Dated 30 January 2017, the CBCP issued its well-thought of and quite relevant document – as above cited - - specifically on the use of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It is good to take note of the fact that the said document is issued as “Guidelines” and that it is “Pastoral” in intent and content. In other words, it is primarily intended and released as some kind of an accompaniment, an attendant, a lead in doing or not doing something – hence “Guidelines”. It is furthermore “Pastoral” in intent, viz., presented and submitted in order that those concerned will hopefully know and learn the right and proper way of attending to , understanding and handling something – such as precisely the use of Social Media which can be considered as something somehow novel and interesting particularly during these times of science-driven social communication media.
It is quite interesting to take note that the said “Pastoral Guidelines” presented precisely no less than fifteen (15) concrete “Pastoral Guidelines” specifically in conjunction with the use of “Social Media” which is subject to good or devious intention, open to proper or abusive finality. Briefly said, the guidelines are the following:
1. Make your own personal Facebook account.
2. Remember your username and password.
3. Have as many Facebook pages as you want for a good cause.
4. Study the settings of your account or page, making this safe.
5. Remain secretive in inviting friends on your personal account/page.
6. Post good content as often as you have it and have the time for it.
7. Follow other Facebook Pages and Groups with advocacies like yours.
8. Be careful in adopting or sharing contents from your friend’s timeline.
9. Avoid befriending trolls or fake accounts that enter into your homepage.
10. In case of legitimate Facebook questions, answer in all candor and truth.
11. Study how to make use of the messenger section of Facebook.
12. Make use of the said section for the promotion of truth.
13. Use of photo messages are effective in stating what is right or wrong.
14. Keep your posts concise with photo accompaniments if possible.
15. Read up on online lingo to be duly updated on this matter.
It is both inspiring and encouraging when no less than the good and great Pope Francis gave his own Message on the occasion of the “50th World Communications Day” for the year 2016 – a short portion of which reads:
“E-mails, text messages, social networks and chats can also be fully human forms of communication. It is not technology which determines whether or not communication is authentic, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal.”
We the people are the ones who make social media useful or harmful, who use it to disseminate truth or falsehood, who make it a blessing or a curse.