A couple of years ago, I wrote a post called Some Thoughts On UMC Annual Conferences and Their Usage of Social Media, in which I analyzed a data set that I had been collecting that I called “UMC in the US – Social Media Presence“. Well, at one point, I had the idea that I was going to create a project at Hendrix for both my major and minor that analyzed both UMC annual conferences and Episcopal Church dioceses and did some comparisons and such on the resulting collection of data. However, while I started the Episcopal spreadsheet, I wasn’t able to get the project off the ground, and so I only continued to update the UMC spreadsheet (haphazardly, I will admit). However, I recently revisited the TEC spreadsheet after an email conversation I had with an Episcopalian communicator, and now having just updated the data tonight, I thought I would revisit that UMC post, and a couple of posts that I wrote for UMTOOS, and apply that analysis to the diocesan spreadsheet. So, without further ado…
My Thoughts on The Data
- Every diocese has a Facebook page, and around 90% have a Twitter account, but only a little over 50% have an Instagram account.
I am an absolute firm believer in the idea that every group that uses social media should have an account on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and religious groups are no exception. However, I’ve noticed that in the data, dioceses have not been adopting Instagram in the same way that they have with Facebook and Twitter (which is understandable in a way since Instagram is a “newer” social network). However, as of 2018, the percentage of all online youth and young adults (18-29) using Instagram has gone up to 64% from 60% two years ago (with usage topping 71% with 18-24 year old people alone)1, showing that it’s a key social network to use if dioceses are wanting to target youth and young adults in their communications.
- The average time since the last post on Facebook pages is approximately 22 days, on Twitter accounts it’s approximately 149 days, and on Instagram accounts it’s a staggering approximately 196 days (all data based on last posts as of 03/04/2018 7:00 pm CST). Not only that, but there are quite a few accounts that have not been updated in months or even years, or even used at all.
Something that I noticed when I was refreshing the diocesan data recently is how long it had been since several of them had been updated, especially in comparison to how frequently social media users use their respective networks. As of 2018, here’s how frequently people visit the social networks I track1:
- 74% of all Facebook users visit on a daily basis (51% visiting several times a day)
- 46% of all Twitter users visit on a daily basis (26% visiting several times a day)
- 60% of all Instagram users visit daily (38% visiting several times a day)
With average times since the last post being in the tens or even hundreds of days, that ends up being a lot of missed opportunities daily to connect not just with existing members, but anyone you might connect with by using a shared hashtag or tagged person. Not only that, but people won’t want to connect with a page or account if it looks like no one maintains it, or worse, they may stop “liking” or “following” it in an attempt to clean up their feeds.
- Only around 25% of dioceses use the same username on social media for their accounts, and 36% of dioceses use different usernames for every account.
As I wrote about in my Best Practices for Social Media Account Identification post (which I think applies very well to dioceses in additional for the annual conference model for which it was written), I think it’s a very important thing to keep your usernames consistent across social media, as it makes it a lot easier for people to find you on there. As I did in that post, I’d like to list all of the dioceses that use the same username on all of the social media networks that they have accounts/pages for:
- Arizona: @azdiocese
- Central Florida: @cfdiocese
- Central Gulf Coast: @diocgc
- Central Pennsylvania: @diocesecpa
- Eastern Michigan: @dioeastmich
- Fort Worth: @diofw
- Lexington: @diolexky
- Los Angeles: @ladiocese
- Maine: @episcopalmaine
- Massachusetts: @diomass
- New Hampshire: @nhepiscopal
- New Jersey: @dioceseofnj
- New York: @episcopalny
- Newark: @dionewark
- Northern California: @norcalepiscopal
- Northwestern Pennsylvania: @dionwpa
- Oregon: @epdiooregon
- Rhode Island: @episcopalri
- Southern Virginia: @diosova
- Spokane: @spokanediocese
- Texas: @texasdiocese
- Utah: @episcopalutah
- West Missouri: @diowestmo
- West Texas: @diocesewesttx
- Western New York: @episcopalwny
While this analysis is fairly brief, I think it highlights several major data points to take note of. However, before I close, I do want to point again to the “Other Thoughts” section of my “Some Thoughts On UMC Annual Conferences and Their Usage of Social Media” post I mentioned earlier, as I feel that section of the post has points with just as much applicability here as it did back then: “Post often, post everywhere,” “Engage with your followers, old and new,” “Cross-post to and from your local churches,” “Engage your youth/young adults,” “Branding is a very important element of social media,” “Get everybody you know on-board,” and “Never hesitate to try ‘new, new ways’ to tell the ‘old, old story’.”
With that, there are my thoughts on how United States dioceses in the Episcopal Church use social media. I hope this ends up being of some benefit to someone, and as always I appreciate any comments or questions.
Until next time,
1 Social Media Use in 2018. Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center. 1 March 2018. Accessed 4 March 2018. <http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018>.