HomeWeb CommunityBlog-alogue Fourth Question: What Tools Should We Use?

Blog-alogue Fourth Question: What Tools Should We Use?


In this blog-alogue we’ve been talking mainly about the why of social media.  Why it’s important, what you can do with it.  There seem to be new social media tools emerging every day.  My question is about getting started. I began with blogging.  Is there another way to get started with social media? What do you need to know about yourself to get started with these tools?




Not only do new social media emerge every day, but existing ones seem to morph almost as quickly.  In the world of online social networking, something is always changing, usually in response to issues raised via social media by its users!

Such changeability highlights the importance of making discernment a component of getting started.  Self-awareness and deeper self-knowledge is as valuable in this domain as it is in the rest of life. The more you know about yourself, the better you’ll be able to choose among social media.  I recommend people new to social media – and anyone feeling at an impasse – make time to explore these issues:

  • How do you best receive and retain information?  Are you a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner?
  • What’s your favorite mode of communication?  Are you more likely to pick up the phone or write a letter or e-mail?  Are you long-winded or brief and to-the-point?
  • How do you feel about groups? Are you energized by interacting with lots of people or do you prefer observing and listening?  Extrovert or an introvert?
  • What’s your tolerance for technology?  Are you eager to explore online options or do you wish it would all disappear?  Are you willing to learn or happy to let technology pass you by?
  • How do you typically find God in your life?  Are you engaged primarily at a sensory level or a cognitive one?  If both, then in what proportion?

These are questions I ask whenever people tell me they’ve tried social media and it didn’t work. Without fail, I quickly discovered they’ve chosen a social media tool that’s incompatible with how they typically engage with the world. No surprise, this disconnect shows up in other ways and places. Please ask me about why I insist virtual community is real community.

Know thyself . . . and choose social media platforms from that vantage point. It’s a great way to get started without getting stuck.


Jim Manney
Jim Manneyhttps://www.jimmanneybooks.com/
Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is What Matters Most and Why. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


  1. Good questions, Meredith and Fr. Jim. I prefer short posts and photos on Facebook, but Twitter is not social enough for me. I’m always wondering if I’ve hurt a friend’s feelings by not looking at their posted video or blog (unless the blog is short!) I love “sharing” the fun stuff (jokes, photos of cute babies and animals, etc) along with the social justice propaganda. I’m planning to start a blog on immigration reform… now that I’ve seen how some friends have written very short blogs… or used them as ways of linking to articles or videos. If it’s not too time consuming (see a theme here?) I’d like to learn how to create graphics, so I can “share” my propaganda all over the internet. (=;

  2. Meredith and Jim – thank you for this series, I think that it is very informative and I love that Meredith uses questions to urge us forth.
    2 weeks ago I was at a diocesan in-service for catechists, pastors and others regarding technology and faith. I will forward these links to those who attended my sessions. Thank you always.

  3. Excellent. All that’s missing then is the body language. This could get just as addictive as those cinnamon buns with the cream cheese icing.
    I find that acerbics and tongue in cheek notwithstanding there is much ablog (yes that’s not a word) to learn from .

    • Linda G, I am curious about something if you would be so kind to indulge me… if that is the case, what draws you to continue reading and commenting about this topic?
      I know many people who feel similarly to you – and that is fine. Ultimately, all I can think of to say to those who ask and challenge me about my own very rich online communities (not only faith based ones at that), De gustibus non est disputandum.
      I do hope that you will answer. In any event, peace and good to you.

  4. Hi Meredith,
    Your words: “Please ask me about why I insist virtual community is real community.”
    Explain how your theory works?

    • Hoping to write a lot more about this in a full post (next time?) but for now I’ll say this, based on my years of engagement with social media and, more specifically, as community manager: Anything that happens in a physical community, will (and does) happen in a virtual community.
      Anything = issues having to do with power, authority, status; conflict and conflict resolution; cliques; emerging culture; growth and development…you name it!
      Since this is the case, we can take everything we already know about how groups and communities “work,” and use that wisdom to create, nurture, and development online communities.
      To be continued!


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