Pope2you: What the pontiff knows about social networks

Pope Benedict leads a global religion, yet his priestly advice on social networking works for enterprises of all types.

In telling priests to become more web and social network savvy, Pope Benedict XVI is offering valuable advice for businesses, too.

And if His Holiness thinks Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are good ways to spread his message, maybe his advice can help your company, too.

If you're having trouble getting your bosses to adopt a social networking or some other online strategy for your business, the Pope may be your ally.

Here's what he has to say, and with a few word substitutions the advice would be at home in a business magazine:

"The increased availability of the new technologies demands greater responsibility on the part of those called to proclaim the Word, but it also requires them to become more focused, efficient and compelling in their efforts," wrote the Pope in his message for the 44th World Day of Communications, to be held May 16.

The theme of the event is "The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word," which sounds not unlike a number of business conferences that I've attended.

"Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word."

The Vatican already has a multilingual Web site, but has recently launched the "Pope2you" portal, offering a Facebook app, iPhone app, YouTube channel, and Papal videos.

But, don't let the cool "Pope2You" name and URL fool you. Like, like all good CEOs, Pope Benedict warned his managers that they can't just talk the talk of social networking.

"Priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ. This will not only enliven their pastoral outreach, but also will give a 'soul' to the fabric of communications that makes up the Web."

Though heading one of the world's major religious faiths, the Pope's social media efforts might also be a good template for businesses of all sizes.

David Coursey has been writing about technology products and companies for more than 25 years. He tweets as @techinciter and may be contacted via his Web site.

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