Last month the Pope delivered a proclamation entitled Truth and Authenticity in the Digital Age in which he gave his blessing to Social Networking. He encouraged his priests to preach theology through the new technology, and give the web a soul. The Pope warned participants however, not to confuse online friendships with deeper lasting ones, saying virtual contacts through social networking were no substitute for direct human contact.

I wholeheartedly agree; we need more online soul and less bullshit; the superficial crap and scams are blossoming and there are times want to drop out entirely. I don’t because I’m captivated by social networking power. It can mobilize people to pursue shared goals, even foment revolution.

In Egypt, a young, goateed Cairene, Wael Ghonim, organized anti-Mubarak protests through a Facebook page that drew more than 70,000 friends. The security police detained him, but by then a historical revolution was underway. This is the first time a government has been brought down by technology; social networking mobilized the internal power and then built an international community of support.

The power of the medium scares me because it can’t be controlled; nobody can predict what’s going to happen next, or the eventual outcome. Social networking can foment a lot of chaos, but as scary as that as that is, it also has the capacity to connect globally community and heal in community
Social networking is the new fireplace around which people today gather to tell their stories. Let’s tell better stories, honest stories that inspire the human soul. And let us pray with Maureen Dowd, the Pulitzer Prize winning, NY Times Op-ed columnist ((February 8, 2011):

Our Father, who art in pixels,
Linked be Thy name,
Thy website come, Thy Net be done,
on Explorer as it is on Firefox.
Give us this day our daily app,
and forgive us our spam,
as we forgive those
who spam against us,
and lead us not into aggregation,
but deliver us from e-vil. Amen.