The rapid pick-up of new social media applications by Catholic youth is playing a major part in the coordination, planning and delivery of the next Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) to be held in Adelaide in December.
“Over the last five years social media has become an essential part of communicating any event, particularly to young people,” said Gabrielle Sinclair, project manager for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) Office for Youth.
The ACYF in Adelaide will be the first of the ACBC-sponsored events to stream live radio. This will be in addition to live webcasting of the plenary sessions.
Mrs Sinclair last month said the official hashtag #ACYF15 would be used to encourage youth to search for friends and post live during the festival. An event App is also being developed.
She said youth could follow the conference @ACBCYouthMin on three platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She said social media would be used to communicate special announcements, and feature particular elements of the festival.
Xt3.com content and administration manager Mary Elias said she expected Twitter and Instagram would be the most popular social media applications picked up by pilgrims at the ACYF 2015.
“At the last conference (in Melbourne in 2013), we saw the importance of social media and the Bishops Conference saw the importance of it too, but now it really is essential and integral; it’s no longer an extra thing, an addition,” said Ms Elias. The three plenary sessions and the Mass of the inaugural ACYF 2013 attracted a total live webcast audience of 7,268.
“Without a doubt social media is the way young people interact today,” said radio broadcaster and journalist Gianna Lucas. “It really personalises an event and connects people on a deeper level,” she said.
Mrs Lucas will coordinate and co-present live internet streaming of Adelaide’s ArchD Radio program at ACYF 2015. She will head a team of Catholic youth to plan interviews and special guest appearances before a live audience at the Adelaide Convention Centre over the three-day Catholic youth event (Dec 3-6).
“The live streaming is perfect for those people who cannot get to the festival,” she said. “They might be working in Adelaide or interstate and so in this way they can be right among those at the festival just by tuning in on their laptop or smartphone. It’s a great initiative.”
At age 14, Mrs Lucas was part of all-Australian girl band Charmz and has spent several years on the Melbourne airwaves presenting and producing at 89.9 LightFM – Australia’s largest community radio station.
Group registrations are now open for ACYF 2105 and applications for organisations to have a stall in the “INcounter” section of the festival have also opened. Individual registrations will be open soon. To register or for more information visit www.youthfestival.catholic.org.au or contact James Meston on 08 8301 6109.
This article was written by Rebecca DiGirolamo.