By Carrine Samanthan Yem

The Ignatian Spirituality and Formation Office (ISFO) organized  the first Ignatian Conversation for the school year 2017-2018, with the theme “Tool and Environment: Why are you interesting in Social Media?”

Students, faculty, and staff gathered at the Finster Auditorium last July 19 to listen to the Assistant Director for Formation of the Senior High School Father Jessel Gerard “Jboy” M. Gonzales, SJ, the resource speaker of the event. He shared that it was his first time speaking for an Ignatian Conversation.

Fr. Jboy explained the two perspectives of social media: Social Media is a Tool and Social Media as an Environment.

He quoted a tweet from Fr. Rob Rizzo, SJ, a Jesuit brother who is based in Rome, “the Internet isn’t just a communication ‘tool’ to pick up or put down; it’s an environment, a culture.”

Fr. Jboy discussed that there are different aspects to consider when using the  new medium: content of social media being the platform of creativity and communication for people today; place where people post their content,  and the scalable society, the communities that people become a part of in the social media network. 

“Polymedia is the different social points on social media. A person can have more than one network on social media and they also hold the control of who they have in their circle of friends online,” he said.

He then explained how people are ingrained into social media. There is a “new attainment/capacity.” It affects humanity including memory, attention or even relationships. This paves a way to different discoveries on what social media can achieve.

Fr. Jboy also elaborated the seven types of selfies and how each one presents new ways people continue to express themselves and share their lives. This aspect leads towards to the aspect of social media being an “integral part of everyday life”  and understanding the line between reality and virtual.

He stated that “social media is the medium” and in sharing one his photos he quoted, “what happens online also affects the people offline.”

Finally, he shared the perspective of seeing God even in the virtual world and how in diversity people are able to connect with social media through the lens of Ignatius, “Sacramentality”  and “Creative Tension.”

“If you are interesting, then social media calls you, to be authentically you. Social media will call you as an environment, to dialogue with people. Social media will tell you, show your pictures as witnesses of God, of Jesus. Social media can bring us all together,” he said.

“Who is interesting in Social Media? All of us,” Fr. Jboy ended.