Me or My Avatar?


Moms are online full-force: every day we’re checking feeds, commenting, updating the family iGoogle calendar, and posting cute photos of our kids on Facebook.

With all this activity on the World Wide Web, have you ever felt a disconnect between your real self and your online self? Sometimes our avatars can be a little smarter, more attractive or even a bit holier than our real selves.

Several months ago, a blog post “How ‘Catholic’ should you be online?” caught my attention. Here, self-described Catholic social media nerd Matthew Warner led with the question: “Can you be too Catholic?”

Hmmm…I suppose you can be too anything. I’ve had moments of feeling too Catholic, but probably more often I’ve felt not-Catholic-enough.

He goes on to suggest that the real question is: “How do we share our faith genuinely and effectively online?” As a reporter for a Catholic newspaper, mom blogger and Facebook friend of 250, I’ve asked the same question, along with a few others:

Does that sound like me? Too preachy? Too simple? Too complicated? Too religious? Not religious enough? Will this generate a virtual eye-roll from the reader?

Here are some insights from Warner’s post that I found helpful:

“Our Church may have all the answers, but, as individuals, we certainly do not. Don’t pretend to. We are scared that if we admit our weakness that we are somehow admitting a weakness in our Church. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The humility that comes with being 100% Catholic is one of the most powerful ways to share your faith.”

“Don’t use your online platform (be it large or small) as only a megaphone (you’ll soon find nobody listening). Use it to listen, share and to build genuine relationships.”

Last month Pope Benedict (who you can now follow on Facebook!) echoed a theme of community when he encouraged Christians to use the Internet to evangelize and develop relationship. Of course he addressed the associated risks as well:

Greater involvement in the public digital forum “…inevitably poses questions not only of how to act properly, but also about the authenticity of one’s own being.”

“To proclaim the Gospel through new media means not only to insert expressly religious content…but also to witness consistently…a message cannot be proclaimed without a consistent witness on the part of the one who proclaims it.”

Pope Benedict XVI 1.24.2011 [click here for full text]

Got it. Stay plugged in, communicate humbly from the heart, listen, pray for guidance (and before hitting the “publish” button…and be myself — even with all the varying levels of smart, attractive and holynthat go along with it.

I WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS BELOW: Do you ever share your faith through Facebook, emails or a blog? Eagerly, hesitantly or somewhere in-between?

Copyright 2011 Julie Filby


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  1. I have discovered that as I share more of my faith online through FB that some “friends” don’t like it and de-friend me. But sharing online has given me a special connection to friends and brought me even closer to more. It has been worth it. The importance for me has been to strike the balance.

  2. Hi Lisa! I agree…funny how most everything comes down to finding (and KEEPING) balance. 🙂

    Lenten blessings to you and yours! Julie

    p.s. I gave up personal FB for Lent–I do have to check it for work stuff every so often. I don’t miss it as much as I thought I would…?

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