Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Pope Not a Fan of Fake Social Media Profiles or Linkbait

Pope Benedict XVINow I know that social media sites are the hottest thing to hit the internet since, well, the internet, but never did I think that the Pope would be interested in them nor that he would speak openly against some things about it. I didn't even know they had Twitter in the Vatican.

The Pope likes to discuss the "rights and wrongs", as he sees them, of social media in his World Communications Day message that he gives every year. Well, this year was no different as the Pope focused on integrity and honesty online for his main themes.

In his address the leader of the Catholic church seemed surprisingly well tuned in to something that a lot of social media fans are discussing right now regarding whether it is better to use your real identity or to create a fake one. Well, if you ask the Pope, he will tell you that honesty wins out hands down. The Pope discussed the risks of constructing a false image of oneself which he says can become a form of self-indulgence.

According to the Pope, "Entering cyberspace can be a sign of an authentic search for personal encounters with others, provided that attention is paid to avoiding dangers such as enclosing oneself in a sort of parallel existence or excessive exposure to the virtual world. In the search for sharing, for 'friends', there is the challenge to be authentic and faithful and not give in to the illusion of constructing an artificial public profile for oneself."

The Pope also argues against "linkbait" publishing which values audience size over truth. "We must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its 'popularity' or from the amount of attention it receives... The proclamation of the Gospel requires a communication which is at once respectful and sensitive."

There seem to be more than a few similarities between the ethics of bloggers and many religious values. These ethics, both for the bloggers and in religion, have existed for many years. In a nutshell it seems to represent the age old traditions of "Love thy neighbor" and "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

Despite warning against the dangers, the Pope does appear to be pro-social media. In a statement the Pope said, "I would like then to invite Christians, confidently and with an informed and responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible."

So despite your feelings on the Pope, it appears that he is cool with social media, or at least that what his advisors told him to say. Who knows, maybe this is all a big contest to see if the pope can get more followers on Twitter than Ashton Kutcher.

Source: The Next Web

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