Social Media Spotlight On: The Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota

Recently, I have been wanting to work on a series of posts highlighting the efforts of United Methodist annual conferences, Episcopal dioceses, and their affiliated organizations on social media. Today, I’m happy to announce that I’m kicking off this series, with a post on the social media presences of the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota!

I have two big reasons for wanting to highlight this particular group first, namely:

  1. They’ve experienced considerable recent growth not just in the number of people reached, but in the number of platforms they use
  2. They have used their social media presences in some creative ways, including ecumenical engagement and sharing content from a variety of sources

And so I’ve been in touch with the person responsible for social media for the Diocese, Dr. Chris Corbin, who has kindly answered several questions regarding the usage of social media in the Diocese.

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Let’s Talk About Youth, Social Media, and the United Methodist and Episcopal Churches

In the wake of my analysis of UMC annual conferences and TEC dioceses, I’ve been working to compile one brand new spreadsheet (and massively update another) to collect social media data on annual conference/diocesan youth organizations across the United States. Titled “The United Methodist Church in the US – Social Media Presence (Youth)” and “The Episcopal Church in the US – Social Media Presence (Youth)” respectively, I’m hoping to draw more conclusions on how the church is communicating with youth and connecting them to youth-centric events and conference/youth campaigns.

As with my UMC annual conference and TEC diocese spreadsheets, I am tracking social media presences on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Each social network has two sheets, one based on the number of likes/followers for the account and one based on membership in the church (the latter being based on either line 16 “CF YOUTH” of each annual conference’s Table I Statistical Report for the United Methodist Church or an estimate based on a combination of the 2016 Table of Statistics and the 2014 “New FACTS” report for the Episcopal Church). Having finished with my compilation of both datasets, I would like to talk about my thoughts on the data, social media outreach, and general engagement of youth by annual conferences.

In the vein of the posts that started it all, I’ll be covering the analysis of the data itself first by denomination. After that, I’ll discuss the differences in how this data can be interpreted as compared to the annual conference/diocesan data.

Continue reading Let’s Talk About Youth, Social Media, and the United Methodist and Episcopal Churches

Why Do I Analyze Data From Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram?

One of the questions that I’ve gotten the most after my latest post is why I choose to focus on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram when talking about the best ways that annual conferences or dioceses can engage with social media. I recognize that this is a very fair question to pose, given two key points that have been given to back up the question:

  1. It can be incredibly difficult for small groups to maintain three social media presences effectively
  2. There’s a clear disparity in the percentage of users using Twitter as compared to Facebook and Instagram

So today, I’d like to explain briefly why I focus on each network, and why I don’t focus on two other key social media networks, Snapchat and Pinterest.
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Thoughts On TEC Dioceses and Their Usage of Social Media

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…
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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.

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UMTOOS and UMTracker: Where Have They Been?

If you’re reading this, you’re most likely coming from one of the UMTracker accounts that have been incredibly quiet lately, and that’s honestly just because of school. I haven’t had the time to write like I had wanted to, plus college just got incredibly busy for me. However! I do have some updates that I can share about UMTOOS and UMTracker, as well as my personal endeavors related to the United Methodist Church:

  • The UMC Conference Social Media spreadsheet just received a big update with new accounts being tracked and big shifts in numbers, and as always it can be found here
    • Related to that, I’ve significantly pared back the data I’m keeping track of for the time being, including the UMC Youth/YPM spreadsheet, until I can develop a more robust way of maintain it (including moving off of Google Sheets)
  • UMTOOS, as you can probably tell, is no more, but fear not, the content has been migrated to my personal blog, and it can be found (with other UM-related content I’ve written about) here
  • I’ve been hard at work in the Mountain Sky Area working as a Communications Intern, and you can find a blog on my work here
    • In addition to the above, I will be giving a presentation on my work in the Mountain Sky Area after the semester starts, and I will be posting more info as it becomes available
  • I recently went on a trip to Washington, DC to take part in a General Board of Church and Society UM Seminar, and my thoughts on that can be found here

If you’ve made it to this far, I do appreciate you taking the time to read all of this! As always, please feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments.

Until next time,
Jacob

Short Update, With A Lot More Data

As some of you may have noticed, I did not post anything last week, and this week’s post won’t be too terribly long. However, what I do have to share this week is my second set of social media data, which will now be publicly available starting today! Not only that, but this data focuses on a different yet very important (in my opinion) group within the United Methodist Church: the youth demographic.

The “United Methodist Church in the US – Social Media Presence (Youth)” spreadsheet is structured in the same way that my Annual Conference spreadsheet is, with conference youth accounts listed for all three major social networks. Each social network has two sheets, one based on the number of likes/followers for the account and one based on membership in the church (the latter being based on line 16 “CF YOUTH”, or an equivalent line, in every conference’s 2015 statistics). With this particular set of data, I’m hoping to draw more conclusions on how the church is communicating with youth and connecting them to youth-centric events and conference/youth campaigns in the future.

If you are interested in taking a look at this data, it can be found here. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions about it by leaving a comment below!

Until next time,
Jacob

Emoji Are 👌 For Communicating (Just Don’t Overdo It!)

Emoji: once a Japan-exclusive addition to text messaging, emoji have now become a universal method of communication that people from all generations have picked up on. These little pictures are now standard on smartphones, and they’ve even made their way onto desktops and laptops. Not only that, they’ve also become an easy way to shorthand a message without losing the original meaning (or in some cases, giving it meaning words alone couldn’t accomplish)!

So why don’t annual conferences and churches use them more often?

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A Short Update On Everything

Hello, everyone! As you may have seen, the posts have lightened up a little bit recently, due to my return to Hendrix for the Spring 2017 semester. However, I’m not letting that stop me from writing on here, and in fact, I’ve got a few updates!

  • Thanks to a new program that I’ve written (called UMTracker), I can now pull social media statistics much more efficiently, and so I’m returning to approximately fortnightly (two times a month) updates on data! In fact, I just updated the “The United Methodist Church in the US – Social Media Presence” spreadsheet for the second time this January, and for the first time using this new tool. As always, you can find it at https://goo.gl/WPFbUb.
  • I’m currently in the pre-development stages of turning my social media research into a full-fledged school project either as a Hendrix Odyssey project or senior thesis/project. This will involve a few more data sets, so stay tuned for around three new spreadsheets full of social media data coming soon!
  • I also have several post topics that I’m looking at writing about, but for now, I think I’ll be limiting myself to around a post a week so as to balance this blog with school and my other duties.

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

Until next time,
Jacob

Let’s Talk More About Websites

As I previously mentioned in my “Does Your Conference (Or Church, For That Matter) Really Need A Mobile App?” post, I am a firm proponent of “responsive” web design. However, while I did highlight some excellent examples of some websites that look great on mobile devices from the Minnesota, New Mexico, and Pacific Northwest Conferences, I didn’t really go into my thoughts on what constitutes a good conference website. Now, “good” can be defined in a number of ways, so I decided to build a front page based on the following points:

  • For newcomers, it’s informative without being technical or overwhelming
  • For church members, it’s a one-stop shop that has everything that they need
  • For clergy, it has nothing they don’t already know, but everything they need to know
  • It has style and content that makes it feel unique and inviting

Continue reading Let’s Talk More About Websites