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Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Story Behind the SOLT Website Facelift

Three months ago the SOLT website was renovated.  It went from receiving on average about 1800 hits a day to over 27,000 and is now ranked in the top 3% of websites in the world by web analysts.  This article was taken from Communio, the official publication of SOLT and can be downloaded HERE

The face of a person is the most revealing and intimate part of them. It shows what they really are going through and is the contact point of communion with others.  Blessed Pope John Paul II asked the Church some years ago to become “the living reflection of the face of Christ”. Marketing analysts claim that “a website shows the true face of the organization as never before. A website is increas- ingly the place where customers get that vital first impression.” If it is our business to be the living reflection of the face of Christ, it is important what the face of our community shines forth to the world.

It was in this mindset that the SOLT website was remodeled, to be a more accurate and clear representation of our community and its service to the Church and the world. It must be noted that the website had done this well in the past, but was in need of updating, to reflect the growth and the current direction we are taking. If you look at the new design, you cannot miss the fact that it was built on the beautiful foundation of what was already there. Here thanks should be given to Susan George, Marlene Sibley, and Ken Dawson for their contribution.

However, a website does not only serve ad extra, or to the outside public, it also has an ad intra benefit, or a way of building up our own family. It has the effect of revealing to the community itself who it is and what is happening in different parts of the world. All too often it is easy to have a critical spirit on what we are not doing as a community. Here it is good to examine ourselves, “Do we contemplate the face of Christ in our community? Do we see the good things Our Father is giving to us? Do we have a constructive criticism that is contextualized in God‟s purpose, and are our observations of our need for growth connected to our willingness to change in the right direction?” The website intends to inspire SOLT members to the good things that God is doing, and the beautiful love Our Lady shows us manifested in the different works and movements of our members.

I would like to point out a few changes in the website that are attempts to build up our community and also to shine forth the face of Christ to the world.

-The Sisters are now integrated into the structure of the website. Previously, there was a theological distinction between the states of life, but we are not actually distinguished between priests and consecrated persons. We are distinguished by canonical communities of priests/brothers, sisters, and lay marrieds, singles, consecrated widows, and permanent married deacons. The website now reflects this reality.

-There is now a Spanish, Italian, and Thai section of the site, with real input that comes from these locales, and meta data that is accessible by search engines in these respective languages.

-The Church‟s principle of subsidiarity is respected in allowing different areas of our community to have different input through the web design principle of dynamic content management. The Sisters have their own blog, to which they have access by password and may publish their own news. The superiors have access to the news blog, and if they need to publish immediate news, they may make their own posts. There are many other possibilities.

-Content information has been updated, and people are now more able to share the content, especially the SOLT news blog via email subscription, RSS feed, or social media sharing.

-Media has been added, particularly of Fr Flanagan, and the video and audio output, or “skins,” have changed. There is still a lot of work that can be done, but here I have to ask for help:

For all you SOLT members out there: CONTRIBUTE!  Give me pictures, articles, blog posts, correct information that needs to be updated. Also, do not be afraid to shine forth the face of Christ from your own media apostolate.  It is so easy now to podcast your homilies and talks, to blog your ideas and events, to post your media through sharing networks.  Click here to learn the basics.  Anyone can live stream their parish our apostolic house events for free. You can post your powerpoint presentations and embed them for others to use.

Pope Benedict XVI has asked us to blog, to share, to shine forth using media. Let us respond like Our Lady to God‟s communication, FIAT!!!

God love you and Our Lady keep you,
Fr Sam Medley, SOLT

SOLT Webmaster
soltwebmaster@gmail.com