Is all the information in your profile true? Or is some of it not quite true but rather a reflection of who you’d like to be?
This is a common pitfall in online dating, according to some studies, to create a profile that casts yourself in a little bit more positive light. For example, you used to go to daily Mass, you’d like to get back into going daily again, and though you currently you don’t attend Mass daily, on your CatholicMatch profile you say you do with the thought “Maybe I’ll start next week.”
This is precisely the hazard of online communications that Pope Benedict warns against in his Message for the 45th World Communications Day, delivered on Jan. 24 in anticipation for the June 5, 2011 celebration.
In the digital world, transmitting information increasingly means making it known within a social network where knowledge is shared in the context of personal exchanges.
The clear distinction between the producer and consumer of information is relativized and communication appears not only as an exchange of data, but also as a form of sharing.
This dynamic has contributed to a new appreciation of communication itself, which is seen first of all as dialogue, exchange, solidarity and the creation of positive relations.
On the other hand, this is contrasted with the limits typical of digital communication: the one-sidedness of the interaction, the tendency to communicate only some parts of one’s interior world, the risk of constructing a false image of oneself, which can become a form of self-indulgence.
For years, Pope Benedict has expressed his overwhelming gratitude for the online social communications because of the ability to connect to more people and fulfill the natural human desire for connectedness. But Benedict reminds technological users of the importance of being real in the digital world.
In the digital age too, everyone is confronted by the need for authenticity and reflection. Besides, the dynamic inherent in the social networks demonstrates that a person is always involved in what he or she communicates.
When people exchange information, they are already sharing themselves, their view of the world, their hopes, their ideals. It follows that there exists a Christian way of being present in the digital world: this takes the form of a communication which is honest and open, responsible and respectful of others.
To proclaim the Gospel through the new media means not only to insert expressly religious content into different media platforms, but also to witness consistently, in one’s own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically.
Furthermore, it is also true in the digital world that a message cannot be proclaimed without a consistent witness on the part of the one who proclaims it.
In these new circumstances and with these new forms of expression, Christian are once again called to offer a response to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is within them (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).
So if what you say in your profile is not matched with a consistent witness on your part, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate either the profile or your habits – or both. Of course it’s important to put you’re best foot forward in every presentation of yourself, including online. But those face-to-face meetings will go much better if what you said online is what you really practice.
Truth is attractive. So practice the daily habit of living truthfully and make your online profile a reflection of that authentic person you are.