Mike Matthews is an online marketing consultant based in New York City. Here, he shares tips on how to have the courage to share spiritual things online while still being yourself. He recorded an experience where he spoke with a Jewish co-worker about her perceptions of how he shared his faith online, which can be found in this episode of Mormon Channel Daily.
1. My favorite members of the Church
My favorite members of the Church are the ones clueless of the impact they make online. In their minds, because they aren’t sharing the latest Bible Video from the Church, they don’t feel like they’ve done anything. Yet scrolling through their news feed produces albums full of service activities, requests for prayers on behalf of a family member, or a picture of their child’s baptism.
The Church spends an enormous amount of energy and resources trying to get folks inside the chapel doors to see how we worship. But these members are already doing it virtually, without even knowing.
These people are following the example of Henry Eyring, the famous scientist and father of President Henry B. Eyring, who shared the following story:
“He [Henry Eyring] lectured to audiences in countries around the world. Once I read a talk he had given to a large scientific convention. In it, he referred to creation and a Creator as he talked about his science. I knew that few, if any, in that audience would have shared his faith. So I said to him with wonder and admiration, ‘Dad, you bore your testimony.’ He looked at me with surprise on his face and said, ‘Did I?’”
2. “30-day selfless challenge”
I moonlight as a social media teacher at NYU, and every semester I hear that students are exhausted with Facebook or, as some refer to it, “Facebook fatigued.” The reasons vary from the posts being overly political or too polished, or there are “just too many babies.”
To combat this exhaustion, I’ve started issuing what I call the “30-day selfless challenge.”
Here’s how it works:
Before you post, ask yourself, “Is this about me or someone else?”
No selfies, commentary, or “check-ins” allowed. Spend a minute thinking about someone or something that you can highlight, praise, help, or draw attention to through storytelling. For members of the Church, this process could begin with a prayer. Someone in your social network probably needs a job, is having a tough week, or is trying to raise money for charity. Praying can help you identify who those people are and the best way to reach them.
3. Find out how you’re doing
Pick someone you trust to give you honest feedback on how your faith comes across on social media. It’s up to you how you’d like to approach the conversation, but as a reference, here are some of the questions I asked Jen, a Jewish co-worker of mine:
a. Whenever I post something related to my church, what do you think about?
b. What is something new that you’ve learned about Mormons from my posts?
c. Have I ever come across as preachy or pushy? If not, what are examples you’ve seen when people have?
d. In your opinion, what is a healthy way to share your faith online? How do you approach sharing your faith?