Vatican hosts blogging summit

Vatican blogger summit

Increasingly aware that it needs to engage positively with the online world, the Vatican is hosting a one-day summit with 150 Catholic bloggers in an effort to reach out to the faith-based blogging community. The effort marks the first time the Vatican has officially engaged with bloggers, and reflect’s the Catholic Church’s realization that it needs to embrace the online world to communicate with the faithful and bring its message to increasingly online generations.

More than 750 Catholic bloggers applied to attend the conference; only 150 were selected due to space constraints. According to Monsignor Paul Tighe of the Vatican’s communications office, selections were made first by language groups, then by random lottery. Alternative, informal meetings amongst bloggers who didn’t receive summit invitations were being organized in Rome. The bloggers’ summit corresponded with the beatification of Pope John Paul II, which brought many bloggers to the city.

The move to embrace bloggers is an interesting development from the Vatican. Like most online communities, the Catholic blogging world offers a great deal of diversity, spanning not only a wide range of geographies and languages, but also a broad range of interpretations of faith-based blogging. Some Catholic blogs are deeply personal; some could almost be described as political manifestos.

The Vatican has repeatedly indicated it has no intention of starting blogs of its own—the informal tone of the blogosphere doesn’t mesh well with the Holy See’s official capacities—but has also indicated it doesn’t intend to exert any influence to organize Catholic bloggers. Any associations or groups formed by the bloggers will be the results of their own efforts.

Reaching out to bloggers is just the Vatican’s latest move to reach out to digital generations: the Holy See set up its own Facebook page and has taken its television and radio programming to the Internet via YouTube. The Catholic Church is also encouraging priests to use social networking and Internet technologies to reach out to parishioners and the faithful. There’s even an iPhone app with all the latest news from the Catholic Church…although the church stopped far short of approving confessions via iPhone.

There’s no word whether the Vatican might hold future summits—or even (gasp!) hold them online. The Holy See is only not turning on to blogging; IM, video confererencing, and VoIP might be too much to tackle right now.

[Photo: intermirifica.net]

Product Review

The Nuimo Click’s self-powering control convenience is cool but costly

Smart home devices might be clever, but needing your phone to use them is not. Senic’s Nuimo Click is the set of physical buttons that your smart devices are missing. But these smart, self-powered buttons aren’t cheap.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Deals

Keep an eye on things with the Alexa-enabled Ring video doorbell, now only $93

Smart home devices like the Ring video doorbell make it easier to keep an eye on your castle right from your smartphone – no matter where you are. If you want to smarten up your home security, here's how you can grab a Ring doorbell on…
Smart Home

Amazon starts crowdsourcing Alexa’s answers. What could go wrong?

Amazon announced a new resource for its Alexa voice assistant. Alexa Answers is an invitation-only program to which select Amazon customers will be invited to supply brief answers to questions that Alexa was asked but couldn't answer.
Smart Home

ConnectSense’s next plug iteration makes a home smart without a hub

The newest smart outlet in the ConnectSense line of smart home products not only provides a dual plug but can also operate independently of a smart home home, allowing users to control devices directly through an app.
Smart Home

The C By GE Smart LED Bulbs Work Seamlessly With Google Home

The Smart Light Starter Kit contains a smart lightbulb and a Google Home Mini. For those seeking to try out smart lights in their home, it's a great option and is currently on sale for just $35 through Google.
Product Review

Putting on the grits with the Instant Pot pressure cooker

If you want to dip your toe into the low-temperature waters of sous vide, the Anova precision cooker is a good way to start. It has a robust app and an easy-to-use interface that just may convert you to a whole new way of cooking.
Smart Home

Instant Pots! Get your Instant Pot! 5 models are on sale now at Amazon

Consumers win big when Amazon pops deals on popular products like Instant Pots. Five Instant Pot models on sale range from $30 to $60 off. If you've been waiting to buy an Instant Pot for a holiday gift, this could be the time.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.
Deals

Best deals on home security cameras to save you from package thieves

Home security camera systems can help keep your home and your family safe. Amazon's deals on Blink security cameras and Ring Video Doorbells also help you save money on devices you can access regardless of your current location.
Smart Home

Google Store sale is on now through December 24!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 may be history, but fans of Google hardware including the popular Google Home Hub, Pixel 3 and 3XL mobile phones still have lots of deals in store -- the Google Store, that is.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.