A (Slightly) Longer New Year’s Analysis

EDIT: To see the most recent version of the data that I’ve been collecting (and reference in this post), please click here.

For around a year and a half now, I’ve been collecting social media statistics on United Methodist conferences to see the sort of outreach and growth that conferences were experiencing on social media platforms, one of the fastest growing methods of communication. Today, I’d like to briefly look back on the data for 2017.

I began collecting this data as an intern for the Arkansas Conference Center for Technology back in July of 2016, and the data fascinated me so much that I just kept on keeping track of it. It’s even factored into my own undergraduate education in college, as I hope to conduct my Senior Capstone on United Methodist communication and outreach across different mediums, specifically focusing on Gen-X and Millennials.

As I did last year, I wanted to take a moment to highlight the top 5 conferences on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in terms of growth over the past year. In 2017, United Methodist Annual Conferences/Episcopal Areas have added 3,707 followers on Instagram, 7,899 followers on Twitter, and 15,415 likes on Facebook! Here are the top 5 (in growth) conferences by social network:

Facebook

  1. Arkansas (@arkansasumc) – 1,157
  2. Louisiana (@louisianaconference) – 1,060
  3. Virginia (@vaumconf) – 701
  4. Texas (@TexasAnnualConference) – 626
  5. Holston (@HolstonConference) – 616

Twitter

  1. Memphis (@UM_MemphisConf) – 396
  2. Texas (@txumc) – 275
  3. North Georgia (@connectngumc) – 260
  4. Florida (@flumc) – 233
  5. Minnesota (@MinnesotaUMC) – 230

Instagram

  1. Memphis (@um_memphisconf) – 911
  2. North Georgia (@ngumc) – 195
  3. Holston (@thecall_holston) – 169
  4. Indiana (@inumc) – 168
  5. Mountain Sky Area (@mtnskyumc) – 140

In addition, I’d like to especially highlight all of the new social media accounts created this year, all of which were on Instagram:

Finally, I’d like to note two other points of data that I found to be particularly interesting:

  1. While total new Twitter followers increased by 66% from last year, total new Instagram followers decreased by 9% and new Facebook likes decreased by 52%.
  2. 11 out of 54 (or 20%) annual conferences/episcopal areas do not have an Instagram account, even as Instagram is very close to Facebook in terms of how engaged youth and young adults are to social media networks (as seen in the following chart):

As always, I share my thoughts and research in the hopes that this ends up being of some benefit to someone, and as always I appreciate any comments or questions. Please feel free to contact me at sayhi@jacobturner.me, or leave a comment below! I always love hearing your thoughts or what your conference is doing.

Until next time,
Jacob

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