Blog-alogue Third Question: What Would Ignatius Do?

by Jim Manney

Meredith,

I had a thought after reading your answer to my last question in this blog-alogue about social media.  You talked about using social media to enhance our relationship with God and to help us serve and support others.  I thought that this was a very “Ignatian” attitude.

We like all things Ignatian here at IgnatianSpirituality.com, so how about giving us an Ignatian take on social media.  Can we use it to advance Ignatian values such as finding God in all things, being contemplatives in action, and living as men and women for others?  To put it another way, what would Ignatius do with it?

Jim

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Jim,

Your question about what Ignatius would have done with social media reminds me of some fun we had during the weekly Twitter-based church social media (#ChSocM) chat.  I asked, “If the first 12 apostles & the Marys had social media, which platform(s) would they use? Why & how?

Responses were brilliantly hilarious, revealing participants’ keen understanding about how  different and distinct social media tools serve different and distinct purposes.  Social media tools are not interchangeable. (Treat yourself to reading  a summary of the twit and twisdom from that chat here. )

Now you’ve got me wondering how St. Ignatius and two more favorite saints, St. Benedict of Nursia and St. Teresa of Avila, might have used social media.  My guess:

St. Benedict might have assigned some Scriptorium-bound monk the task of setting up a Facebook page to educate those outside monasteries about the Rule, and to provide a forum to discuss ora et labora (“pray and work”) in secular life. Given her penchant for snappy comebacks,  I’m thinking St. Teresa of Avila would have  had a robust, exuberant presence on Twitter.  (I could be projecting.)  As for St. Ignatius, my money is on him going for blogging, since it’s the perfect medium for telling stories about a life of faith in progress.

Contemplating this leads me right back to my earlier definition: Social media are online (or digital) technologies (or platforms) that can be used to generate and sustain conversation and build community.

Strategies for using social media, prayerfully developed in alignment with a particular charism, will advance that charism. And so, using social media to advance Ignatian values requires first knowing what they are, and then committing to  live every aspect of life in alignment with them. From there, it’s simply (?) a matter of choosing social media tools that fit the communicator’s style and skill set.

To paraphrase Ignatius, “All digital technologies can be seen as gifts of God, created for us, to be the means by which we can come to know him better, love him more surely, and serve him more faithfully.  As a result, we ought to appreciate and use social media tools insofar as they help us toward our goal of loving service and union with God. But insofar as social media tools might hinder our progress toward our goal, we ought to let them go.

Doesn’t this sound like something Ignatius would have written in a blog post? Clearly, it’s way too long for a tweet!

Meredith

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Jim Manney

Senior Editor at Loyola Press
Jim Manney is a popular writer on Ignatian topics (God Finds Us, A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer) as well as the editor of many books on Ignatian spirituality, including What Is Ignatian Spirituality? He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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March 5, 2012

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda G March 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm

… still getting emails from Asia about joining their professional network via Linkden.

Social media indeed.

Reply

Meredith Gould March 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Not sure I understand this comment. And do you mean LinkedIn? I’ve found LinkedIn to be enormously useful to me over the years. In addition to helping me find people doing similar work, it allows me to post my resume online so that anyone can read it. Much more efficient than paper!

Reply

Linda G March 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm

LinkedIn yes. They find e-mail addresses through other accounts. It happens all the time. I get junk from my cancelled FB account too even though I got out of there a year ago.

Have a good week!

Reply

Linda G March 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm

By the way I fwd that one to Crimestoppers.

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Ann Plyler March 5, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Hi Meredith,

I am really out of it as far as social media goes, but I read you often on the dot.magis blog. Can you clarify something for me? I thought twitter limited a person to just so many characters, but now I’m finding out there’s a social media chat? If I want to participate, how do I go about creating a Twitter account and signing up for the chat? Thanks! Ann P.S. your e-mail doesn’t work from the site given.

Reply

Meredith Gould March 6, 2012 at 1:08 am

Yes, Twitter was created for micro-blogging, although for some people the 140 character limit seems more like mini-blogging! Still, you’d be surprised by how much people can pack into that number of characters.

You can get a sense of what goes on during the #chsocm chat by reading any of the transcripts on the blog: http://bit.ly/ADPnmZ. You’ll also find more information about the How To of Twitter chats there as well.

This YouTube video explains how to sign up for Twitter: http://bit.ly/xc5Boi The link above goes to my Twitter account. My email address is: meredith@meredithgould.com.

Pax max . . .

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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn March 6, 2012 at 2:03 am

Thanks for yet another gift of blogalogue that displays two important things, important for me anyway… One is wisdom and the other is hope.

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Lynda March 6, 2012 at 3:51 am

I have learned so much from the various blogs on Ignatian Spirituality and I certainly think that this is a great way to plug into a broad network of people who are looking for a similar journey. It always amazes me how close-knit a community becomes although we will probably never meet each other.

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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn March 6, 2012 at 10:05 am

That is so well put, but are we ever connected through our hearts and minds. It makes me consider about how Ignatius of Loyola sent all those Jesuits forth, to far corners of the world. If there is a spirituality meant for all of us out here, it is this!

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Sara Damewood March 6, 2012 at 11:42 am

Here’s a non-profit organization that is helping our SC Immigration Coalition by editing our Op Ed articles, translating them to Spanish when needed and finding venues for publication:http://www.mediaforum.org/ Do you know of other such resources, Meredith?

The Church social media you linked us to looks interesting. If the young people (mostly hispanic) in my church start using Twitter, I’ll have to explore that more. We are starting to get a little network of church members on Facebook; that enhances our face-to-face relationships.

Thanks for the question, Fr. Jim.

Reply

Caroline Cerveny March 8, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Thanks for imagining how a couple of our favorite saints – if living today – might have used some of these social tools! I’d love to hear from others using these tools – what’s working for you? These tools are “social” tools! How is the conversation going?

Reply

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