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
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:
- It can be incredibly difficult for small groups to maintain three social media presences effectively
- 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.
Continue reading Why Do I Analyze Data From Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram?
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.
Continue reading A (Slightly) Longer New Year’s Analysis
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,
Regnat Populus: the people rule.
E Pluribus Unum: out of many, one.
This past week, I have had the amazing opportunity to be a part of a group of young adults from the Arkansas Conference who went to Washington, DC to participate in the United Methodist Seminar program sponsored by the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church. The program focused on hunger and poverty in Arkansas and across the United States, and as the Arkansas Conference is currently working on the 200,000 Reasons Initiative, it was a perfect fit for us as we learned about our own state’s statistics on poverty and food insecurity, as well as what programs and ideas have worked in the DC area, and figured out how we can bring that into the initiative.
However, it was more than that. The trip, in and of itself, was an exercise of our collective rights as citizens, an opportunity to imagine new, creative, and innovative solutions to the problems we face in our state, and an adventure into our nation’s expansive and storied capital. And while I know I can’t do the trip justice as far as describing it in detail, I will certainly give it, as they say, “the old college try.”
Continue reading Where Regnat Populus Meets E Pluribus Unum
As you may know, I have had quite the wild ride these past eight months. I went from a Computer Science student not sure of his career path to a Religious Studies student with a plan to become an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church as a communicator and technological advocate and educator, and all of this thanks, in part, to an amazing experience interning with the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church (if you haven’t read any of my writings on that experience, click here). However, as I’ve continued to grapple with that internship, as well as my personal faith development in the context of being a minister as opposed to being a layperson, I’ve come to realize that there is a lot more that I want to learn and experience when it comes to the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs of people outside of my home state and region. Plus, I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities that Hendrix affords me, such as the Odyssey program, while I still have the opportunity to. Therefore, after much discussion with Rev. J.J. Whitney, Hendrix’s chaplain, and quite a few emails, I am very excited to announce that I have been approved to conduct an Odyssey project entitled “View From the Mountain Sky: Serving and Interning in the Mountain Sky Area of the United Methodist Church”.
Continue reading View from the Mountain Sky: An Odyssey Experience
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,
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?
Continue reading Emoji Are 👌 For Communicating (Just Don’t Overdo It!)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below! I always love hearing your thoughts or what your conference is doing.
Until next time,
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