When social media platforms arrived on the scene we were all a bit confused on what to do with them. Was this a fad? As time moved on and we posted our lives on Facebook, Tweeted our thoughts, Instagrammed our activity, and grew our work lives with LinkedIn we began to see value. We could connect with long lost friends from school and easily communicate with loved ones thousands of miles away. But as with everything a dark side soon began to reveal itself.
News can become readily available with minutes of events happening……whether fact-checked or not. Armchair analysts abound and slay those with an opposing viewpoint without a second thought. What is the proper way to handle social media? Shaun McAfee shares the answer in his book Social Media Magisterium: A No-Nonsense Guide to the Proper Use of Media.
One thing must be mentioned. “Media” has been around quite some time. The advent of the TV was just beginning. The tools we have available to us today are essentially Media 2.0. As Shaun points out, through all of media’s transformation, the Church has been there to lend guidance on its proper use. Dating back as far as 1936 various Pope’s have brought to the world’s attention the potential dangers we could face. In that year Pope Pius XI wrote Vigilanti Cura in which he wrote of a “concern for the lamentable development of the use of cinema and the portrayal of sin and vice.” One can only imagine what he would think about the lewdness and violence portrayed in today’s movies!
What we must do is be vigilant, Throughout Social Media Magisterium, Shaun offers a battle strategy on how to protect our families, especially influential children, from the dangers of social media. Specifically, in chapter, Shaun offers a guide for all family members including children, parents, couples, and the elderly on how to properly use social media and the benefits that can be reaped with its proper use. Again the key word here is proper.
Perhaps the greatest use of social media is exactly what is occurring as you are reading this review and that is evangelism. Without the internet and the social media tools available today my own work and that of my blogger would be non-existent in the form it takes today. The Church has recognized this value and Shaun dives deeply into Pope Paul VI’s Evangelii Nuntiandi and the three elements of evangelism in light of media. Those three elements are:
- The primary order of bearing witness that God, revealed by His Son Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, has loved the world and called men to eternal life with Him.
- Evangelism shall always contain, at its center, a clear proclamation that in Jesus, the Son of God made man, who died and rose from the grave, salvation is offered to all men as a free gift of God’s grace and mercy.
- The preaching of the promises made by God in the new Covenant of Jesus Christ.
This chapter alone is worth the read. Through these three elements, we find our answer on how to properly use social media. We also find what actions are taken on social media that do not fit our duties as evangelizers. Too many are too quick and hammer out an objection on their keyboard, hit enter, and post their thoughts without taking the time to consider the ramifications of their actions. We must remember that sometimes the best response is the one not given. It must be also be pointed out that evangelization is not limited to authors, bloggers, and podcasters. Anyone regardless of their stage in life can evangelize those around simply by their example.
In closing I’ll pull a quote from the chapter above that sums it up best. “Every Tweet, status, post, comment, view, page turn, channel, disk, game, and text does not need to contain content explicit of our beliefs, but it should always be implicit of those beliefs.”
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I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.