Education Week: How to get more out of LDS Church apps, social media

In a BYU Education Week presentation, Fernando V. Camilo said Mormons can get more out of the LDS Church’s social media accounts and apps by being familiar with how they work. (Dani Jardine illustration)

You get what you give when it comes to the LDS Church’s social media accounts and apps, according to a BYU Education Week presentation by Fernando V. Camilo.

Camilo, who helps manage the LDS Youth Instagram page, said one way to get more out of the LDS Church’s apps is to engage more with social media content. As an example, he said if a person sees a lot of pictures of cats in their Facebook feed, it’s because they click “Like” every time they see a picture of a cat.

“If you don’t ‘like’ comments or posts from the apostles, guess what?” Camilo said. “Facebook’s going to think that you don’t like them.”

Camilo said Mormons can also get more out of the Church’s apps by being more familiar with how they work.

Camilo went over social media basics, such as looking for the blue check on verified Facebook accounts and the difference between an Instagram post and story.

He also taught basics for the Gospel Library app, which he said has over 2 million active users, and highlighted some lesser known apps, such as the Doctrinal Mastery app and the church’s new LDS Media app.

Camilo said social media has changed how the Church reaches people. He used the example of a woman who, upon getting a notification that the LDS Church was streaming a live event, left the gym early to watch the event with her kids.

“And what happens with social media is we’re getting the people who are not usually tuned in,” Camilo said.

The church also uses social media to show how the gospel can be lived anywhere, Camilo said. Camilo talked about a recent trip to Ghana, where the LDS Youth Instagram team highlighted local youths with photos and stories.

“So this is the type of experience that we want to show the youth of the church, especially because the majority of our followers are here in the United States and in developed countries, and we want them to see you can live the gospel outside of here,” Camilo said.

Camilo said social media is a more personal way for the general authorities to connect with church members, using the example of a photo of President Thomas S. Monson with his great-grandchildren.

“That’s the kind of stuff you’re getting from these accounts,” Camilo said. “It’s a lot more personal, a lot more day-to-day, than you see from the pulpit on General Conference.”

Camilo said social media isn’t “a beast,” despite containing some bad content.

“Don’t be too scared, but make sure you’re cautious with what you follow and the things that you ‘like,'” Camilo said.

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