How a ward communicates

Recently heard in a ward council meeting:

‘I know more about ward members from their Facebook pages than I do from home teachers or visiting teachers.’

Is that a bad thing?

Bookmark How a ward communicates


  1. It is true, I learn lots of important things about my church brothers and sisters from their Facebook status updates. I’ve already passed on the following info to my bishop:
    –Paul is tired and going to bed.
    –JoEllen’s bread didn’t raise very well today.
    –Lori is off to be cross guard for the school.
    –Jeff is excited that its hump day Wednesday. w00!.
    –Robert hopes BYU will bring their game in the 1st half this time.

  2. Totally agree. I learn about pregnancies and births, for example, on Facebook before I do from ward council.

  3. Left Field says:

    I’m new to this Facebook thing, and I only have three ward members (including my wife) as friends. However, I did make it a point to block the Ward Busybody from having anything to do with me.

  4. Peter LLC says:

    What’s ward council meeting?

  5. In a certain sense, I see more of the personality of the members of my ward from their Facebook status updates and uploaded photos.

    The purpose of ward council isn’t to peruse ward members’ newest digital photos, although that would be a huge improvement on its current content.

    But at the same time, if you are actively talking to people in your ward, i.e. trying to be social, going out of your way to talk to them, etc. (I am not good at this) then you are bound to find out more about their thoughts and feelings than from Facebook.

    Facebook, as with all social networking sites, provides people with a platform to put their best face forward to the world. Of course, some people will be posting about the nitty-gritty of their problems there, but I don’t think that is the most common use of such media. Home and visiting teaching — if done properly, i.e. with an attitude of real care for the home or visiting teaching families rather than with a focus of simply leaving a lesson to tick a box — provides far more potential to learn about and help people than reading Facebook status updates.

  6. Ward communication through the veritable High Council Sermons possible through Facebook is sooOOOooo 2008.

    In our ward we like the deep truths that can only be discovered by simmering them down to 140 characters. Twitter will make the ward bulletin and welfare meeting obsolete.

  7. willswords says:

    Seriously though, I recently posted (on facebook) a question about some car problems I was having and almost immediately got some helpful advice from someone I knew on my mission and from a couple of high school friends.
    Is there a way to do that as easy with my ward family? Well maybe on Sunday, but that seems kind of like a trivial thing to bring up during meetings. On any other day? Nope.
    In my opinion the Ward website should be more than something you use to look up phone numbers.

  8. willswords says:

    I’m sure someone might be saying after my last post, “well there is a calendar on the ward website as well,” but in my experience over the last 3 wards I’ve lived in, the calendar rarely reflects reality, probably because it is only editable by a very select few who don’t have time to keep it current.

  9. More info from Facebook? Not surprised. It’s just another example of how home teaching and visiting teaching are failed programs. Time for something new.

  10. That’s really funny – and true! The RS Pres in my ward LOVES facebook for that very reason – she knows what is going on as soon as it happens (babies born, life events, etc)

    I see the point about how people aren’t going to bare their soul and admit their issues on Facebook – BUT, I see that Facebook “breaks the ice.” How many of us really tell HT/VT our deepest darkest issues anyway? If we become better friends with them, would that change? I guess I don’t see FB as a bad thing when it comes to ward communication.

  11. We have a ward group on FB with almost 50 members–more than show up to GD some weeks :-) However helpful it is, it is also disconcerting to have an endowed ward member change her profile pic to one in a sleeveless dress. But I agree, it’s been very informative!

  12. I do not know about a ward, but I am sure learning a lot abut my teen. I read his and his friends. It has been very enlightening in a good way.

  13. As soon as you’ve got ward members on Facebook, it’s jumped the shark.

  14. Haha, Susan! Yes, a very nice older lady from my ward invited me to check out her profile. I feel really guilty I haven’t friended her.

  15. Katie M. says:

    Very funny Susan. It’s been interesting to watch Facebook suddenly explode into a thing to do for middle-aged folks. At 28, I remember when I joined I felt a little older for it. But the times, they are changin. The other night there were all these older moms at the gym gabbing about how you have to get on Facebook and when my friend’s mom starting chatting with me through it I was tinkled pink. But I think I knew Facebook jumped the shark when NPR’s Diane Rehm asked readers to join her on Facebook. I will Diane, I will!

    But in seriousness I think it’s great for all ages to get in on the Facebook fun. The only problem is when older women at church, the judgmental busybody types “friend” you. I’ve tried to make it a policy of only “friending” people who are actually, well, friends as opposed to people I see at church but have never had an actual conversation with. But I ignored one of the above types at church and she actually sent me a message something to the effect of, “I see you haven’t approved my friend request. Must be an oversight.” Yikes! Holy passiveness aggressiveness. She now shoots me with cold laser eyes at church. Ah, the pitfalls of socializing on Facebook.

  16. Katie M. says:

    make that, “I felt a little “old” for it.”

  17. Our ward seems quite hip on blogging. I wonder how many ward members are aware that their blog can be accessible by commenting on others’ blogs. I’m not sure my RS pres is aware of that. I find it a little humorous that she writes as if she’s only addressing her immediate family members and yet. If she knew that average ward member could read her blog would she continue to talk about how “close to the spirit she is” or discuss private ward circumstances online?

    Or is blogging something like the FB Wall application – a sort of voyeuristic instant messaging?

  18. I don’t know any ward members who are on Facebook (though my wife and I are, mostly to keep in touch with our extended family). On the other hand, our PEC and ward council meetings are primarily focused on the ward membership (we maintain a running ‘prayer list’ that at this point includes a sizable fraction of the ward). ..bruce..

  19. The members of our BYU ward were a bit surprised when out bishopric told us to get Facebook because they would use the group function to keep in touch with us. I personally thought that was hilarious, but really smart. And while there are those who, despite being children of the 90’s, objected to the use of Facebook (it’s a tool of Satan, that’s what my mom said!), our entire ward is officially on there, and we’re right where they can see us. But more importantly, it’s where we can see them. What better thing to teach the youth than that their bishopric is accessible?

  20. berzerkcarrottop says:

    #7 willswords – Our ward has an email group (one for RS, one for EQ, one for HP) where we post questions like that, remind people about activities, send out meal requests for families, etc. Our RS one is on Yahoo but the EQ and HP groups are on Google.

  21. Our bishop is on Facebook, as is one of his counselors (and all three bishopric members’ wives). The clerks are on Facebook. The Boy and Cub scouting people are. The RS presidency is, as is EQ and HP.

    We have specialized email lists as well for different subgroups. We do announcements and reporting over email and

    In fact, we haven’t printed a directory in over a year. For the 2 families without email, their HTs print the directory for them.

    Look – you reach out in the way people want to be reached out to.

  22. Katie M, what does “tinkled pink” mean, exactly? Sounds like a side effect for an estrogen-replacement therapy.

  23. It’s a bad thing only if the end purpose of home teaching and visiting teaching is to gather data about the members.

    Facebook does excel at gathering raw information, but until it can also show love, serve its fellow members, bless those in need, and be an active agent in creating Zion, then it will remain nothing more than a tool in the hands of the faithful.

    In short, no – this is not a bad thing. If anything, it’s good.

  24. I recently accepted a friend request from a ward member I don’t talk to very much, thinking as usual that no harm could come from it–but about a week later, I am THIS CLOSE to de-friending her. In this respect Facebook has not been good for my casual relationships.

    This is totally why I blog anonymously.

  25. For better or for worse, it’s what I use all the time in my own calling. Part of my calling is to locate “lost sheep” in our ridiculously huge ward–because we have a massive stack of records for which the addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses have been found to be inaccurate. Between Facebook and MySpace alone, I’ve been able to find and update probably 70% of these.

  26. Staying in touching using all available resources is not a bad thing.

    Love this conversation since it is obvious that wards and stakes everywhere use Facebook.

    I have ignored friend requests from ward members with whom I would not like an in person visit or whom I don’t really know. Just as I don’t like felling like I’m a number at the end of the month, I don’t want to be a numbered friend on their Facebook either.

  27. I can see FB’s benefits but I quit it after about two months. I thought it was silly with all the one-liners. Who cares about most of it. And Willswords? I think the website for wards is ……. less than interesting. The ONLY thing I use it for is phone numbers. The rest is boring or not up to date … etc. Same thing for the Stake site.

  28. I was forced into Facebook by the student wards at Texas A&M. There was no way to be in tune to the activities of the wards or Institute without Facebook. It replaced the official ward webpage which is no more than a phone book.

    I remember reading that Ebay was trying to come up with its own version of PayPal and the Ebay users forced them to acquire PayPal. Not that the Church has any use for acquiring Facebook, but Facebook is the standard for communicating with groups. I don’t see how the Church could compete with Facebook with its own system.

    I think Facebook is valuable so don’t fight it.