What began as a way to connect with friends has become a tool for companies to sell their products, organizations to extend their reach and people to make significant differences in the world around them. The LDS Church has worked to use social media by creating Facebook pages, blogs, Pinterest boards and more. Members of the Quorum of the Twelve have even provided people with a new way to “follow” the prophets by getting their own Twitter accounts. According to Robert Walz, a professor in the Communications Department at BYU, this is all good, but it’s not enough.
“People trust individuals more than they trust institutions,” Walz said. “Individual members are going to be trusted more than the church.” For this reason, Walz said, it would be more effective for church members to reach out to their non-LDS friends than for the church itself to reach out to them.
Social media websites are “underused as missionary tools by students,” Walz said. BYU students primarily use social media websites for social interaction. In an attempt to teach students how to use social media as a missionary tool, Walz teamed up with the More Good Foundation and LDS missionaries to sponsor the LDS Share Expo in the Wilkinson Student Center in March.