The growth of Digital Media between two Papacies…

Pope and social media

Could not be better shown than these two photos (a mock up by Sarah Price here). Who is not online these days? This is also one of the reasons the gap between reality and perception is going to be so hard to reconcile.

The Catholic Church is only the most prominent, traditional and self evidently hierarchical of the world’s popular institutions. But what we are seeing here is a shifted perspective from the unilateral to the bi and ultimately multilateral (and I use the word tentatively) ‘multiverse’.

It does not give rise to the tensions Brian outlines in his excellent analysis here on the Slugger, but it exacerbates it.

It’s a ‘crisis’ coming to a popular institution somewhere near you soon… If the new Pope really is as humble as they say he is, he might be an intelligent first response to the problem… As my old mucker Johnnie Moore puts it (h/t John of ConversationLab):

This reminded me how much creativity can suffer when we play power games. And how much creative juice we can find when we create a more mindful and level playing field. When we manage to suspend our egos, get into a zone of not-knowing, we can get a kind of emergent intelligence bigger than the sum of our parts.

It’s that zone of ‘not knowing’ that’s so difficult for institutions used to projecting power and authority that’s so tough for them to embrace. The trouble is that if they don’t learn to embrace it, they may not last the course…

, , , ,

  • Alias

    The geekery is strong on this thread… surely a conference room should be booked?

    “…we can get a kind of emergent intelligence bigger than the sum of our part.”

    Yeah, it’s called a meeting. You know… the old adage about two heads being better than one. That was before the geeks discovered emergent phenomena and its precursor, Chaos theory, with its lovely talk of butterfly’s wings causing hurricanes.

    “When we manage to suspend our egos, get into a zone of not-knowing…”

    That half describes Stormont: no suspension of egos but plenty of not-knowing.

    Meanwhile, the Catholic Church goes from strength to strength.

  • mollymooly

    Not convinced.

    The 2013 photo is close to the front of the crowd, and maybe at the instant of the Habemus Papam, when most people would be tempted to mark the moment for posterity.

    The 2005 photo is much further back, and maybe at a less momentous instant of the hours-long process, so few people would have been bothering taking a photo at that precise time and place.

  • Alias

    to be fair in the past most of the juicy decisions were (and continue to be made) by a few selected people behind closed doors – albeit in a meeting. Emergence is something very different – the collective wisdom is about engagement of the system – and we can be clear that engagement is very different from “consultation”.

    Very few organisations are able to accommodate this democracy of the masses. Those that do are very much more certain in their progress. It’s a way of life to genuinely dialogue with the different parts of the system and unfortunately for the Catholic Church it is a long way from even understanding the process – my benchmark is the day that a congregant stands up in church and has a debate with the priest on some very obviously dopey nonsense that is often portrayed instead of everyone burying their head and chuckling at it.

  • Drumlins Rock

    By Carlo Dellaverson, NBC News

    “In 2005, visitors packed into the expansive boulevard leading up to St. Peter’s Square as Pope John Paul II’s body was carried into the crowd for public viewing in the days following his death. Taken nearly two years before the iPhone debuted, the photo is striking now for its appearance straight out of another era.

    For anyone who has ever been to a concert, the photo at bottom, taken Tuesday night as Pope Francis made his inaugural appearance on the Vatican balcony, seems almost ordinary. The two, taken together, reflect a world changing, even as some ancient traditions stay the same.”

    funeral… celebratory anouncement… different locations… wee bit of editing… to be blunt its a FAKE.

    As mick says the the gap between reality and a perception remains, but it all happens at lightning speed, on another thread there are discussions on the accuracy of 16th C documents, it has take 500 years! now a story has to be rebuff in 5 minutes or it goes global.

  • Mick Fealty

    DR, you are pressing your suit just a little too hard there…

    Here’s LoveUlster in Dublin in February in 2006… ala Slugger and the citizen media of Dublin…

    Flickr was king then because most of the best pics where taken on Cameras (remember them): and

    I’ll say this slowly for those who are still comfortable in their denial: nearly everyone is online and doing stuff at a speed and on a scale that is U-N-P-R-E-C-E-N-D-E-N-T-E-D.


    Watch the video on Johnnie’s blog from the point he suggests for a very cool counter to the old saw that everything is run by those who don’t fall asleep in meetings.