A lot of people had an “A-ha!” moment on Sunday. I managed to have an “Uh-oh” moment. It was at during Elder Bednar’s CES fireside as I smugly ate a quesadilla from the comfort of my sofa. As I prepared for quesadilla round two, the apostle said the following:
”Please be careful of becoming so immersed and engrossed in pixels, texting, earbuds, twittering, online social networking and potential uses of media and the Internet that you fail to recognize the importance of your physical body.”
My first thought was, “I need to tweet this.”
I imagined the hyperbolic. In my mind’s eye, the initial response for some would be to go home and immediately delete their Facebook profiles. Gone would be the useless social networking, the iPod, the Internet. Ushering in a new era, these students would be an example to all those sinners who remained on the Internet, mocking a prophet’s words to scorn.
I imagined the worst, mostly because I live a fair portion of my life on the Internet. Aside from being one of the managers of this website, I manage my own website and three others. I have a YouTube channel and several blogs. I have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. I manage my band’s music on MySpace and PureVolume. I’m an active participant in the CouchSurfing project. I have an active presence on 10 social-networking sites.
Certainly, all this evidence should confirm Elder Bednar’s prophetic warning. However, I spend less than half an hour a day (outside of my job) managing my social presence on the web. I strongly believe that if anyone on earth should have a strong web presence, it should be the members of this Church.
Elder Bednar is correct when he warns against wasting time on the Internet, but when the web is used correctly, it is arguably the most powerful tool we have in the latter days.
The Internet allows us to share our message in countries that forbid us to proselytize. Muslim nations, mainland China, India and Southeast Asia (more than half of the world population) can learn about our church in their native tongues from our website. Where missionaries cannot go, access is still granted.
I use Facebook to maintain contact with friends on four continents and in a dozen countries. I am able to keep in touch with the members I served in Ukraine, friends I made in Israel, my cousins in Korea and my brother and his wife in New Zealand. Maintaining contact with them without the aid of the Internet could cost me thousands of dollars a month (I can Skype-to-Skype video chat with them for free).
The whole purpose of this site is to promote more unity in the student body. It provides a forum for us to share our creativity, our ideas, our knowledge and our testimonies with the world. It shouldn’t be shunted and ignored, it should be utilized and explored.
We shouldn’t waste the precious resources that the we’ve been given. This includes our physical bodies, our social relationships and our spiritual lives. But this should also include using the modern technologies and means that have been provided for us. Forsaking the internet as a worldly vice would be a tragic waste.
I-Comm Online Conductor