The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference Institute for Public Policy takes advantage of some exciting new Internet technology to maximize the usefulness and effectiveness of its website, pacatholic.org. This crash course in new technology will help online users get the most out of the website.
Clicking on each category heading takes you to a page where all the articles displayed address that topic. The articles are displayed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent postings on the top. Most articles fall into more than one category.
Everything within pacatholic.org is “tagged” with key words that describe the subject matter of each article. Much like an old-fashioned card catalogue index at the library, by typing a subject in the search bar everything in the site that is related to that word or words will be listed on your screen.
New technology makes it easier than ever for information to come to you. Two notification methods are available at pacatholic.org. The first is RSS, or Real Simple Syndication. RSS allows PCC to publish something new on its site then “syndicate” it out to many different places. If you subscribe to an RSS news feed, links to the new content will be displayed in your news reader such as iGoogle, My Yahoo or similar program. No need to go to the website everyday; the news comes to you. You may be familiar with syndicated radio programs or columns in the newspaper. The idea is the same, but RSS news feeds are free. At pacatholic.org, you may subscribe to the whole site or just one category.
The e-mail subscription option sends notice of content changes directly to your inbox.
The other dynamic feature of the new website is the ability to share information. If you like something you read at pacatholic.org, clicking this button allows you to easily send an e-mail or text message about the article to a friend or post the link to Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or other social media site.
This article appears in the Spring 2009 issue of the Viewpoint newsletter.