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

Best Practices for Social Media Account Identification

In developing the “The United Methodist Church in the US – Social Media Presence” spreadsheet, one of the first things I had to do was find each annual conference’s social media account on either Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. However, this actually proved to be a bit of a time-consuming process (two hours, according to Google Sheets) because of the differences in social media account names and usernames across networks. So, I wanted to give a few tips and tricks on identifying your conference (or any organization, including churches) easily enough to where anyone can find you with a few quick keystrokes.

Continue reading Best Practices for Social Media Account Identification

Does Your Conference (Or Church, For That Matter) Really Need A Mobile App?

They seem to be all the rage nowadays: the mobile app. Mobiles apps exist for any and every company, service, or product you can imagine, from Netflix to the NCAA, Walmart to the Washington Post, and Bandsintown to the Bible itself. The iPhone even popularized the phrase “there’s an app for that,” which has become an answer to any question you can imagine. Need directions? “There’s an app for that.” Want to order something from *insert store here*?  “There’s an app for that.”

In keeping with that trend, annual conferences and churches have jumped aboard the mobile app train, releasing their own (often in conjunction with outside developers). By my personal (and very quick) count, close to a third (18 of 55) of all annual conferences have at least one app of some sort, and countless churches on top of that. However, I want to ask two questions about these church and conference apps that are the most important: what is the app accomplishing, and is it worth it? The short answers (in my opinion) are “nothing unique” and “no”, but let’s really look at these closely.

Continue reading Does Your Conference (Or Church, For That Matter) Really Need A Mobile App?