I received the invitation today for the DOST Booklaunching for “Information and Communication Technology in Philippine Art, Heritage and Religion”. From what I was made to understand, the report I submitted to the DOST Round Table Discussions on ICT (Information and Communication Technology) last May 29, 2007 at the Development Academy of the Philippines in Tagaytag would be included. If that is the case, then the book would be a milestone for AgustinongPinoy.
I have described my contribution to that discussion in a blog published at AgustinongPinoy (ICT and Faith and Spirituality)
My particular contribution, I think, was to put ICT within the context of recent pronunciations of the Pope (John Paul II especially) and the Pontifical Commission on Social Communications (Church and the Internet, Ethics in the Internet) and how the facilities of the web can be used in organizations to facilitate coordination, office productivity, task and project sharing, review of identity and self-criticism, fellowship and recreation.
That and the experience of providing content to the web for eight years and getting help in doing so from unexpected “others” (e.g. Andrea Rossato, creator of Uniwakka, Mouser of DonationCoder and recently the CEO of Flexigensoft and the author of AZZCardFile ).
My report would have been more “interesting” if I were a regular technogeek who could prognosticate then what Web 2.0 would be like now. From the time I made my report, the internet has evolved so fast that now, what I reported about file-sharing and brainstorming sessions via the web need to be updated. But I am not a regular technogeek and I can only “enjoy” the benefits offered by the web as they come. But what really remains valid now, I think, is the attitude of the Church towards this fourth medium of communication which, in a way, is unique and far-fetching.
This coming World Youth Day will be marked by the use of Web 2.0 applications for getting the participants of that event to keep in contact with each other in between WYD events. In practise this is what is going to happen: imagine the power of the social networking sites like FaceBook, Friendster, Digg, Flickr Clipmarks, and what have you, being harnessed to create a network of faith-support groups for and with the young, and what do you get? The web as a medium, not only for evangelization, but for communion in the faith. I didn’t know this could happen some months ago, so I didn’t write about it. If this happens now, what would happen next?
The other thing I didn’t foresee was fast cable connections becoming cheaper as more people get into the net and more businesses making use of it. At the same time, web programming has crossed over with desktop programming that now we see a blur between the desktop and the web. Thanks to companies like Zoho, one can now simply connect to the web to make use of MSOffice-like software for free. In fact, Zoho has more applications than what is offered in an MSOffice Suite of applications.
When tools and people are brought together this way through the web, more creativity will be demanded from those who consider themselves “pastor of souls” and a lot more commitment to evangelizing the “new agora.” The Mendicant Orders were established to bring the gospel to peoples moving from the rural areas to the urban towns. Now that the “city” has begun to invade the living room a step further through the web than what it did through the TV set, the evangelizer should begin to figure out ways to meet the exigencies of such an “invasion”.
Years ago when the TV set was allowed inside our convents, the General of the Augustinians — a German — exhorted the friars to be careful with the medium since “for the first time” he wrote, “we are allowing the world into our cloisters.” Right now, however, we cannot just be “careful” with the internet; it has emerged as a tool more powerful than the TV set and if it is not harnessed as a means for the gospel, it would be a great sin of omission.
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