Earlier this week Pope Benedict used Twitter for the first time. On behalf of the rest of us who’ve been tweeting away for long while now; “Welcome!”
But having a twitter account and learning how to use it, and all social media well, is been a sort of challenge to people who have risen through the various ecclesiastical hierarchies out there. Most church leaders tend to ignore the medium, or if they use it, have one of their subordinates post on their behalf. Very few actually understand the concept of “Conversation over Content” that is a key part of the power of this new tool.
Alan Wilson wrote earlier this week with a little advice for the Holy Father as he begins:
“The pope will need to start following people as well as expecting them to follow him. He could regard it as an opportunity to prove Isaiah Berlin’s notion that “It is a terrible and dangerous arrogance to believe that you alone are right; have a magical eye which sees the truth, and that others cannot be right if they disagree”. A tall order, infallible one, but worth the effort.
Anyway, there’s a principle in the Rule of St Benedict that the wise abbot listens carefully to the whole community, taking special care to hear the youngest and most challenging. They may be mad, or the voice of God. How could you ever know if you simply suppressed it? I hope, on best Benedictine grounds, he won’t only be following the voices of those beholden to him.”
There’s a nice list of leading English church voices to follow on Twitter at the bottom of the article. You’re probably already following the Episcopal Café on Twitter right? Who else do you think people interested in conversation about religion need to be following?