Elder David A. Bednar just delivered a talk on social media at BYU Education Week. The text of the talk is already posted at LDS.org (video also available). You are probably going to be hearing about this one so you’d better go read it. Here are the highlights. Quotations in the italicized blockquotes; my commentary in plain text following the quote.
Approximately 40 percent of our worldwide missionary force soon will be using digital devices as tools in the work of conversion, retention, and activation.
It appears that implementing this change has not gone as quickly or as comprehensively as originally planned.
A technology known as social media is evolving in our day and playing an increasingly important role in hastening the work of salvation. The term social media refers to various channels of Internet and mobile-based communication that are used by individuals, families, and large groups of people to create digital communities wherein they share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content such as pictures and videos.
He identifies Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, but not blogging. So is blogging a social media? At least as we do it around here, blogging does create a digital community that shares information and ideas, so yes. Compared to Facebook, the focus is on content; the social aspect of blogging is rather muted. This seems like an advantage to me.
Social media channels are global tools that can personally and positively impact large numbers of individuals and families. And I believe the time has come for us as disciples of Christ to use these inspired tools appropriately and much more effectively to testify of God the Eternal Father, His plan of happiness for His children, and His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Savior of the world; to proclaim the reality of the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days; and to accomplish the Lord’s work.
I’m thinking we need a discussion about contexts where testimony works and where it doesn’t. Cold-call testimonies delivered online don’t strike me as the right approach. Elsewhere in the talk, he encourages online Mormons to “be authentic.” That works, but it’s a much broader spectrum. If he spent an hour at [fill in your favorite edgy LDS group blog] I’m guessing he would add, “but not too authentic.”
We will now see a brief trailer from the film.
It’s Meet the Mormons (trailer here; it’s only 90 seconds). Think six Mormon.org profiles blown up to documentary length. The end of the trailer says it will be released in theaters on October 10, but I’m thinking that’s just the Legacy Theater on Temple Square.
The last third of the talk states some social media guidelines: be authentic and consistent; edify and uplift; respect intellectual property; and be wise and vigilant (“the Internet never forgets”).
Beginning at this place on this day, I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth — messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy — and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood.
So there you have it. Stop scrapbooking; start Facebooking. Less golf, more blogging. Turn off your TV, turn on your iPad. Welcome to the Mormon MMPG (massively multi-player gospel).