With so many so-called social media "experts" out there, sometimes you don't know who's dispensing the best advice. My recommendation is to go with the Pope.
Now you might be thinking, "What's a nice Jewish boy doing quoting the Pope...about social media?" Well, you never know where great ideas will come from. In this case, it’s 83 year-old Pope Benedict weighing in on the do’s and don’t’s of social media. Acknowledging the “great opportunity” provided by social networking, the pontiff warns about abuses and damaged relationships.
That grabbed my attention.
So let’s give the Pope a pulpit to school us in some spiritual thoughts as they relate to sites like Facebook, Twitter, and the like.
Here are his best practices for social media:
Personal trumps virtual. Pope Benedict reminds us that “it is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact…” We ran a post last week where author Simon Sinek essentially said the same thing.
Don’t mistake accessibility for being present. Being a "friend" can be defined in different ways. The Pope warns about always being available online but not really being there for people “we encounter in everyday life.”
Don’t box yourself in to the digital world. His holiness warns that social media sites can assist in searches for personal encounters, but pitfalls include removing oneself from the real world. As we have learned over the past few years in the digital revolution, there is no substitute for "showing up."
Get real. Social media has allowed people to misprepresent themselves in any number of ways. Pope Benedict warns that authenticity is everything, and that it is important not to construct “an artificial public profile of oneself.”
It is noteworthy that The Pope still writes his speeches by hand, and he is assisted by aides when it comes to communicating via online sources.
The Pope has actually been well ahead of the game when it comes to determining the best platforms to reach his global constituency. He is immerse in both social media and the mobile web.
As we have reminded our jacAPPS clients in various presentations, when it comes to news out of the Vatican, there’s an app for that.