An Associated Press release on the PressDemocrat.com today read: Vatican launches YouTube channel.
The news made this PR expert wonder: why did the Vatican need so long? Was God not aware that if you are not on YouTube you don’t exist? Sarcasm aside, I can only wonder what is the Pope Benedict XVI hoping to achieve by launching his own YouTube channel? Did the Pope really need a YouTube profile or is this just a desperate attempt to gain more publicity?
PR clichés tell us that this is a Vatican effort to reach out to the digital generation. I understand the idea, but I wonder: is the Pope aware of the consequences? Being on YouTube will not give the Holy See better control over the papal image online as the Vatican hopes. Benedict is aware of the risks of “obsessive” networking, but I don’t think he ever experienced the real dangers of having an online presence: identity theft, impersonators, trolls, etc. I can just hope that the negative forces of the web will not show themselves too soon for the holly pontiff.
Benedict’s presence on YouTube is an initiative of Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Center and Google Italia. In a message published on YouTube, Benedict stressed that the new digital arena makes it possible to meet and learn the values and traditions of others.
To watch a video featured on YouTube on the Pope’s profile you have to be on YouTube – embedding was disabled by request. The transcript below belongs to the video posted here.
I think that the purpose of a communications tool like this one is to help build up a large family that knows no borders. One in which, with its variety of cultures and languages, all people are brothers and sisters. In this way they represent a force for peace. My wish to all those who are listening to me right now is that they may feel truly involved in this great dialogue of truth. As we know, in the world of communications, contrasting voices make themselves heard as well. Thats why its all the more important that this voice exists, a voice that really puts itself at the service of the truth, of Christ, and thus serves peace and reconciliation in the world.
For more Vatican videos, visit the Pope’s profile on YouTube: www.youtube.com/vaticanit.
Now, the logical question follows: why did the Pope’s YouTube administrator disabled embed? Possibly to control some negative aspects of having a presence online, like embedding a video of the Pope in a negative commentary?
In my opinion disabling embed takes away from the initially declared purpose of launching an YouTube profile: “to reach out to the digital generation.” Can you tell how?