"Social media is fun, free and informative. It's also here to stay. It has the potential to connect the world, and any individual or organization trying to communicate a message to a large audience should take a serious look. With a message as important as the restored gospel, it's no wonder why the Church is taking gospel discussions online and encouraging members to do likewise." LDS Church News - "The Church in Cyberspace; Using social media to spread the gospel"
It's been almost four years now since I personally became active with using Social Media to share the gospel online. I joined HubPages to write, Facebook to connect, Twitter to broadcast and YouTube as ways to assist me in my desire to add more credible information, online, about Mormonism. In those, my early days online, I used to hope and pray for the day when the Church would get on board and develop better "official" resources for people to access -- and in turn share with others. You can imagine how exciting it was when Elder M. Russell Ballard, and Apostle of the Lord, gave this counsel at BYU Hawaii...
"The Lord, over the centuries, has had a hand in inspiring people to invent tools that facilitate the spreading of the gospel. The Church has adopted and embraced those tools, including print, broadcast media and the Internet... Now, may I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration."- "Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet" Ensign, July 2008
Well, little did I know then, but the Church was already on it! I've had the blessing of being a part of watching and participating in the growth of the Church's use of Social Media. For me, it's been a thrill! The LDS Church has now established multiple "official" accounts on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Three of my personal favorite places to hangout online!
Today we frequently hear messages from LDS leaders that it's okay to engage in Social Media -- to help share the gospel. Just this past General Conference a member of the First Presidency, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, gave this shout out:
"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." "Waiting on the Road to Damascus" April 2011
How many of these "useful gadgets" do you own? Me? I'm kind of embarrassed to say! Are we using these gadgets in the way a prophet has encouraged us? I'm pretty darn sure that the majority of my readers here are either on Facebook or Twitter, right? If you can answer yes to both of these inquiries then you can consider yourself officially called to this work! And if you're not, well consider this your official invitation.
In the coming weeks I'm going to post more information to help those who are not yet comfortable with Social Media learn how to use it. It's really quite easy and most of all, it's fun! Some of you might need to overcome some fears that your online friends might have a problem with you sharing your faith. I've consistently been pleased to find that my own friends, that are not Mormon, are most always respectful and often ask questions. In fact, most appreciate learning more about Mormonism in general. With the upcoming elections, this interest will most definitely be increasing. You never know, but you could be the only resource your friends and family have to get credible information about the Church.
Most important for all of us is that we shouldn't be afraid to be who we are in every facet of our lives. This doesn't mean that you need to broadcast that you're a Mormon, but I definitely think it should be a part what you share with your online audience.
Here are a few simple things that you can do right now, that will help you to begin sharing the gospel online.
Add to your existing Social Media accounts that you belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or use LDS - Mormon. Consider posting this link http://Mormon.org on your profile.
Retweet on Twitter or use the "Share" feature on Facebook to pass along great LDS content from Mormon bloggers you enjoy reading, interesting online articles that focus on the LDS Church in positive ways, or from many of the wonderful online LDS Church resources -- e.g. LDS.org Prophets and Apostles Speak Today, Mormon Messages videos, LDSNewsroom Blog, Mormon Times, etc...
Create a personal account at LDS.org. As the Church continues to expand its online presence this account is becoming more and more valuable. I'll share more in the future of how you can use this account to help share the gospel online. For now just make sure you get set-up.
Subscribe, Follow and LIKE these official LDS Church accounts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to make sure you're receiving updates that you can then SHARE!
Here's the latest Mormon Messages video and WINNER of the International Video Contest:
HONESTY: You Better Believe It!
I have a sincere desire to help you learn how to use Social Media to share the gospel online. The Church has developed and is currently working on some excellent tools to help you, too. I'll be sharing those in the coming weeks if I feel this is something that my readers are interested in learning more about. So... are you?
I think that one of the simplest ways to learn how to use Social Media to share the gospel, online, is to observe how others are doing it -- and many of you are. Now it's your turn to step out and start sharing, too.
LDSNewsroom: Church Has Strong Presence on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter