Going ‘viral’: Use social media to spread the Good News

| August 4, 2011 | 0 Comments

One of our Catholic Spirit bloggers received news Monday that was music to our web department’s ears: His post went “viral” over the weekend — in this case garnering more than 800 hits, or readers, in a short span of time.

The post by associate publisher Bob Zyskowski offered a bit of good-natured Catholic humor. People like to laugh — Catholics included — so it isn’t a big surprise that a lot of people chose to share the post on our new http://www.CatholicHotdish.com site with friends and other contacts via social media like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, creating the snowball effect that led to the spike in traffic.

That’s the beauty of social media: One person’s views and ideas can spread quickly and pervasively throughout his or her community — throughout the world, really — in the blink of an eye.

While it’s hard to know what items on a blog or website may go viral, I can think of a few that I wish would get read more widely and shared — items that, because of their importance or urgency, deserve more attention.

Getting the word out

Here are a few topics you’ll find at TheCatholicSpirit.com and http://www.CatholicHotdish.com that Catholics should know more about.

» Famine in East Africa, where hundreds of thousands of people are starving. We need to get the word out about this unfolding disaster and the need for donations to help organizations like Catholic Relief Services that are providing life-saving aid.

» Health care policy: As part of the ongoing federal reform of health care, the Obama administration recently announced a requirement that all health insurance plans cover contraceptives — a mandate the U.S. bishops say would fail to exempt most Catholic social service and health care providers. Catholics need to know about this threat to the rights of conscience and voice their objections to the president and lawmakers.

» Federal budget: While Congress has finally come to an agreement on a debt ceiling bill, budget battles over taxes and revenue are guaranteed to resurface this fall. We need to learn more about the human and moral dimensions of the debate and insist that our lawmakers not make disproportionate cuts in services to the poor and the institutions that serve them.

» World Youth Day blog: Several youth and a priest from Divine Mercy in Faribault will be traveling to World Youth Day in Madrid later this month and writing about their adventures and experiences at http://worldyouthday2011.tumblr.com. Read their reflections about the pilgrimage and share them with friends and family.

» http://www.CatholicHotdish.com: Most of the faith-inspired reflections and inspirational posts — often with links to other resources — on this Catholic Spirit-sponsored blog site don’t appear in the printed newspaper or on TheCatholicSpirit.com. Stay updated by subscribing to its RSS feed, following it on Twitter (@CatholicHotdish) or “liking” it on Facebook.

» College Connection for Catholics: Read and then share the story about this important program that helps first-year college students around the country stay connected with their faith by connecting them with Catholic organizations on campus.

» Vocations: We need more of them, of course, to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life. Share Archbishop John Nienstedt’s recent column on the importance of nurturing vocational seeds in families and parishes and his invitation to join him in a weekly Friday fast for the intention of more religious vocations.

If you’re not familiar with these and all the other web offerings The Catholic Spirit provides, make a point of visiting TheCatholicSpirit.com and http://www.CatholicHotdish.com regularly to be informed, inspired and occasionally entertained. Share the best of what you read with others. Maybe they’ll share it, too, and the Good News we all are called to spread will go viral.


Category: Editorials, Spotlight