Friday, 20 August 2021 12:01

Carmelites celebrate huge social media milestone

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carmelites fb 674x674 celebreate230k 01 350For a religious order well known for its charism of prayer and contemplation, the Carmelites of Australia and Timor-Leste have made a big splash in social media, clocking up more than 230,000 Facebook followers in just over four years.

Communications Director Fr David Hofman O.Carm says the Carmelites have been surprised and delighted at the growth of their social media following and the opportunities for connecting with people that it presents.

“We are not one of the enclosed Carmelite orders,” Fr David said. “We work in a variety of ministries including parishes in Australia and Timor-Leste, and we have a secondary school and the Carmelite Centre here in Victoria, but certainly, our charism is one of prayer and contemplation.

“So the purpose of our outreach on social media is to try and share that spirituality with people. We post prayer and reflections as well as invitations to things we’ve got going on and we see that as part of our contemplative ministry really.”

During the past month the Carmelites Facebook page reached over one million users with over 140,000 post engagements.

Fr David said that from time to time, the Carmelites use the Facebook page to ask people to contribute their prayer intentions, which are then offered at Mass.

Fr David said a particular highlight of the Facebook growth has been the fact that nearly 25,000 followers are from Timor-Leste.

“That was a surprise to me,” he said. “I hadn’t expected it, because getting onto the internet in Timor via a computer is hard.

“But what I hadn’t counted on is that almost everyone in Timor has a smart phone, because in a country where land lines are either patchy or non-existent, mobile phones are the only way to communicate. So they’re accessing our Facebook page on their phones.

“I think that’s great. It’s a real point of contact with the people in Timor and much more effective in outreach than waiting for them to come to our webpage.”

The Carmelites are trying to use beautiful images and engaging posts as a means of attracting people to their page and say they are grateful for the professional advice and support they’ve received.

“We started out with around 1000 followers and to see it grow to over 230,000 in 4 years has been really wonderful. We’ve been surprised and delighted at the connections we’re making with people and it is very encouraging to see that 78% of our Facebook followers are aged between 18-34.” Fr David said.

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