Tuesday, October 4, 2011

So this last weekend was general conference. Also I have been blogging more. It turns out that this is not a coincidence. You see, I made a goal this last weekend (actually it was one of the very first goals that I made) that I would start using my social media knowledge to share the gospel and such. You see there were a number of talks that mentioned the need for people to clarify points of church doctrine and to raise their voice (I can think off hand of Elder Bednar, Elder Holland, and Elder Ballard). There was specific mention made of those things such as Mormon.org profiles (Here's mine) and blogs (you're reading mine).

So I felt that one of the first steps was to use what I already had. More specifically I think this means posting more regularly on this blog and being more willing to post spiritual things. I know that I have tried this before, but is it really a goal if you don't have to restart three or four times?

Also, there is the matter of Twitter. For those of you who are not Twitter-savvy, it is very much like a continuous feed of facebook status updates. "So why not just use facebook?" you might ask. Well, generally I do, but there are some subtle differences between the two (though die-hards will claim they are vastly different... not for me). The major difference is the use of hashtags. Essentially what happens on twitter is that at any point in a post (which only allows you 140 characters) you can use this symbol (#) and any word you type after that becomes a searchable term. Meaning that it makes the word a link, and if anyone clicks the link they will see all other posts from everyone on twitter that has used that same hashtag. Confused?

Well what ends up happening is that there are trends. If so many people use the same hashtag, it becomes popular and will start to gain a life of its own. Generally these are fairly stupid, like #Thingsyoushouldknowaboutme or #JustinBieber, but once a hashtag starts trending it takes on a life of its own. But then there's even another step. If a certain group of people all use the same hashtag over and over, and are continually searching for other people's posts using that tag, then you begin to be familiar with those other people and suddenly you have an online community.

Enter LDS tweeters. During general conference, there is a neat little thing that happens where many members of the church start "live-tweeting" conference. This means that they will post quotes, doctrines, reactions, rumors, and so forth on their twitter as conference progresses. This has been happening for a number of years now, and I have been participating for the past 3 or 4 sessions.

The reason why this is so interesting is because you start to see the same people showing up. We all started using the "#ldsconf" tag and we could all see each other. And then we started to get to know each other. And now there is a community that has formed, appropriately called the "#twitterstake". The beauty of this is that it is creating a wonderful group of connections from across the globe, but more than that, it exists to put religious things on the website. This means that if any random twitter user noticed the #ldsconf hashtag and got a little curious, they would suddenly be flooded with quotes and doctrines from General Authorities. And every so often, questions are asked, via twitter, and responded to in a like manner.

That was a long bit, but we're not done yet.

You see, then entered Elder Ian S. Ardern. He spoke during the Saturday afternoon session and came down pretty hard on those who waste a lot of time forming only cyber aquaintences and wasting all of their time on the computer. This caused quite the stir among the #twitterstake (who was tweeting everything he said about not tweeting). But there was a nice conclusion that was reached. As with most conference talks, the general authorities tend to preach balance in all things. I feel that reviewing Elder Ardern's talk, that is what he is advocating. He is not saying that we should entirely remove ourselves from the internet, but we need to use all things in moderation and not let ourselves become addicted to the online world.

So my second goal is to spend less time on my computer.

I know that my two goals may seem a little contradictory, but they really do work together in my head. I need to make sure that the time that I am spending on my computer is productive (like blogging?) and to make a concerted effort to cut out the frivolous time. Hence the hypocrisy.

The irony is the amount of time that I spent writing this epic, and the amount of time you spent reading it.... sorry Elder Ardern...


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