In the name of the father, the CV and the Holy Spirit… Priests on LinkedIn, but why?

2023-09-22 16:47:55

On LinkedIn, Pierre Amar has some 10,600 subscribers. One of these latest posts attracted nearly 3,000 likes. “It’s not bad,” he admits modestly. With our poor 500 relationships, we find his figures frankly very correct. Especially since Pierre Amar has a characteristic that is very distinct from common LinkedIn influencers: he is neither a headhunter nor a marketing director, but a priest. For exactly twenty-one years in the diocese of Versailles, as his profile indicates. Like him, many men of the Church are present – somewhat surprisingly – on the professional network. A simple search for the “priest” profile yields more than 100 pages of results.

A surprise, really? However, coming across men of faith on social networks no longer surprises many people. “We are witnessing a strong development of religious presence on social networks, particularly with phenomena like Father Matthieu and his 1.2 million subscribers on TikTok. Religious people have always been massively connected since the early 2000s, particularly on Twitter or Facebook, but the presence was more confidential at the time,” recalls Stéphanie Laporte, consultant in social media marketing and web communication.

A modern parish

Still, with LinkedIn, we talk from a purely professional bastion, where we are much more accustomed to sharing CVs than prayers, and talking to our “Dear Network” rather than “My Father” or God. Pierre Amar recognizes this, his presence still surprises: “Once, I was told that it is not normal for a priest to expose religious convictions on a purely professional network. I replied that it was precisely my job to expose religious beliefs.” And even if it means exposing them, we might as well do it to as many people as possible. “One of my posts on LinkedIn can potentially be read by my 10,000 subscribers. At mass, I preach in front of a maximum of 600 people.”

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When he does not deliver the good word himself, some come to seek it via private messages. That’s good, he’s also there for that: “I am convinced that today, lost people no longer push open the door of the presbytery but rather come slipping into your private messages. They talk to me about philosophy, morality, ethics, religion… The Internet is a modern parish, so you might as well be omnipresent there.” Same observation from Cédric de La Serre, priest in the diocese of Nanterre: “I see it like the hall of a station or a village square. My role is simply to be available if anyone wants to contact me. » But the catch is meager: during the last 12 months, seven people have come into contact with him. Mainly for professional questions. “It’s sometimes subtext, but we stay on LinkedIn: the work aspect often comes out.”

Your favorite priest’s favorite social network

LinkedIn is indeed not a network like any other. Father Grégoire Sabatié-Garat, also a priest of the diocese of Versailles, has Instagram, Twitter, Facebook accounts – “like many young priests”, he specifies – and therefore LinkedIn. On the latter, he praises “content that is generally more interesting or “serious” than other networks. There is less dispersion when you look at the news feed.” A presence that it also justifies by the numerous economic articles that appear in its contents. “It is important to have an idea of ​​what our parishioners involved in business experience, and more generally to know the developments in our society.” The fact remains that the man of the Church restricts himself in his digital use – one hour per month, at most.

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Pierre Amar has even more subscribers on Twitter – 27,000 followers – and also has a large army of followers on Instagram – almost 5,500. But LinkedIn is by far the network he prefers: “It’s one of the rare places on the Internet where exchanges are almost systematically cordial, long and respectful. On Twitter, everything is black or white and very quickly vindictive.” It must be said that on LinkedIn, anonymity is rare and speeches are quite courteous, since your boss and your colleagues probably follow you there. Same observation for Stéphanie Laporte: “It’s a more sober network, which therefore suits them better. There is less chance that their message will end up in the middle of two videos of cats and mini shorts. » Not to mention, according to the expert, the hype of life coaches, professional coaches, development coaches… “What is a priest if not a theological coach? »

Chase away the physical presence, it comes back at a gallop

Cédric Burgun, priest of the diocese of Metz, lists reasons closer to ordinary mortals: he is vice-dean of the Faculty of Canon Law of the Catholic Institute of Paris. Nothing very original about his presence: promoting the Institute, its network and exchanging professionally with other law professors. “Particularly state law, to make the link between state law and canon law.” There remain a few incongruities, like when LinkedIn asks him if he is looking for a job or if he wants to recruit. “I say no,” he smiles.

Like all his colleagues on the Web, Cédric Burgun is sometimes challenged by messages asking for his help or, at the very least, his listening. “If they are in Ile-de-France, I invite them to come see me directly. Otherwise, I direct them to the nearest priest or parish priest.” Same strategy at Pierre Amar: “LinkedIn can be a gateway, but nothing replaces direct exchange”. For priests, LinkedIn is ultimately like it is for the average worker: a good network, but not a miracle worker.

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#father #Holy #Spirit #Priests #LinkedIn

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