7 Secrets to Evangelize Young People in Social Networks
Author: Staff | Source: Catholic.net
Priest Matthew P. Schneider of the Legion of Christ admits that he has been on Twitter and Facebook for a short time, but after a few months of experience and talking to veterans, and many years of evangelizing work among young people, he has been encouraged to draw up a list of "7 secrets that work on social networks, even with newbies.
He thinks that as a "newcomer", he can testify precisely that it is possible for an older and new person to enter the world of social networks and evangelize with young people, which is not something arcane and mysterious.
To begin with, the difference between two types of people called "online service to Catholic youth". Simple, he calls them "parishes" and "freelancers".
"Parishes": are those groups of 50 to 100 young people linked to a parish, local group or school. Messages on Facebook or Twitter complement a deal that is given outside the Internet, warn of local events, and serve to enter or reaffirm contact with friends and parents of the boys.
"Freelancers": are those who want to reach young audiences across the country or around the world. They want their message to reach the maximum of people.
The 7 "secrets"
1º: Be yourself.
"If you know how to help young people or teenagers off the Internet, you also know how to do it on the Internet". Don’t pretend to be what you are not, don’t try to act in strange ways "to like". Schneider believes that "freelancers" (whose readers don't know them off the Internet) are more likely to try to pretend something they are not.
2º: Announcing is not a sin.
Everyone in the networks sees as something normal that you announce on Twitter or Facebook your articles, your events, something you have posted on your blog, what your group does... In fact, if you don’t advertise, no one will read your blog, web, chronicles, photos, etc... The criterion is the same as outside the Internet: do not be heavy. Outside the Internet, friends warn of when their favorite team plays, but they get angry if a heavy repeats it 16 times. It's the same in social networks.
3º: You have to devote some time.
In the networks you have to interact: read others, respond, treat... Is important to have many people connected, but they are really connected with you. They have to know that you are there, that you keep the contact. That requires something of time, to review and respond.
4: Show that you appreciate your connected.
Outside the Internet, when we talk we smile, we show interest with the face, gestures... On the internet this should be expressed with brief answers: "well said", "I love", etc... On Facebook for that is the "like". Those who serve in "parishes" should read and comment on what their young people put on the networks. "If you connect with them, they will connect with you."
5 º: Separate your personal account and the account of your youth apostolate.
You have to be a Christian without bending, but your friends 30 or 40 years are not interested in the adolescent photos of your ministry or youth apostolate. And teenagers don't want to see your family photos with grandparents. Your cousins at the other end of the country want to see pictures of your growing children, not the activities in your parish that you can never come. That's why it's good to have a personal account and another for the youth apostolate you develop.
6th: Don’t mind reiterating the ads (without exaggeration).
Announcing one thing (a link to a web, an article, an event) only once is not enough, it is lost in message saturation. Is correct to remember it several times, but in different ways and at different times: you can use different words, images, videos, etc... Also, if your ad is short and simple, the youngsters will forward it to their friends. They will be more convincing to invite your contacts than you.
7th: Don’t say in social networks what you wouldn’t say in real life.
Is applicable to many things, but especially to the treatment of adolescents and minors. "If you didn't say something to a teenager in person, in a youth group in the parish, don't do it on the Internet either". Parents must be allowed to add children to lists or groups in digital networks. Is good, for example, that in Facebook all communication is public.