#svithe #ldsconf


If you're not following Thwitter, you're missing out, folks. Not because I tweet such interesting things, but the conversational nature of Twitter is a marvelous way to build relationships and knowledge. Dandy stuff.

Anyway, bit of background for those of you who merely observe the Mormonness of this blog with a bemused eye, but last week was the Church's semiannual General Conference (my blog notes, response to my twitter notes). For that moim we get together worldwide and leadership speaks from Salt Lake City. It's covered by a goodly number of tv and radio stations and is streamed online). Anyway, it's kind of a big deal. That's my main point.

Watching Conference and taking my notes and then being on Twitter at the same time was an unusual experience. On the one hand, all these things distracted me for the other things. On the other hand however, it was a great way to find other Saints also watching #ldsconf. (Well over 10000 tweets over the weekend.)

I had been mulling a post over the so-called Twitter Stake experience, but I got busy and didn't type anything up.

So I'm going to take my cues from Tyler and make this week's svithe a response to his blogpost on #ldsconf. (Or, more accurately, a reply he made to a comment left for him.) Specifically, he was discussing how Saints can bear (t)witness during the #ldsconf offseason:

    I don't think it needs to be anything excessive or overbearing, such that we become twitness bearing zealots. For me, as on this blog, that means not being afraid to discuss spiritual/religious matters when they come up or when I feel compelled to share some experience I've had with God. In the past, I've tried to implement a weekly svithe (a neologism combining seven and tithe) as Theric (also know as Thmazing) and others have done---and that I really should pick up again---as a means to devote one post in a week to spiritual/religious matters. Perhaps a #twitness hashtag (though I see it's already been co-opted for other purposes; let's take it for ourselves!) or some such label might encourage Mormon tweeters to do the same, to share their resolve to live and share the Gospel in real time, to be a support system for other Twitter-day Saints.

Adding a hashtag is the easier way to draw attention to a regular occurrence on Twitter and we have a few options here. One is #ldsconf although that seems necessarily limited to references back to Conference (as if that were a bad thing.

Another is #svithe which I am leery of promoting. Although I'm always happy when someone finds svithing a useful concept, promoting the concept to others seems self-promotional somehow.

The third is #twitness which has hardly been strongly used by anyone to this point --- it could certainly be repurposed. The problem I see is that bearing witness is a phrase less used by Mormons than bearing testimony (though #twestimony is kinda lame).

Anyway, I'm not promoting any particular concept, nor am I convinced the Twitter Stake had enough mass to make something like this a solid phenomenon. But I do think that Mormons (or any serious religious denomination, for that matter) should think about their presence online. And that's best done by the plebes, not the hierarchy. So it's worth discussing and experimenting with and figuring out.

That's all. Dicuss. Here or on Twitter. Remember, I'm @thmazing.

last week's svithe[tacular]



  1. You neglected to mention the pithy, on-target, sometimes even inspiring observations of @motleyvision


  2. .

    Y'gotta leave some surprises.

  3. Glad I could inspire you with my, uh, inspiring post. I knew I'd make a difference in the world by blogging somehow. (I guess no blog-sabbatical for me...)

    I was really hoping Jeff would come back and engage more deeply with the question he asks in his response to my post, the one that inspired the response you've quoted here. Maybe he was just trying to draw me out, though, to bring me back to his own discussion (though I have added his blog to my reader) and maybe he's lurking on Chasing, waiting to jump in at any time (I doubt that, though). Or maybe he got caught up in the interesting thread to his own post on #ldsconf; I mean, he's got digital evangelist Gideon Burton as an audience member there and I, after all, did get his Twitter call sign wrong at the RMMLA (apparently it's @swiftj, not @jeffswift. Oops).


    I like the idea of repurposing #twitness, but wonder if the Twitter Stake, small as it is in comparison to general Twitterdom, is still a bit too rhetorically diffuse for that to catch on. I notice some Tweeters use #LDS or #Mormon for their (t)witness bearing. I think those may be too general and the testimony bearing could get lost in other concerns. Of course, I could be wrong.

    One reason I think #ldsconf started to work so well this time is that the audience for General Conference is a ready made community and the hashtag is easily tied to the rhetorical event. And I think that's a pretty important way to get hashtags to catch on (at least from what I've been able to tell thus far in my Twitter-life)---the ease of connection between the community's real-time language and the event/issue/trend they're tweeting about.

    So, like you suggest, maybe #twitness isn't tied closely enough to the Mormonized notion of bearing testimony. But #twestimony just sounds goofy and I'm confident #travelogue or it's Twitterized cousin #twavelogue (the closer approximation to the actual Mormon practice of bearing witness) just isn't the way to go. And #svithe, awesome as the concept is, seems more appropriate for its current use of devoting one post a week to spiritual matters.

    The question for me then becomes whether or not I think it would be worth trying to tie the new hashtag to existing Twitter-day Saint rhetorics (like #ldsconf, #lds, #mormon, etc.) and whether or not there's the possibility that it could catch on. Or even that it matters that much.

    Whatever the case, I think it is worth discussing.


  4. .

    I think it would take an #ldsconf talk on tweeting to solidify anything. Because you're right: getting something appropriate to catch on will be difficult. And I certainly don't have a big enough audience to make it happen. And even those who do have a large LDS audience lack the authority to really pull anyone in line. Mormons don't cotton well to purely charismatic leadership afterall, and the People-in-Charge aren't exactly thinking about the Twitter Stake. And really, it will be more healthy and lasting if it develops organically. Which it might. We have enough mass for event-based tweeting. The next step is enough mass for a regularized rhetorical presence.

    A big blog would probably be the place to start something. By Common Consent, or T&S maybe.

  5. I agree that it would take a higher (digital) power than devolves from a small corner of Twitterdom to get a bandwagon going. And an #ldsconf talk on Tweeting or the various "sanctioned" uses of social media would surely induce a lot of "official" activity; but (at the risk of sound a bit too cynical) that's one reason I hope such a talk is never given.

    I'm sure a more regularized rhetorical presence will arise in time, esp. as more people connect through such things as #ldsconf, as dialogue is encouraged between sessions of conference, and as more Mormons develop into Twitter-day Saints as they realize that Twitter isn't just a means to share the trivial (to the tune of "Sitting on my porch eating Frosted Flakes"), but that twitter-sations can (potentially) provide meaningful dialogue and real connection.