With Pope Benedict XVI endorsing social media, there's no reason to resist acknowledging that the new media have joined the old as a communication channels. Whether your organization uses social media or not, it's clear they are valid choices for spreading the word and enhancing or safeguarding reputations.
In a message over the weekend, the pope urged the faithful "to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, and Web sites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization, and catechesis."
Or, as some headlines had it, "Go forth and blog."
A year ago, the Vatican launched a YouTube site to present the pope's appearances. Benedict, moreover, has both a Facebook page (Pope2You ) and an iPhone app (the H2Onews) "for insightful news about the life of the church in the world."
He's not on Twitter yet, but the Catholic Diocese of Atlanta is.
Queen Elizabeth II also has a YouTube presence. President Barack Obama, of course, is on Twitter.
It's likely that, as time passes, these new media sites will be more compelling than the old in furthering causes and gaining followers. Though there may still be nothing as moving as Winston Churchill's World War II radio addresses or FDR's fireside chats. You remember radio, don't you?