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8th Professional Seminar for Church Communication Officers Strategies for Improving the Impact of Church Websites Bringing Christ to the 3.

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Presentation on theme: "8th Professional Seminar for Church Communication Officers Strategies for Improving the Impact of Church Websites Bringing Christ to the 3."— Presentation transcript:

1 8th Professional Seminar for Church Communication Officers Strategies for Improving the Impact of Church Websites Bringing Christ to the 3 rd Millennium

2 Xt3 – ‘Christ in the Third Millennium’ Xt3 was launched by the Archdiocese of Sydney in June 2008 as a social network for pilgrims attending Word Youth Day. As a social network connecting pilgrims before, during and after WYD08 it was extremely successful. Watch the Official Xt3 Promo Video:

3 Xt3 – Then and Now Following WYD08 we decided the network should shift emphasis to a content-driven website to provide authentic, genuine information in a youth-friendly online environment. Xt3 in 2008

4 Xt3 in 2012

5 Strategies for Improving the Impact of Xt3 Strategy 1 - Ensure our team was self-sufficient This meant having a dedicated webmaster, multi-media person (video, audio and editing), graphics designer, research team and journalists. Strategy 2 - Define our audience and goals The target audience for Xt3 includes young people in the 18-35 age group, although the website is open to people of all ages. Ensure Xt3 has a strong presence at youth events, and provides resources to assist youth ministry.

6 Strategies for Improving the Impact of Xt3 Strategy 3 - Develop guidelines for content Developed guidelines for Xt3 content. Ensure content management is consistent, fair and balanced. Ethics policies and guidelines. Strategy 4 - Spread the word through both traditional media & by creating our own promos Promote website through traditional media avenues. Produce our own promotional videos. Encourage clergy and youth ministers to use the site, who in turn recommend the website to others.

7 Strategies for Improving the Impact of Xt3 Strategy 5 - Be attentive to current social justice, ethical, and Church-related issues Xt3 team consistently up to date with the latest global issues that relate to social justice, ethics, and the Catholic Church. Providing a Catholic perspective on specific, major issues. Strategy 6 - Provide a moderated forum for young people to ask questions and obtain answers. Xt3 is a moderated website. Xt3 is alert and aware to the needs and concerns of its members, providing help when necessary. Xt3 is also an open forum for young people to ask questions that they may otherwise be hesitant to address with someone face-to-face.

8 Strategies for Improving the Impact of Xt3 Strategy 7 - Ensure the website is presented in such a way as to appeal to and encourage the target audience Xt3 is an attractive website. Supported by the advice and feedback of young people around the world, our in-house design team has catered the look and feel of the website to appeal to our target audience. Xt3’s use of a variety multimedia forms, including videos, articles, podcasts and live streaming, means that the website is appealing to a broad range of people, adding to its growing popularity.

9 Strategies for Improving the Impact of Xt3 Support from the Archbishop of Sydney

10 Strategies for Improving the Impact of Xt3 Strategy 8 – Engaging in all forms of social media and the latest technology Ensuring the website is up to date with the latest technology. Xt3 engages in all forms of social media, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and iTunes. We have also produced mobile applications for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, allowing our users to access Xt3’s resources wherever they are!

11 Strategies for Improving the Impact of Xt3 Strategy 9 – Build a library of interactive, authentic Catholic resources Xt3 has built a resource library that is not only authentic, accurate, and in keeping with the Church’s teachings, but also provides a global view of events and is online and interactive. This library has provided a incentive for young people - including high school students - to continuously refer to Xt3 when researching topical issues. Strategy 10 – Focus on delivering live webcasts of Church events Xt3 has expanded the delivery of live streaming, and has webcast major Church events such as: o World Youth Day 2011 o Beatification of John Paul II o Canonisation of Mary MacKillop o Official Opening of Domus Australia with Pope Benedict XVI

12 Xt3 and Pope Benedict XVI’s Vision of World Communications Xt3 supports the Holy Father’s view of world communications, which embraces new technologies, new relationships, and promotes a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship, in an environment promoting truth and authenticity of life in the digital age. Xt3 reinforces the 2012 Message for World Communications Day, in which the Holy Father calls for authentic questions, reflection and contemplation. "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.” - Pope Benedict XVI, Message for the 45th World Communications Day, 5 June 2011

13 Xt3 – Where Are We Now? Xt3 is more than a social network. It has grown to become an interactive, multimedia website with global appeal. Since its launch, Xt3 has been consistently one of the most popular Catholic websites, with over 70,000 registered members, approximately 150,000 pageviews per month, over 1 million unique visitors from 216 countries to date, and selling over 2000 mobile applications. The average age of Xt3 members is 26.8, with the largest user group coming from the 18-24 age group. Although Xt3 is an Australian website, its global appeal has attracted members from around the world, with the largest users groups coming from Australia, United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Philippines.

14 Profile of Xt3 Users



17 Xt3 News & World Views Xt3 has evolved into an alternative news source for an audience left hungry by the often tabloid mentality of the secular media. Xt3’s news page provides a Catholic perspective to news stories and current affairs from around the world.

18 Multimedia Library Xt3 is content-driven. In keeping with our strategies to improve the functionality of the website, Xt3 takes advantage of all media forms (audio, articles, podcasts and videos) to provide young people with the opportunity to seek out spiritual, theological, and practical information.

19 Live Webcasts of Church Events Xt3 has hosted a number of live webcasts, including: o Handover of the WYD Cross & Icon in 2009, from Sydney to Madrid o Midnight Christmas Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, December 2009 o Installation Mass of Bishop Anthony Fisher, March 2010 o Canonisation of Mary MacKillop from Rome, October 2010 o Beatification of John Paul II from Rome, May 2011 o WYD events from Madrid, August 2011 o The Official Opening of Domus Australia with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome, October 2011

20 Connecting the Australian Church with Rome The Official Opening of Domus Australia was webcast live to schools, homes and parishes around Australia. Xt3 brought thousands of people together in an online community, to witness this historic moment in the relationship between ordinary Australians, Rome and the wider Church. Watch the Domus Australia promo video here:

21 Advent, Lent & Xt3 Smartphone Apps During the liturgical seasons of Lent and Advent every year, Xt3 releases an interactive calendar with daily resources to help young people prepare for the Easter and Christmas respectively. These calendars are hugely popular, and receive over 20,000 unique visitors during each season. The 2011 Xt3 Advent Calendar, and the 2012 Xt3 Lent Calendar, were released as Apps for iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices. Xt3 has since sold over 2000 Apps, and is ensuring there is a strong Catholic presence in this new media platform.

22 Podcasting Xt3’s Podcast Channel is becoming an increasingly popular function on the site. Our podcasts, which are also available in iTunes, cover a variety of topics from current ethical issues, to interviews, apologetics, World Youth Day resources, as well as audio from Catholic youth events. Some examples include: – Cardinal v Atheist: A Debate (15,872 hits) – Hot Topics: Ethics in the 21 st c. (9,894 hits) – Catechesis Talks from WYD11: Bishops' Catechesis from WYD in Madrid (5,489 hits) – Celibacy & the Priesthood: Interview with Vocations Director (4,428 hits) – The Saints of Brazil: Reflections on Saints of Brazil to prepare for WYD13 (2,493 hits)

23 Supporting Youth Ministry Resources Xt3 is currently working on building a collection of free resources for youth ministry. These resources include bible study teaching kits, audio talks on topical youth issues, and video resources that appeal to the youth target-audience.

24 Supporting Youth Ministry Events Xt3 has developed a user-generated events calendar, allowing youth ministers to post their events on a public calendar for the entire Diocese. The calendar can be embedded on any individual diocese or parish website in Australia – both city and rural – as well as diocese websites anywhere in the world! This tool was developed in response to feedback from Youth Ministers, who found that key Catholic Youth events often clash due to lack of communication.

25 Supporting Youth Ministry Engaging Youth Through Multimedia In 2010, during the lead up to the Canonisation of Australia’s first Saint, Mary MacKillop, Xt3 launched a national video competition, to help young people engage with the reality of the Canonisation and discover the significance of Mary MacKillop's life for them in a modern context. Watch Xt3’s ‘Looking for Mary’ promo video here:

26 Supporting High School Religious Ed. iFaith Xt3 has built a network page for Australian High School Religious Education (RE) students called iFaith. For the first time, a resource combines Catholic RE with Web 2.0 technology, providing: o Curriculum-based multimedia resources through a social networking medium o An opportunity to educate students in responsible use of social media. Watch the iFaith promo video here:

27 Discussion Forums - Ask a Priest Some questions... Can I listen to songs that use the name of ‘God’ in the lyrics? Is this breaking the 2nd commandment? Are same-sex couples allowed to have a chaste, romantic relationship? Does the Church support the idea of organ donation? If so, what about the Resurrection of the Body? Will we not have our organs? How does that rule of celibacy apply to married, Anglican priests, after they convert to Catholicism and become Catholic Priests? In Luke 8:30 when the demon “Legion” begs to be cast into the pigs, Jesus grants his wish. Why does Jesus show mercy to the demons? Why are we not supposed to eat for one hour before we receive Holy Communion?

28 Discussion Forums - Ask a Priest As part of the Social Networking experience, members of Xt3 can create their own group and event pages to share ideas, promote a cause, or simply to connect with other like-minded people from around the World. There are over 1,500 groups currently on Xt3 Discussion groups such as ‘Ask a Priest’ give young people a unique opportunity to engage with Catholic teachings on topics that they might not understand, and in some cases have never had the opportunity to discuss with a Priest.

29 Award Winning Website Xt3 has had an enormous impact on the Sydney Archdiocese and has played a large role in the Communications department, being considered at the forefront of its profession in Australia. was named Best Website for a Publication at the annual Australasian Catholic Press Association Awards for Excellence on 8 September 2011. According to the judges: "Xt3 is an outstanding website that is not only a stand-out amongst the entries or within the wider Catholic landscape. It would be a winner within any web competition anywhere in the world."

30 Plans for the Future Xt3 is not standing still. We are currently in the process of launching a major parish website project in the Archdiocese of Sydney with our department, which involves building websites that will connect to Xt3. Other exciting plans include: Increased input into Religious Education in High Schools around Australia E-Conferences on topical issues, for young people around the world Australia-wide youth ministry online networking tools, to coordinate youth events and projects across the country Year of Grace and Year of Faith initiatives Project for the 50 th Anniversary of Vatican II Renewal program Planning for World Youth Day 2013, including Mobile Apps for pilgrims Xt3 TV

31 iActiv8 – Towards WYD2013 in Rio As we countdown to World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Xt3 will have a strong presence in the promotion of the event online, and will include live webcasts during the WYD week. Xt3’s has a dedicated World Youth Day portal called ‘iActiv8’. iActiv8 has become a popular hub of information for anyone interested in news and multimedia resources, related to World Youth Days. iActiv8 seeks to keep the World Youth Day spirit alive before, during and after each international event... connecting pilgrims to the WYD message online, everyday. Watch our promo video here:

32 Support of Your Bishop Before you develop strategies that will have an impact on your website, you also need the support of the local Bishop in your Diocese. In our case, we have the strong support of the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell.

33 For more information, contact: Please visit to download this presentation, and to watch some of Xt3’s promotional videos.

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