social media

Dealing with Instagram Envy

Dealing with Instagram Envy

Sometimes people think that my life has no problems and that everything is always great, but that’s often because they only see the carefully curated content that I share publicly. read more

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Tips for Catholics on Instagram
Catholic on Instagram

Tips for Catholics on Instagram

Catholic on Instagram

I’m a big fan of social media and apps that help us connect with our friends and family. Recently I’ve been seeing that there are a lot of Christians that feel that their social media presence is separate from their faith. If we truly want to live as people of faith, then there is no area of our lives that is separated from our faith.

Not only should we claim our faith, these new forms of communication provide great opportunities to share our the joys of a life of faith. Check out my latest post at Austin CNM this week.

This spring I wrote about the mission field that exists in Tumblr, and now I want to just give 7 quick tips to be Catholic on Instagram.

1. Share pictures of life at your parish Show what happens at the true life blood of the Church. There’s the mass and so much more that happens as we grow in community. This could be the best invitation anyone will see.

See more at Austin CNM


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Tumblr – A Catholic Mission Field
Tumblr - A Catholic Mission Field

Tumblr – A Catholic Mission Field

Tumblr - A Catholic Mission Field

As a long time fan of Tumblr, it’s exciting to see the attention that Tumblr is getting with the news of its acquisition by Yahoo. At the same time, the acquisition does bring up some concerns. Yahoo risked the $1.1 Billion they paid for it in hopes of gaining a younger and dedicated user base, and Tumblr users are certainly dedicated. When users are given complete control of their domain, they put their hearts and souls into it, and they will probably not let it go very easily.

In a world of so many different competitors for social media, Tumblr fits the space between things too long for twitter and too random for Facebook. Tumblr can also take credit for making animated GIFs mainstream again. Theses aren’t the same GIFs of the 90’s, and we’ve grown to love and even expect a GIF looping all of the latest pop culture events.

Unrestricted freedom is one of the main reasons that users love Tumblr. You can control the look and feel of everything, and you can share anything. It’s customization is somewhat like the old Myspace, but more sophisticated. It is also somewhat comparable to Twitter with a focus completely on the content updates.

Over the past few years I continue to be fascinated by the endless creativity on this platform, and it is a wonderful community that encourages inspiration. Although, when there are no restrictions, it also allows for inappropriate material to be spread too. This is my guess as to why there are many Christians that shy away from Tumblr. If that is your concern, don’t worry. There are settings to let you block that content. This should in fact be a reason for our increased presence and shows the need for a stronger witnesses to True Love.

Tumblr provides a venue to share some very random interests like cats in space.

Sharing your pride of Texas and laughs on Texas Humor.

Texas Humor

Sharing some laughs on Catholic Memes

Or  appreciating beautiful religious art that is All About Mary

All About Mart

Currently, there is a small minority of Catholics that are active on Tumblr, but there is a big lack of presence in this large area of the digital continent. The #Catholic tag on Tumblr quickly shows that there is not much conversation about the faith, and it is often full of those that are not wishing to show much support for the faith.

Steps Catholics Must Take on Tumblr

  1. Take the lead on the conversation on the #Catholic tag. There’s so much to be shared.
  2. Share what is beautiful about the faith. Yes, the world has many good, faithful Catholics happy in the faith.
  3. Do not be afraid of those that attack the faith. Jesus never said this life would be easy.

Faithful Catholics have been very committed to engaging on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Pinterest, but I send an invite to those forgetting about Tumblr. I’m not arguing for an increase of long blog posts about the theological explanations of the faith, but our simple witness through the beautiful things in life can radiate the light of Christ. That beauty can attract those that are outside.

Sure, the chances of getting attacked are much higher because of Tumblr’s diverse and open audience  but dust just your shoulders off and be not afraid. Just be aware of trolls Join the fun.

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New Media is Becoming an Old Term

New Media is Becoming an Old Term

At the end of March I wrote a post for Austin Catholic New Media about the expectations of users and relationships with content providers and what we should learn from it. Read the full article.

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Austin Catholic New Media Group

We recently launched a new group for Catholics in the Austin, Texas area. The page description can be read below.

“The Austin Catholic New Media group is a networking group for those interested in using new media to promote the New Evangelization of the Catholic Church”

I am very excited by the formation of this group. The Diocese of Austin is growing rapidly, currently has around 500,000 Catholics, and the city of Austin is also known as a large hub of the internet and technology. This makes for a great combination. There must be a large population of Catholics that use, or want to start using, the internet as a powerful tool of evangelizing the message of Christ. This group could facilitate in uniting those in this cause.

As this group, and others like it, begin to form around the country, I pray they successfully reach out to Catholics, and non-Catholics alike. Too many occasions have occurred where I have seen Christians demonize new and social media. I firmly believe that it is our newest method of communication, and we cannot fall behind with it. It is just like any other tool, and can serve the users when used properly.

October 6th will be the Diocese of Austin Theology on Tap with the theme of “From the Good News to Twitter: The Church and the Media.” The event will be hosting Rocco Palmo, the well-known Catholic blogger from Whispers in the Loggia. We will be using this as an opportunity to meet. It will be held at Nuevo León downtown 6-8PM.

Find the group’s Facebook page and twitter to follow their updates.


As this was posted, we were informed Rocco Palmo has to reschedule for next year. The communications director for the diocese will be giving the presentation, but we will still be gathering at the event.

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5 Years of Life as a Conversation


I am always surprised when I run into other people in my generation that express a fear towards social media. Some see it as an invasion of their privacy, while others call themselves recovering addicts. I’ve heard these and many other reasons as to why they do not use certain tools like Facebook or any other similar technology and services. I don’t understand that mentality. When used as the tools were intended, they only help to facilitate communication in our lives, much like the telephone, radio, and television have done for us. Except, it now gives everyone a personal form of broadcasting our lives to our selected audience.

I am very grateful for the blessing of social media in my life. It documents my life in such a way that cannot be matched by any other current methods. It is close to my fifth anniversary of my relationship with Facebook. I remember the day my university was allowed to enter the network, it was a really big deal to us. The network started as exclusive to universities, and each campus network was added one at a time. St Mary’s was a small school, so we had to wait a while for our network to be added. We had often been jealous of our friends in larger schools that had been using the social network for the past year it was up.

Some might think it strange, but I refer to it as a relationship because of its strong and personal presence in my life. It was there when I met new people and made new friends. It shared my experiences from my different locations and travels. It was there in breakups, new relationships statuses, and even the wedding. Most importantly, Facebook helped me share to my family and friends while they shared with me. Friends’ perspectives are included with everything we do, working as a constant reminder that this life is not all about us.

My favorite updates on Facebook.

Social networks remind me of an imperfect example of the communion of saints. We are all in this life together, and with Facebook, we can share the important and the mundane together. Different people can communicate and reach each other whenever and wherever we are at. While it works great to organize the the people I know, it also has given everyone in the network a more tangible relationship with me. Many couples and friends always complain first of missing the small talk when separate, but social media can really fill the gaps through the distance.

Social media makes life a constant, flowing conversation.

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I have spent a large portion of my life using social media. Around 12 years ago, I started using AOL instant messenger, and then I later started my first blog on Xanga in 2002. That my was my social media beginnings.

Most of my daily  life is now facilitated by some form of social media. Once I’m ready in the morning, I check my twitter feed. My personal list helps me make sure that I don’t loose any of my friends and loved ones tweets among the hundreds of updates. TweetDeck on my desktop helps me to see updates from Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace (even if I don’t really use it anymore).

Currently this is what I use.

  • Facebook  – shares all that I want so share with my family and friends.
  • Twitter –  shares thoughts and updates and some go on to update my facebook status and Tumblr
  • TwitPic  – This shares photos to my twitter account.
  • Tumblr – I micro blog thoughts too big for twitter but too short for a blog entry.
  • Stumble Upon – keeps track of the links I like and don’t like. I go through hundreds of pages a week
  • EverNote – keeps track of everything else that I want to remember on my phone or computers
  • Pandora – customizes my music listening based on what I like and what friends suggest
  • Hollrr – shares the products and or businesses that I support to twitter and facebook
  • Gowalla and Foursquare – updates my location, I can leave tips for other people,  and I know when friends are nearby
  • Vimeo and YouTube – keep track of my favorite videos and channels

I am very grateful for all of these services. They make up the majority of my internet usage and also facilitate in staying connected while sharing my life with those I care about. It will be interesting to see which ones I stop using as others expand or are created to make it more efficient and secure.

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It’s All About Location


Working so much for the web, it’s really important for me to stay informed and understand the latest technologies and services. Geo-Aware services like Gowalla and Foursquare are the newest trends in social media. Social media has historically grown faster than any other media before it. I believe that it is our human nature that seeks communion, but I will write more about that later in a future entry.

Location based services are following this same trend of rapid growth. What is different about these services is that they have a more limited audience because it only works on devices that have GPS services on them. Still, it’s growing. Now what we are looking into is how to get people used to using it and still use it to generate brand trust and profit. I think small business especially has the great potential to use it for growth and customer loyalty. Now the challenge is how we can educate them about the opportunities. Stay tuned.

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Social Hunger

These days, my schedule is very busy. In between my career, freelancing, volunteering at my parish, spending time with my wife,  we both still try and find time for a life. Regardless of the hectic nature of our lifestyle, we both feel a strong need to prioritize time to be social with friends. We are very social beings, and I believe being around others we like is what makes us happy.

This is a good explanation as to why it is that social media is so important and powerful. It only exists to try and satisfy out social hunger. Now that we have the power to communicate, we feel like we should always be connected to those we care about. Messages and phone calls were not enough, we craved for the intimate details in between those times to fill the gap of missing details of our loved ones lives. I think that in many ways, this is a good thing. I love being able to run into old friends that I haven’t seen in a while, but it feels like we’ve never missed a beat.

Social media is still relatively young. I look forward to seeing how our lives will change and be facilitated by new technologies and social media. I hope that it will help to better the world and improve lives, relationships, friendships, and communities. We can use it to promote all that is good. We must always remember that we are communicating with other souls, rather than just shouting out isolated ideas. We are all in this together.

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