitled "Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in the digital age" he writes that the possibilities of new media and social networks offered "a great opportunity," but warned of the risks of depersonalization, alienation, self-indulgence, and the dangers of having more virtual friends than real ones.

"It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives."

He urged users of social networks to ask themselves "Who is my 'neighbor' in this new world?" and avoid the danger of always being available online but being "less present to those whom we encounter in our everyday life."

The vast horizons of new media "urgently demand a serious reflection on the significance of communication in the digital age."

The pope did not mention any specific social networking site or application by name, but sprinkled his message with terms such as "sharing," "friends," and "profiles."

He said social networking can help "dialogue, exchange, solidarity and the creation of positive relations" but he also offered a list of warnings.

The message encourages one to think about his/her own internet associations, and whether or not this activity may be affecting one's day to day relationships and actions.

Via New York Times article.