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.

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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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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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