Bradley Jay: Should The New Pope “Tweet?”
There are many, especially young folks, who believe it is a good idea for the Pope to embrace Twitter as a modern communication tool. I am not so sure. I like Twitter, but it has its limitations.
It is true that when it comes to scope of communication, Twitter can reach millions of people with hundreds of messages, but is this sort of communication the church really needs? I would argue that it is not. I believe the magic of what the church has to offer and the majesty of the office of Pope is diminished and cheapened by inclusion of Twitter as a medium.
At the University Of New Hampshire we learned that “the medium is the message,” meaning that the content of a message is deeply affected by the context of the medium. Twitter is a medium intended for disposable bytes of information that are consumed and tossed aside, relevant for perhaps a day and probably less. Twitter is great for getting weather updates and no frills news flashes, but if a message requires nuance, Twitter is not the way to go.
Learning about the church through Twitter is like listening to a great symphony through monotone headphones. No matter how great the source, a weak link in the communication chain reduces the message to garbage. In the case of the aforementioned music, the headphones are the weak link. In the case of the Church, Twitter is the weak link. Yes, Twitter is like a pair of cheap headphones.
Too many have already dismissed the Church and the Vatican should be wary of using a medium designed to be so very transient and trendy. The Church needs to deliver a rich, substantial message that cuts through the clutter of modern life. Twitter is absolutely the wrong way to go about it.
Perhaps the Pope should adopt the Dalai Lama’s modern mass-communication style, that includes straightforward yet eloquent messages delivered through a web site with a link to facebook.