Mormons and Mormonism are all over the news lately, from last year’s Jimmermania, to Mitt Romney’s lead in the Republican primaries of this year. Add to that The Book of Mormon Musical‘s attention and awards, and the rising popularity (outside of the Church) of segments of the Bloggernacle like Mormon Mommy Blogs, and you have something of a perfect storm. Almost nobody has not heard about Mormons of late.
If you’ve spent much time exploring “all things Mormon” on the ‘net, you’ve probably noticed there are tons of blogs to follow, forums of all shapes and sizes, and even plenty of outlets that encourage cynicism over faith. In all this, where does one go to do things like promote their blog to the LDS community, get a question answered, or just participate in faith-based discussions regarding doctrine, our faith, and our role in the world?
Well there’s a new best answer to those questions: ZionList.com
What Is It?
ZionList is much like reddit, but created by Jeff Cook, and built especially for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If you’re not familiar with reddit, it’s basically like a forum where somebody starts a conversation by asking a question or posting something informative. It departs from the traditional forum or mailing list, in that you can then vote on a topic (much like a Facebook “like”) to promote it, even if you don’t participate in the conversation. Also, the initial post might not be original, just a link to an article or something others may find interesting. So it takes on a social aspect, where people can submit interesting articles they’ve read (or written). If other people like it, they can discuss it there, and vote it up so others see it as well.
How To Use ZionList
You can use it lots of ways, but here’s a few quick suggestions:
- See the latest news regarding Mormons and Mormonism
- Find great articles on doctrine, Church History, how-to do your calling, & more
- Share a great article you read, or a post from your own (LDS-themed) blog
- Share an article or something you’d like feedback on
- Vote up articles you like, so others will see and read them
- Ask a question: doctrinal, how to accomplish something related to your calling, or about every day life as a Latter-Day Saint
- Discuss topics that interest you with others
- Lear from other’s about various topics being shared
Just head over to ZionList.com and setup an account, or use your Twitter account by clicking the button. From there you can submit a link using the large link on the right, or ask a question, etc by using the same link. Or just read through articles/questions others have submitted and vote up those you like, while voting down those you dislike.
Understand though the language of “+1” and “-1” is a little different here than say Facebook: if somebody submits an article with an obvious anti-Mormon bent, they’re probably wondering if others were as bothered by it as themselves. So a “-1” shows sympathy, not “get out of here and don’t submit links ever again!”
There are also social-sharing buttons available. Just copy/paste the appropriate code into your blog’s sidebar, or wherever you want the button to appear. Then visitors merely need to click that button to submit the current page to ZionList! It makes it very easy. We hope to have this added to MLH soon (along with a working Pinterest button).
Rough Around the Edges
Jeff put this together out of a desire for something like reddit, but where there was more control and input by believing Saints. The idea is that it be free of anti-Mormons trying to break the faith of others. Because it’s new, it’s a little rough around the edges. For example if you click a title, and there’s no message there, click the title again to go to the linked article. And as mentioned above, you use the “Submit a Link!” link to write original content as well, which may not have a link.
Jeff promises that updates are coming. He wants it to be super easy, friendly and helpful for everyone in the LDS community. Wisely he’d like to see it get used more, before putting too much into it. It’s fully functioning, just a little rough in spots. So jump in, participate, submit your own latest posts or stuff you’ve read, vote, and share ZionList with your friends. At this point ZionList is young and new, so you could have a large impact on helping shape it, if you become a meaningful part of the community now. Learn more about Jeff’s vision for ZionList on this thread.
UPDATE: Open Source
Jeff reminded me that the codebase for Zionlist is open source. It can be found at https://github.com/sjuxax/raggregate. Anyone can use it to build a similar site, or contribute code to ZionList.
What do you think of ZionList? What improvements would you like to see? I’ll make sure Jeff sees your ideas, suggestions and questions so he can respond.