Mike Matthews is an online marketing consultant based in New York City. He recorded an experience where he spoke with a Jewish co-worker about her perceptions of how he shared his faith online.
Jen is one busy lawyer. It’s clear as soon as you walk into her Midtown Manhattan office. Her desk is hidden beneath a mix of legal documents and knickknacks from her Alma Mater, Penn State. Every minute she spends with you means one minute she’s backlogged with work. But, you’d never know that. When you’re face-to-face with her, you become her priority. And, as a true New Yorker, Jen will always tell you exactly what’s on her mind. Knowing Jen would tell me the unfiltered truth, I set out one afternoon on a quest to understand how she perceived my faith. Specifically, I wanted to know how she felt about me sharing LDS religious posts on social media.
Lessons from my conversation with Jen:
1. Just by being ourselves, Mormons are sharing their faith way more than they realize.
2. Our individual callings are the most tangible link to understanding how Mormons worship.
3. A perceived disconnection between what we share online as opposed to how we act in-person will minimize our level of influence.
4. Be tolerant of other people and aware of your audience, but be proud of who you are.
5. People listen when you share your faith (intermittently) from the heart. People “un-follow” you when you include an agenda.
6. You’re likely the only trusted source in relation to misconceptions about Mormonism. Direct others to church resources (ex. #sharegoodness), but remember to personalize it.
7. As a reminder, Mormons don’t have a monopoly on faith. Request the faith of others in the form of expression, prayer or service. We’re all in this thing together.
8. In its pure form, social media is conversational. Broadcasting a conclusive statement and an interpretation of a scripture inhibits discussion (and probably offends an entire group of people).
9. Be really hard to offend and poke fun at yourself. Use humor to diffuse tension and create a more constructive discussion. There is a reason why the most influential people on the planet are humorists.
Hopefully, I’m able to judiciously implement these lessons learned from Jen in my daily approach to sharing my faith online. I’m sure I’ll now have at least one Jewish lawyer keeping tabs on my progress.