Friday, August 22, 2014

My Full Interview for the LDS Single Friends

The Mormon YSA Blog Spot collaborates with The LDS Single Friends Facebook page, and Malcolm Hong wanted me to answer these questions in order for his audience to know where I came from.

1. What inspired you to come up with the Mormon Young Single Adult (YSA) Blog Spot?

    The Mormon Young Single Adult YSA Blog Spot was a vision that I acted upon after completing a journal. My original blog was too time consuming, so I decided to do this blog. My blog in the blog spot is and isn't an exemplary blog for the people that joined me. I publish my journal entries. Writing my journal digitally makes it very convenient. A lot of people keep journal writing private, but who are they writing for? They are writing for friends and family to get to know them. My personal blog is an example of an original cause. It is to advocate journal writing. My personal blog is not an example because it is not a model to follow. No writing style should be an template for people to follow. I want people to come up with a blog as original as mine, and publish with me. My blog is the first of the blog spot, and people felt deceived at first because my blog title was too broad. I needed to tell them that I am recruiting bloggers to join me. 

     A few life experiences inspired me to establish the Mormon YSA Blog Spot. I have been led to promote many people through social media, and these opportunities led me to organize it. The blog spot promotes blogs and individuals. My little brother's mission was my first opportunity, publicizing his letters, and I am currently running a blog of a dear sister missionary friend. I became used to copying and pasting their content into blogger; although, I don't copy and paste articles of blogs to the blog spot. When I began it, many bloggers, joining me, found it inconvenient to access the blogger website, so I let them send me their articles personally; then, I would publish their articles for them. Some people thought that a blog can only have one author, so people with easy access to the Internet sent me their compositions; however, I believe in self reliance, adding many people as authors to the blog spot. This let them to post whenever they wanted. 

A couple other websites inspired the Mormon YSA Blog Spot too. I have also written for a website where many bloggers use the same website. The Mormon mommy blog site was hosted on the Mormon Channel, and that inspired it too.

2. How have your personal experiences as a Mormon single adult prepared you to manage the blog spot? 

     First hand experiences, managing my brother's mission blog, promoting a friend in her life goals, and seeking to bring the blogging content to its audience are main experiences that led me to manage the Mormon YSA Blog Spot. I will write about these three experiences. 
     Running my little brother's mission blog, I ran quickly into criticism because I wrote my perspective on the content. This also reflected family relations, so I learned not to be a host, putting my spin on things. First hand experiences like this crafted my skills in social media. Once a blogger, you instantly become a public figure, so you need to understand that facing the world is more immediate. 
     I served my mission in Jamaica, and a random Jamaican Mormon girl added me on Facebook, looking for friends. Our friendship gave me one of my first experiences representing an identity successfully. This Jamaican girl is named Dadrie, and she wanted to be a music pop star. I knew that it doesn't take that much effort to be a musician in Jamaica, so we decided to work on this. I also knew that the fashion industry has close relations with the music industry. Dadrie's sister spontaneously recorded her singing because she was a little shy, but I shared this video with a friend of mine that trained models for a living. She contacted a producer, and he wanted to make a song with Dadrie. I was her manager for her music career. I was negotiating with the producer, and I practiced my passion for communication with him to have good relations and professional conversation. She could have produced a song with an award winning composer, but Dadrie let school and a mission get in the way. She was never able to produce the song. Communication is important especially in social media because it is so easy to be misunderstood when writing. This professionalism in communicating was a necessary skill in developing and talking to so many people about the Mormon YSA Blog Spot. 
     Lastly, the responsibility to run the blog for a sister from my home stake was given to me because the promoter of the blog was not reaching the audience of the letters home. The sister missionary is named Joanna. After about 6 months into her mission, I found out that the person, running her blog was merely tagging Joanna in her Facebook statuses, when her letters were published. The original person running the blog is named Krista. The audience was only Krista's friends, and Joanna and her mutual friends on Facebook. I was one of Joanna's closest friends, and I was not seeing her blog articles advertised. If I was not part of the audience, the audience of her blog was not being reached. I approached Krista, and I asked if I can work the social network to bring the articles to its audience. I set up a Facebook page for her blog, and I found out, if I tag Joanna as the page all of her friends will see the pictures that she sends home. I figured out a way to reach all of her friends, the stake, and our singles' branch. After a while, the person, running the website, could no longer do it, so I was given responsibility to format the blog posts and advertising. 
     The promotion of individuals; the development of skills, representing people; and understanding and reaching the audience has given and led me to opportunities. Some are self-made like the Mormon YSA Blog Spot.

3. As you’ve managed your blog spot, what blog posts have you found particularly insightful or inspiring?

     Blog posts, where I collaborate with the bloggers of the Mormon YSA Blog Spot, are insightful. We have writers from all over the world. These articles are usually inspired by conversations, discussing real life situations. "You know what great things i witnessed last sunday?" by Camille Ramos was a conversation that I had with her, and she told this story to me. Camille is from the Philippines. (http://mormonysa.blogspot.com/2014/02/you-know-what-great-things-i-witnessed.html
     One article that I published recently was with a sister named Lesego Mholo. We were talking, and she spoke of comforting and sustaining the young women in her calling responsibilities. She expressed so much love with deep description. I wanted to merely publish our conversation, but the writers of the Mormon YSA Blog Spot are so anxiously engaged in a good cause that she committed to compose an article with her extensive comprehension of love. She is from South Africa, and her first draft was incomprehensible. Serving my mission in Jamaica, I was surprised that the broken English of both countries are very similar. I don't really edit the articles of bloggers in the blog spot because that is their job, but I am not going to publish an article that cannot be understood. I had her do a second draft. Since Lesego never got back to me, I asked her one Sunday what she meant in the first draft, going through each sentence. After about an hour, we had a comprehensible article on love. This article is called "happy is he who can discover the causes of things in old latin." Here is the link. (http://mormonysa.blogspot.com/2014/05/happy-is-he-who-can-discover-causes-of.html)

4. Mormons are no strangers to blogging, but generally speaking, there are relatively few Mormon blogs written by Mormon single adults. Do you have an opinion on why there are relatively few Mormon single adult bloggers, and do you feel this is a missed opportunity?

     I would not say that there are relatively few single adult bloggers. This is why I organized the Mormon YSA Blog Spot. The Mormon mother blogs are very organized, but we are not. We are singles, a bunch of individuals with powerful testimonies. This is why I knew that my idea would succeed. I remember one person on Facebook, commenting that my idea would fail. I knew that it could not fail because many single adults are blogging. They are always looking to widen their audience, and I give them another tool for publicizing their articles. I want the blog spot to be a reflection of the single adults around the world, so I don't leave out the blogger's articles that someone might think is inappropriate. This also is important for the culture of the blog spot. If I share only preferred articles, I am showing judgment and intolerance. I can't do this with my bloggers especially, if I want to build a community and original content. Learning to tolerate people is important for community. If people don't feel like they can fit in, they look for fellowship and acceptance in other places. 
     A blog is the person's personal ministry and life. Their example should not be preachy. A Brigham Young University - Idaho graduation speech by Elder M. Russell Ballard called "Making Your Influence Felt" taught that we should let our-true-selves be expressed. (http://www2.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Graduation/2008_04_11_Ballard.htm) If you love dancing, do a dancing blog. If you are an avid movie guy, you can critic movies. BTW Those posts are popular. There is so much talent in the world, and it should not be hidden and lost. Our passions no matter what they are will be a great witness that the Gospel has been restored. Don't hid your testimony. I recently listened to a talk by Russell M. Nelson, and he encouraged us to let our faith show. Your example is not about the words that you say, but how you live the Gospel. You don't even need to be good at writing. People will see your effort and example, and they will bear with you.

5. In your opinion, how do Mormon single adult bloggers bring a unique perspective to the Mormon blogosphere and why is their contribution so valuable?

     Single adult bloggers bring an unique perspective to the Mormon blogosphere because we have an ability to pursue our passions more directly. Usually married people put their family first. The many different lifestyles makes the blogs very diverse. I never read a mommy blog, but I would imagine that they all have a similar theme.

6. You mentioned that you created the Mormon Young Single Adult (YSA) Blog Spot because united individual Mormon single adult bloggers can stand as a more powerful witness of the gospel. As Mormon single adults, how can we better support each other to create unity and build Zion in our local communities?  

     One thing that I realized in my social media experience is that content creates a community. Content in this circumstance is a consistent feed of links, pictures, or conversations in a network. I mentioned this revelation to a social media specialist. I don't know if I made a difference, but I saw that the stake and branch group pages started to thrive because I added Joanna's blog posts there, and other people added content. I made a group one time for my family, and there was no community because the content was not consistent. Communities can be made online, but how can we build Zion? Zion is not our social media pages. 
     Zion are our homes; although, we are single. Social media gives a means of communication. Communication is very important to Zion, coordinating with each other, listening to each other, serving each other, etc. I would encourage you to develop the character inside to be a witness of Christ through repentance, so you can be worthy of the Gift of the Holy Ghost, having a pure intent to serve, the tongue of angels, to mourn with the comfortless that need to be heard and strengthened , the pure love of Christ, and the character to be a trusted representative of Christ. Blogging and journal writing can be a tool of expression, developing integrity, and winning trust because people feel like they need to live up to their word. Being unknown to your peers, family, and friends can let mysterious hidden things happen, if we are not open enough to communicate. Closing off yourself destroys families, friendships, and communities. Let us work together in unity and humility to employ all effective means of communication to coordinating Zion, the pure in heart.

7. What is your vision for the Mormon Young Single Adult Blog Spot and how do you hope to make a positive impact in the Mormon YSA community?

     My vision is for as many single adult bloggers that would like to join us to add their content to the blog spot. I don't call MormonYSA.blogspot.com a blog, but I call it a blog spot for many people's blog. If you want to add your content to the blog spot, but you want maintain to promoting your personal blog, that is fine. I will promote your articles separately as part of the blog spot. I hope that the bloggers of the Mormon YSA Blog Spot will promote their articles in the blog spot as if it were their own personal blog. 
     I ran into many people that did not have good internet access, but they still wanted to blog. You can still join by sending your articles in a message to the Mormon YSA Blog Spot page, and I will publish it for you. I can also add you as an author, if you would like to write for the Mormon YSA Blog Spot. Don't worry about the Y, if you are too old. We have single adult bloggers, sharing their content with us. 
     Many of the bloggers of the Mormon YSA Blog Spot are inactive, so most of the articles shared on the page are not from MormonYSA.blogspot.com. Their inactivity is my fault, and that is a long story. I have 31 blogs that I follow, sharing their new articles. This is my back up plan for the blog spot at this time. I hope to rebuild the blog spot. This new partnership with LDS Single Friends is inspiring.

How do you hope to make a positive impact in the Mormon YSA community?

    There are many ways to use blogging to serve each other. I have never had the life experience of losing a loved one, but a few of my bloggers have. I have shared the articles on the subject of death to a friend, who lost a loved one, so they can be comforted more quickly. 
    Blogs are a part of communities. I can't explain all the positive impacts of blogs on the community. In general, it strengthens the faith of the readers.

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