While the Church has made strides in catching up to the secular culture in the realm of technology and exploiting the web, I think we can all agree that much work remains. With a new year ahead of us, now is a good time to start visualizing how it should look and what kind of goals we should be setting.
Here’s my wish list for 2011.
1. Social Media. This one is pretty simple. We should be shooting for 100% adoption at both the diocesan and parish levels. At a bare minimum, a Facebook page and a Twitter account that are updated frequently.
2. In-house technical and web specialists. The Church needs to be finding, hiring and training individuals who are committed to the mission of the Church, rather than hiring high-priced consultants who may or may not care about the Faith. Every diocese hires accountants, maintenance people, IT staff, etc. Why not a qualified web specialist? The web is becoming – rather, already has become – the dominant form of communication in our culture, and to be effective – technical skills and experience are required to take advantage of it.
3. Significant increase in use and quality of multimedia. I think the work that CatholicVote.org is doing should be the bar we aim for here. Video is a powerful and relevant way to evangelize and get the message out. With Final Cut Pro, a decent video camera and some technical chops, this can be achieved. Another success story we should be emulating is the CatholicsComeHome.org strategy of a full-on media/advertising campaign. [SIDENOTE: Can anyone explain why the entire U.S. Church isn't coordinating a national 'Catholics Come Home' campaign?]
4. Shared Knowledge and Resources. My main motive in building this site, was to coordinate and help Catholic technical folks across the net share technical knowledge and build up the community. Sites like OpenSourceCatholic.com, CatholicMediaGuild.com and others also assist in this endeavor. Events and conference like CatholicCon and CNMC also do a great job. My wish is that we all continue to take advantage of these efforts and participate. [SIDENOTE: I think it would be great if we could create a Catholic web-hosting company. There have been some commercial efforts, but these tend to be more focused on creating cookie-cutter websites. How about an alternative to VPS.net or Rackspace.com? Wishful thinking right? Well, this is a 'wish list'.]
While there are many other small items on my wish list, those are the big-ticket ones. It’s my belief we’re still in the process of primarily ‘laying the foundation’. I do think we’ll see some break-out successes in 2011 – especially in the area of my #1 wish, Social Media – but long-term success will come from a determined effort and focus on items 2-4.
What do you think? Do you agree/disagree? Am I missing some biggies?