I co-presented a workshop at the 2009 National Catholic Media Congress in Sydney called ‘Even the Pope’s got an iPOD’. It was a great opportunity for our Church community to gather, discuss and explore how new media and social technologies can be used as a medium for evangelisation.
What was fascinating was that the last Catholic Media Congress was held 25 years ago! The cultural and social context has changed dramatically but none more so than the technological change, which has undoubtedly influenced the way we work, live and communicate. Just have a look at the Time Magazine Cover from August 1984 (right).
Would today’s learners know what a floppy disk was? We live in extraordinary times when innovation is now driving demand (Apple had sold 100 million iPods in 2007 and possibly 10 million iPhones). It’s all about smaller, faster and lighter.
I began my workshop by giving a quick introduction into social technologies and the rapid rise of virtual communities/tribes. Blogs promote individual comment on topics of common interest whereas now we are seeing the proliferation of sites Twine and Epicurious that are building communities of common interest (see John Connell’s post on a Canadian study on Internet and social isolation).
While the workshop provided participants an opportunity to learn more about and experiment with new technologies, it raises the important question of how the Church can use social technologies to engage the Catholic tribe in spreading the Good News. A very concrete way of responding to “the signs of the times.”
And by all accounts, our participants enjoyed playing with iPODs – perhaps a new generation of technology converts!