As an Atheist I always thought I’d be a kick-ass Religious Study-igst. What does one do with a major in Religious Studies? What does one do with a major in Theatre Arts, which I have? Tomato … tomato as far as I can tell. I could have been like Robert Langdon tracking down a secret society covering up the truth of the Holy Grail. His fictional life seems so exciting. Opportunity missed. Any who … one of the things that does fascinate me about organised religion is watching how it grows. While the world is changing fast many religious seem to struggle with how to engage with a younger group of members. Something that is crucial if the religion is to grow or even survive. I’ve got something to tell the People’s Pope … LDS are the queens/kings of social/digital engagement. Mr. Pope (Sr. Pope? What do you call him? Poper Popiest Master Popemiester) better start looking for someone to head his digital team ASAP. May I suggest me? Oh that’s right … I choose Theatre Arts.
How do I know LDS is heading to the new media world for help in spreading their message? I stumble upon them all the time. Well not all the time, but lately often enough that even this little Atheist couldn’t help but take notice of their presence. My new favorite photo app is Studio (follow me at @wendylnewell). It’s a hoot. You can take a picture and add overlays of words, shapes, pictures, etc. It allows you to become a designer and then steal other people’s designs! They call it a “remix” but if you have a public design I like I can copy it with a click of the button. Oodles of fun. In the apps “market” you will find “packs” of overlays you can download. Some are free while some are 99 cents. I tend to go to the market a lot to see if there are any new dog packs. Yesterday I was perusing the market and saw the pack titled, “I’m a Mormon – 38 LDS Designs.” Say what? Of course I had to open that right up. It is presented by mormon.org. It’s unclear if this is a promotion by them or if they have some tie to the app. I don’t care. It’s freakin’ brilliant! The overlay’s include sayings like “#SUNDAYSELFIE,” “He is Risen!,”
“Choose the Right,” and “I love to see the Temple.” It looks like this launch was specifically timed to coincide with the LDS general conference weekend. Yah I don’t know what that is either, but I assume it’s a conference of LDSers.
I had to do a little research and those smartie farties don’t stop there. They are encouraging all their folks to use social media to spread the word. This is for anytime but with an emphasis during the conference. According to the article I read participants are urged to use the hashtag #ldsconf. Apparently this has worked well in the past and last October (apparently a conference weekend) over 155,000 tweets were posted. Now imagine being able to add a selfie with a drawing of the temple superimposed next to you. I know!!!!! As I said before … freakin’ brilliant.
LDS doesn’t stop there. If you go to their site there is actually a couple of pages specifically on social media. One is focused on how to share the gospel using the new media and the second includes hot tips (they don’t call it that I’m summarizing) including how to be a safe user. Nice addition LDS! They also have their own mobile apps. You never have to be far away from your LDS Music because it’s right there on your iPhone.
According to what I read there was a special broadcast late last year to discuss how the missionaries will be using digital means to help find converts vs. the old school of knocking on doors. What are comedians all over the US going to do with their Mormon door knocking jokes? Soon they will be passe.
I’m not saying that other individuals don’t head to social media to spread their personal beliefs what I’m saying is that Mormons have taken it to a new level of organisation and thinking. As a digital loving Atheist I salute you LDS. You and whomever you hired to run your digital marketing group. It’s not changing my mind about my beliefs, but I appreciate your ability to grow with the times and use what’s out there to your advantage.
P.S. the tag #SundaySelfie is brilliant.