Social media has caught the attention of people around the world for its ability to share ideas, create conversations, and make connections. “The Church’s presence in social media has expanded significantly,” says Jared Covington, a social media advisor for the Church. “It’s been growing year after year.”
In a 2014 address, Elder David Bednar called on members to “sweep the earth” with righteousness and gospel messages, and social media is an important and effective tool to accomplish this.
While social media does not replace in-person contact, the Church’s Handbook 2 says that, “When carefully used, the Internet can help coordinate the work of the Church, strengthen faith, and minister to the needs of others. The Internet can also help people connect with one another and share Church content with friends and family.”
During the 2015 Christmas season, a Church video “A Savior Is Born” was viewed more than 45 million times on Facebook, YouTube, and other social channels. The Church encouraged people to use the #ASaviorIsBorn hashtag as they shared the video with their friends and followers on social media channels. Mormon.org offered many resources during Christmas, including GIFs and posters that members used to spread the joyous message.
The Church has official accounts on many of the biggest social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest. Along with these, there are Mormon Channel and Church History Tumblr pages, and Newsroom, the Church’s official resource for news media, has a Periscope account to share live video from a variety of events, as well as the ministry of Church leaders.
The Church has gathered lots of resources you can use to create your own social media experience at social.lds.org. Much of the material available is designed to let you share the gospel through the Internet. You can use the network of your Facebook friends, for example, to help sweep the earth with righteous messages of the gospel.
The potential for contacting people searching for the truth is high. The Christmas video “A Savior Is Born” was one of the top 10 Christmas messages viewed on YouTube this year. The Church’s commitment to social media is ongoing. Each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has an authorized Twitter and Facebook account, and there are many different official Church sites that relate to different initiatives and activities. Check medialibrary.lds.org to find the names of official and verified Church social media accounts.
In Elder Bednar’s talk he said, “Social media are helping the leaders and members of the restored Church to fulfill the Lord’s mandate to ‘go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15; italics added).” As you share gospel content and participate in social media, remember these four guidelines from Elder Bednar’s talk:
- First, we are disciples and our messages should be authentic.
- Second, we and our messages should seek to edify and uplift rather than to argue, debate, condemn, or belittle.
- Third, we and our messages should respect the property of other people and organizations.
- Fourth, be wise and vigilant in protecting yourself and those you love.
Consult Elder Bednar’s talk to understand the wisdom and context of these guidelines.
The technology available to many members of the Church can be a great blessing in their lives. Using social media, we can work great righteousness among both those we love and strangers we may interact with. To explore ways you can experience social media from a gospel perspective, visit social.lds.org and medialibrary.lds.org. To find guidelines about using the Internet for Church purposes, see internet.lds.org.