This weekend, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held its 183rd General Conference where members of the church listened to the church's leaders. The first General Conference of the church was held in 1830 in a cabin in upstate New York with only a handful of members attending.
This year, millions of members of the LDS Church watched and listened to General Conference live on television and radio from around the world with an increasingly large number of members also watching Conference live-streamed over the Internet.
Additionally, hundreds of thousands are enhancing their General Conference experience with second-screens using mobile apps, websites and social media such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
In October 2012, according to the church's Newsroom, during the last General Conference, more than 50,000 tweets appeared on Twitter with the hashtag #LDSConf, which is displayed periodically on-screen during the General Conference broadcasts and online streams. According to Omniture data, more than 400,000 individuals read General Conference related stories on the DeseretNews.com website. And according to Ooyala, KSL's streaming video platform, more than 4,000 hours of the April 2013 sessions of General Conference have been watched online via KSL.com through Sunday morning.
As organic and spontaneous as Internet trends may seem, these patterns are not arbitrary. The LDS Church has made the Internet a major priority, both as a resource for its members and as a method of sharing the gospel. In addition to its website, LDS.org, the church has dozens of other web properties such as Mormon.org, its YouTube channels with combined subscribers of more than 230,000, its official Facebook page (695,085 likes), the Mormon.org Facebook page (1,524,128 likes) and the Church's official Twitter account (53,291 followers).
The LDS Church's Internet presence allows them to easily and quickly reach a wide audience in a matter of moments. In January, the church moved its entire Sunday School, Young Women's and Aaronic Priesthood curriculum online for easier distribution to its nearly 29,000 congregations worldwide and to make multimedia resources easier to access from connected chapels.
This spring, they used all their web properties to blanket the internet with an invitation to members and non-members alike to tune into General Conference.
Come Listen to Living Prophets
This clip — aimed at helping non-Mormons who might wonder why General Conference is so important to followers of the LDS faith — was posted to the Mormon Channel's YouTube channel in mid-March and has had 12,628 views. One commenter expressed appreciation for the reminder, "This is so awesome! I am so excited for what our prophets will have to say at this General Conference! Thank you for posting this! :D"
Additionally, for those who want to share talks or view them post-conference, each talk is made available almost instantly on the church's General Conference YouTube channel.
Facebook & Google
The Church's profile picture on its official Facebook page has been aimed at General Conference for the past week.
The same video shown on The Mormon Channel's YouTube channel, "Come Listen to Living Prophets," was promoted on the Church's Facebook page prior to the start of General Conference where it was liked 5,693 times and generated 120 comments.
The infographic available at the top of this story was shared on the Church's Facebook page 2,397 times. Furthermore, along with previously created infographics, it has been distributed to numerous news organizations, bloggers and individuals whose posts have generated 233,000 results for the term "General Conference Infographic," according to Google.
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