Social media
Take your Pick…

I’m, lets say, in my 40’s.

In my youth when I wanted to speak to someone I either used one of these:

phonebike mouth

Now I use this…

iphone

In a generation we have changed the nature of communication. What used to be a conversation between 2 people is now, potentially a conversation between hundreds, thousands, or even millions. This blog entry will reach across the world to thousands of people. All at the push of a few keys…

It has forever changed many aspects of our lives. Our work, our marriages [1], our friends [2]. It has changed how we define sociality and even communication itself. Laws are failing, in most jurisdictions, to keep up with the way in which technology affects our behaviour. For a good discussion on this – particularly as it relates to the ethical side of things – see here.

The LDS Church has arguably led the way (as far as religions go) with an online presence – both organisationally and personally. All Q15 have public Facebook accounts. Elder Bednar has counselled to “Sweep the Earth as with a flood” regarding how we use social media. A quick search on LDS.org using the terms Social Media bring numerous conference and other talks on the subject. What was, not so long ago, a pejorative discourse on social media, has, in my opinion, turned around to using it to speak positively about our message. I think they realised that everyone was doing it anyway, and doom and gloom discourses wouldn’t really do much, so spin it around and take a more positive approach.

It got me thinking about how this might be affecting us at church, particularly in Testimony Meeting. I know, I know – we all have our own thoughts on that and there have been some really good posts on this meeting. My thoughts, though, centre on how the immediacy and reach of social media might affect what people might have wanted to say in testimony meeting.

My time in the church has told me, and nearly every first Sunday of the month reinforces this position, that generally Testimony Meeting comprises the same people, telling the same stories in the same way. For example…

The “travel-mony” (I went to Bali and you didn’t).

The “sick-mony” (I’ve got exotic illnesses and you don’t)

The “really too strange for sunday-mony” (If anyone knows God’s second sister please tell me as I want to complete my geneology[3])

And my favourite the “Claytons-mony” [4] (telling 20 minutes of boring stories everyone’s heard before and then saying “and to close, I want to bear my testimony, I know God lives, in the name of Jesus Christ Amen”)

koala

So with the significant use of social media, won’t everyone know you have gone to Bali, that you have tinea, that you are strange etc etc?? Or is it the case that Testimonies are now all about how someone commented on their post about SSM[5]?? Are people sharing their Testimonies online (I’m a Mormon)?? Or will the venting during the month on social media allow us all to leave that aside and actually bear a decent testimony?? What are your thoughts and experiences on how social media is affecting Testimony Meeting??

Discuss…

 

[1] A friend of mine recently saw a post of a mutual friend of hers and her husbands on Facebook. She was out for the night with some friends and saw the post which had (probably inadvertently) a location identifier on it. That was in the suburb which she (my friend) lived not where this mutual friend lived. My friend became suspicious and went home to find her husband and the mutual friend in a compromising situation. Damn you Facebook…!!!

[2] I have hundreds, apparently

[3] That was a real life example, I kid you not.

[4] Claytons is a non-alcoholic drink marketed in Australia during the 1970’s and is still selling today. It’s marketing slogan was, “The drink you are having when you’re not having a drink”. And so the Claytons testimony is the “Testimony you are bearing, when you’re not bearing a testimony”.

[5] After commenting on a members post about SSM where the member had indicated that we need to actively promote the LDS Traditional Family view on social media at every opportunity and not shy away from anyone, I suggested a more tempered approach such as Elder Oaks suggested. Days later in RS lesson, my comments (verbatim) were used by this member as the wrong way to go about promoting our views – and how Satan can deceive us into not standing up for our faith…!!!! Cop that LDS_Aussie…and Elder Oaks…