Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How to Use LDS "New Media"

Social networking is a big buzzword these days on the ‘net. For good or ill, we want to use the ‘net to connect. A while ago there was a book called “Megatrends” that coined the phrase “High-tech brings high-touch”. The idea was that the more we plug ourselves into our computers, the more we want to use that tech to reach people. It’s kinda funny, in some ways. We isolate ourselves in our homes and rooms in front of a glowing screen and still strive to connect with each other. Some call it a pathetic attempt to make false friends while hiding from the world, others call it using the tech to expand their world and associates.

I, of course, use the ‘net to make friends all the time. It’s part of my own effort to be connected to humanity, and, frankly, part of how I promote my music. It’s also my job, supporting my family.

Within Mormondom, it’s also got another unique angle. Several unique angles, actually.

One is that the LDS world suddenly gets smaller. I grew up in Indiana, and I had few Mormon friends. Most of my friends, in fact, were born-again Christians who, in their own good intentions, were trying to save me. I would have loved to have an internet where I could connect with other young church members all over the world. The best we could do was driving a couple of hours to stake dances in Indianapolis every other month or so.

Even now that I live in Utah, I still find it to be cool that I can be in contact with church members all over the world.

Another angle is that our leaders have now begun to encourage us to use the “New Media” to share the Gospel with others. Instead of being afraid of the technology, they are encouraging us to embrace it, still with caution and prayer. There are many ways to do this. We can create and post websites with our testimonies. We can blog, we can participate in forums and networks.

In the process of bumping around the ‘net, I’ve been encountering a lot of LDS-oriented new-media resources. Let me share a few with you:

  1. http://LDS.net A cool new Mormon myspace/facebook clone. Come to my page and be my friend.
  2. Mormonwiki.com An unofficial LDS encyclopedia, edited and maintained by church members everywhere
  3. Mormontestimonies.org Another wiki, this one primarily about testimonies. “Why We Believe” is the slogan. Great site.
  4. Sustaind.org Can you Digg it? This one’s for us church members!
  5. LDS and Mormon life swicki A “Swiki” is a community developed search engine. This one’s all about Mormon life.
  6. http://www.ldsfind.com/ A more formal and static search engine of the LDS related sites on the ‘net.
  7. To find good email forums, go to Yahoogroups.com and search for “LDS” or “Mormon”. There are a lot of good groups out there.
  8. http://yourldsneighborhood.com is a new site that’s primarily about advertising books, music, media, and products for the LDS community. There are also a lot of blogs and info pages there.
  9. http://mormon-blogs.com/ “The Bloggernacle” is a rich and varied network of LDS blogs. There are many pearls of great price, and many lumps of coal. Proceed with interest and with caution!
  10. http://mormonwebtv.com I love this site. It features a lot of web video content, all focused on LDS life. Sometimes funny, sometimes spiritual, sometimes informative. Always lots of fun.

Warnings: As always, nothing is ever easy or clear.

  1. All standard net safety rules apply. Don’t think that because these people are Mormon that there can’t be a few that are dangerous. Don’t give out your personal information online.
  2. Watch out for anti-Mormon propaganda. This comes in many forms. Some sites are quite up front about the fact that they think the church is false and they make it clear that they’re out to prove it. Others are more subtle, tempting church members to engage in debates and “discussions” so they can try to confound our doctrines. Still others are more subtle, church members challenging their own fundamental beliefs in the interests of “intellectual discourse” that amounts to little more than snarking or speculation.

The “New media” is here to stay, but it will change forms many many times as the years go on. Jump in and participate. See what’s out there. And when you find new stuff, come back and tell me about it!

MRKH
Mark Hansen
http://markhansenmusic.com

2 comments:

  1. David H. Sundwall2/20/08, 11:15 AM

    Great round up of resources.

    And thanks for including www.mormon-blogs.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a great roundup! Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete

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