Christian Way of Using Social Networking Sites and Being Present in the Digital World

At the risk of being tagged a hypocrite, I'm sharing this here because --

1. The Philippines is a predominantly Christian nation with more than 86% of Filipinos being Catholic.

2. Filipinos are some of the most active netizens in social networking sites. The Philippines is currently ranked #1 in Facebook penetration in South East Asia and ranked #6 worldwide when it comes to total number of active users on the site.

3. It's always nice to have a moral guideline by which we can conduct our activities in social networking sites and on the internet as a whole. Let me tell you, I need this as much as everyone else does.

4. Recent incidences of CyberBullying could have been prevented if only more Facebook and Twitter users are actually aware of this moral guideline.

5. It is part of TechPinas' vision and mission to cover all issues that are relevant to the multifaceted life of the Online Filipino.

Is there really a Christian Way of Being Present in the Digital World or in using Social Networking Sites?

There is.

And no less than His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI shared his thoughts on the issue in His message for the 45th World Communications Day held last June 5, 2011.

To quote the Holy Father,

[...] [T]he dynamic inherent in the social networks demonstrates that a person is always involved in what he or she communicates. When people exchange information, they are already sharing themselves, their view of the world, their hopes, their ideals. It follows that there exists a Christian way of being present in the digital world: this takes the form of a communication which is honest and open, responsible and respectful of others. To proclaim the Gospel through the new media means not only to insert expressly religious content into different media platforms, but also to witness consistently, in one’s own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically. Furthermore, it is also true in the digital world that a message cannot be proclaimed without a consistent witness on the part of the one who proclaims it. In these new circumstances and with these new forms of expression, Christian are once again called to offer a response to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is within them.

Personally, I'm seeing this as a call to extend my Christian life to my online existence, which includes my activities in the blogosphere and in social networking sites. Quite a challenge, really. I mean, it's hard enough to live a truly Christian life in the 'real world', what more online, right? Then again, I believe we can always ask God for help in achieving this; And so quote St. Ignatius of Loyola - patron saint of my alma mater; "Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous; Teach me to love you as I should."

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