We have seen how the use of a simple hashtag can set hearts on fire. Think about the influence of #JeSuisCharlie, #ICantBreathe and #ArabSpring. The power of digital communication is a promise and a threat, a technological wonder and a ticking time bomb.
In Connected Toward Communion: The Church and Social Communication in the Digital Age, author Daniella Zsupan-Jerome acknowledges the unbounded nature of the Internet. “Contributions range freely from the socially conscious Ushahidi to the lolcat, from expert commentary to memes, from words of affirmation to vile comments. It is no longer plausible to imagine an ethical code of conduct that could rein all these in.”
Interactive Web 2.0 technology has allowed the roles of audience and author to merge, and any hope of civility or community must rise from within. The Catholic church has long been conscious of the need for policies regarding the mass media. Church leaders, especially since the Second Vatican Council, have grappled with the problems and potential of what they refer to as “social communication.”
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CONNECTED TOWARD COMMUNION: THE CHURCH AND SOCIAL COMMUNICATION IN THE DIGITAL AGE
By Daniella Zsupan-Jerome
Published by Liturgical Press, $17.95