As noted by Geoff at New Cool Thang, the Newsroom at LDS.org highlighted a recent talk by Elder Ballard encouraging graduating LDS students at BYU-Hawaii to participate in online conversations about the LDS Church. Here's the actual passage from Elder Ballard's talk:
Now, to you who are graduating today, along with the other students at this wonderful university, may I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet, particularly the New Media, to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration. Most of you already know that if you have access to the Internet you can start a blog in minutes and begin sharing what you know to be true.
The whole talk is a must-read. It seems to reflect the good work that the LDS tech department has done beefing up the LDS.org site, especially the Newsroom, and in educating senior leaders about what can be done with new technology. It also shows that senior LDS leaders now have an appreciation for the power of "the New Media" to spread news and information, as well as propaganda and misinformation. And the prevalence of the latter (misinformation) related to the LDS Church is the basis Elder Ballard gave for encouraging LDS students (and, by extension, any member of the Church) to do their part in spreading accurate information about the Church through blogging, commenting at media sites when LDS topics are discussed, posting links to various LDS videos or features, etc. And let me tell you, folks, in a Church where one can make a serious argument that Correlation (the "no, you can't say that" people) is the strongest quorum of the Church, this vote of confidence in the rank-and-file membership of the Church is a real step forward. Elder Ballard might have titled his talk "Power to the People."
Also mentioned in the talk was the realization that interviews, speeches, and responses to journalists have much greater exposure and impact given online media sites and blogs. Elder Ballard gave the example of a six-second quote from a one-hour interview that made the evening news, but a 15-minute excerpt from the interview was posted at the network's website (and it still there). It's a Brave New Media World out there. Public relations for any organization is a lot tricker than it ever was, and for the Church -- with way too many folks who think their calling in life is to spread misinformation about the Church -- it is orders of magnitude more challenging.Sixteen Small Stones.