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

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.

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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.

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Some Thoughts On UMC Annual Conferences and Their Usage of Social Media

Back in June of 2016, I made a little spreadsheet that I titled “UMC in the US – Social Media Presence“. It was a simple little spreadsheet that tracked every United Methodist annual conference and their social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, arguably the three most popular social networks in the United States (especially among the 18-29-year-old demographic), and it all stemmed from a backstage conversation at the Arkansas Annual Conference 2016 about who had the largest Facebook following in our jurisdiction (the answer was the Texas Conference, with Arkansas coming in second). Since that day, I’ve done my best to keep the statistics updated the past 6 months, adding and updating data along the way and letting everyone know about it. In doing so, and watching all of these pages and accounts, I’ve come across some interesting data and had a couple of thoughts on where things stand currently. So without further ado, here are my thoughts after 6 months of observation combined with my own personal opinions on social media.
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