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Pope Benedict XVI’s annual message for World Communications Day on Tuesday suggested a tried-and-true strategy for both social media and life in general: don’t just talk, also listen.

The theme of the message: balancing silence and words. “The process of communication nowadays is largely fuelled by questions in search of answers,” the pope said.

“Search engines and social networks have become the starting point of communication for many people who are seeking advice, ideas, information and answers.

“In our time, the Internet is becoming ever more a forum for questions and answers – indeed, people today are frequently bombarded with answers to questions they have never asked and to needs of which they were unaware.

“If we are to recognize and focus upon the truly important questions, then silence is a precious commodity that enables us to exercise proper discernment in the face of the surcharge of stimuli and data that we receive.”

The pope, however, is no Luddite. the launch of a Vatican YouTube Channel, iPhone app and web portal.

He sent his first tweet from an iPad, and recently used an Android tablet to light a Christmas tree. In case you weren’t already clear of his stance on technology, the pope made it clear his call for silence wasn’t necessarily a call away from the Internet.

“In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated, as long as those taking part in the conversation do not neglect to cultivate their own inner lives,” he said, in an apparent nod to Twitter.
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