I don't have any stats as to how many tweets went out over General Conference weekend using the hashtags #LDSConf, (update below*) but what I can tell you is that once again the efforts and interaction of Mormons on Twitter brought attention, worldwide, to the the reality that we truly have living prophets upon the earth!
I believe it was during the Sunday afternoon session of conference that our dear Prophet and President of the LDS Church's name, Thomas Monson, was trending on Twitter! Such wonderful exposure to the eternal truth, that God speaks to His children, today! I hope you'll excuse me for not recalling exactly when this happened, but I was busily engaged throughout the entire weekend, while I tweeted as best I was able, with nine rambunctious grandchildren, and their parents! It was a glorious weekend!
For members of the LDS faith who have a personal testimony of living prophets, it is hard to imagine that so many who profess a belief in God, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, buy into the belief that He does not speak to prophets any longer. I know that my life, literally on a daily basis, is blessed by this knowledge.
It is a thrill to have the blessing of technology via Social Media, to shout from the rooftops that indeed God currently speaks to His children through living prophets. Not only that He does, but precisely what He actually has to say! Counsel on topics such as marriage, family, temples, service, compassion, forgiveness, parenting, etc... were made known. Invitations were tweeted throughout the weekend, both on Facebook and Twitter, to followers and friends to join us and watch or listen to General Conference. And I can tell you that in my case, some actually did!
Many of us were delighted by President Uchtdorf's shout out to US! Let me just say... I realize that I am not of the younger LDS generation, but I actually think that I am much better at using my "hands" to share the gospel, via technology, than many of my younger brothers and sisters. Therefore, I was thrilled with Pres. Uchtdorf's message about why, how, when and where we can use technology to share the gospel!
Watch Video Here - A Glad Message to Share
There are times when the Lord reveals to us things that are intended only for us. Nevertheless, in many, many cases He entrusts a testimony of the truth to those who will share it with others. This has been the case with every prophet since the days of Adam. Even more, the Lord expects the members of His Church to “open [their mouths] at all times, declaring [His] gospel with the sound of rejoicing” (D&C 28:16).
This is not always easy. Some would rather pull a handcart across a prairie than bring up the subject of faith and religion to their friends and coworkers. They worry about how they might be perceived or how it might harm their relationship. It doesn’t need to be that way because we have a glad message to share and we have a message of joy. . . .
With so many social media resources and a multitude of more or less useful gadgets at our disposal, sharing the good news of the gospel is easier and the effects more far-reaching than ever before. In fact, I am almost afraid that some listening have already sent text messages like, “He’s been speaking for 10 minutes, and still no aviation analogy!” My young friends, my dear young friends, perhaps the Lord’s encouragement to “open [our] mouths” might today include “use your hands” to blog and text message the gospel to all the world! But please remember, all at the right time and at the right place.
Brothers and sisters, with the blessings of modern technology, we can express gratitude and joy about God’s great plan for His children in a way that can be heard not only around our workplace but around the world. Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someone’s life for eternity.
On that note, I want to personally challenge YOU! I've noticed over that last few years of tweeting General Conference on Twitter, and sharing information on Facebook, that we as members are getting better at doing this, but only briefly. Twitter is flooded with members during General Conference, thoroughly enjoying the camaraderie with other members and feeling good about their online missionary work. And that's great! But lets not let it end there, this time. Lets stay out there and make sure that our friends and followers know that this is who we are, as individuals, on a regular basis. I believe that it is through small exposure to truth, that the gospel message will eventually sink into the hearts of all those who are willing to hear our message.
*UPDATE: Jesse Stay, a member of the LDS Tech team, tweeted that there were 52,000 tweets during General Conference. He clarified that this number was taken over last week, beginning on Tuesday. This number doubles last year's totals! Jesse also said, "there were about 9,500 total unique users participating"!
Jesse later added - "Of note (I'm not sure how accurate this stat is now), we counted a total of 1,900 unique users last year. That was just tracking #ldsconf though. This year we tracked a lot more than just that."
So, as data continues to be collected and analyzed, by those in the know, I'm sure we'll have a better picture of how Social Media can and does help us to effectively share the gospel, online.
Seriously, I'm blown away by these numbers! Way to go Twitter Stake!!!