Jonah Peretti encourages the Mormon Strategy for Viral Media

This is cool.

Mormonism got a social media shout out last Friday from Jonah Peretti, cofounder of the Huffington Post and founder of BuzzFeed.

He was speaking at the inaugural “Viral Media Meetup”, covering his history of viral success, and key strategies for viral marketers.

He began by explaining the differences in the old media model (below), where the media giants determined what we consumed.

He then explained the new media model (below), where what we consume is instead determined by our peers.
This proliferation is exacerbated by what he calls the BWN, or the “Bored at Work Network”.
He goes on to describe key strategies in creating viral media, including
  1. Viral Media Strategy
  2. The Mullet Strategy
  3. Big Seed Marketing Strategy
  4. The Maniac Strategy
  5. The Mormon Strategy

For this last one, he throws up this slide:

Then points out that while Judaism seems far more well known (or more generally liked), Mormonism is crushing it, whereas Judaism is showing flat growth (his chart only shows up till 2007, which is too bad, ’cause we were just taking off).

That’s right, Jonah Peretti’s strategy #5 for viral growth… Learn from the Mormons

His recap:
I’m happy that we’re so widely well known for our missionary work.  Evangelism, sharing the gospel, and bringing others unto Christ are core elements of the Lords true church.
It’s kinda funny that here is this social media pundit, at the first ever viral media meetup event, talking about Mormonism as one of 5 key growth strategies.
Still, he missed one critical element.  His talk (and his strategies), were on how to get a message to go viral (get people to talk about it).  But the growth of the Mormon church (check this out), requires far more than people just perpetuating a message.  It requires real commitment.
You don’t get people to give up drinking and smoking, commit them to pay 10% of their gross income in tithing, commit people to living the law of chastity, etc. by just passing along a message.  That message has to be true, it has to ring home to their very spirits.  The growth of the church speaks more about the truth of the message, then the mechanism for sharing it.
Still, our missionary work is inspirational, even to industry pundits who specialize in spreading messages.
To me, that’s cool.

Missionary work on an iPhone!

I’m always looking for ways to leverage new technology to spread the gospel, and the iPhone is creating some unique ways to do just that.

There’s an application you can download on the iTunes App Store called Graffitio.  Much like the name would suggest, Graffitio allows you create “graffiti” on “virtual walls” all around the world.

Here’s how it works. 

When you launch Graffitio on your iPhone, it uses the phones location awareness (GPS) to see exactly where you are, and then shows you all the virtual “walls” in your vicinity.  A wall is simply a location that someone has decided to make a comment about.  Usually these are restaurants, stores, parks, etc.  You can click on one of these “walls” and see what others have said about it.  For instance, if you particularly like a given restaurant, you may decide to add a small note describing your experience.  Then others in the area will be able to see your comments on that particular restaurant.  If a wall doesn’t exist for that restaurant, you simply click a button, the iPhone sees where you are, you create a name for the wall (the name of the restaurant), and add your comments.  Now others in the area will see there’s a social “wall” for that restaurant, and can add their comments to yours.

Now, here’s where the missionary work comes in.

There are countless LDS locations around the world.  Some of them are historical, while others (such as temples) are unique or significant in some other way.

My challenge is for iPhone users around the world to visit these locations, and create “walls” for them.  Then share your testimony, or brief context about that location.  Now others in the area will be able to see your walls, read your testimony or thoughts, and know why that area is significant.

It can be as simple as taking your iPhone to church (I know, don’t say it), and creating a wall for your chapel, listing meeting times, and a personal invitation to come to sacrament meeting.

By doing this, we’ll be exposing important LDS locations around the world, and adding our voice to an all new social medium.

So, go out there, and start writing your own graffiti! 

When you do create a wall, come back here and let us know about it, so that we can all watch this virtual “structure” expand across the globe!

Oh, and make sure to forward this to all iPhone wielding Mormons.



P.S.  I’ll be going to Temple Square to do my part as well, we’ll see if someone beats me to it, if so, that’s great, I’ll add my comments to yours!

P.P.S.  The image above was a quick mock-up I did, Grafffitio doesn’t yet support images, but I’m sure they will soon.

To launch iTunes and download Graffitio, click here.