Fascinating to read this article on how teenagers are abandoning Facebook and Twitter for more intimate social media apps – it’s certainly something I’ve been seeing a lot more of over the last few months in our youth work:
When my digital media students are sitting, waiting for class to start, and staring at their phones, they are not checking Facebook. They’re not checking Instagram or Pinterest or Twitter. No, they’re catching up on the news of the day by checking out their friends’ Stories on Snapchat, chatting in Facebook Messenger or checking in with their friends in a group text. If the time drags, they might switch to Instagram to see what the brands they love are posting, or check in with Twitter for a laugh at some celebrity tweets. But, they tell me, most of the time they eschew the public square of social media for more intimate options.
For example, in a study published in August last year, the Pew Research Center reported that 49% of smartphone owners between 18 and 29 use messaging apps like Kik, Whatsapp, or iMessage, and 41% use apps that automatically delete sent messages, like Snapchat. For context, note that according to another Pew study, only 37% of people in that age range use Pinterest, only 22% use LinkedIn, and only 32% use Twitter. Messaging clearly trumps these more publicly accessible forms of social media.
Well worth having a read and reflecting on how you communicate with young people.
Millennials average 9 selfies per week, spending an average of seven minutes perfecting each one before posting. That’s adds up to about 54 hours per year spent on taking & posting selfies according to this report in the International Business Times:
A recent survey from Luster Premium White, a teeth whitening brand based in Boston, calculated that the average millennial could take up to about 25,700 selfies in his or her lifetime. Ninety-five percent of young adults admitted to having taken at least one such picture of themselves.
Millennials, usually defined as people between the ages of 18 and 34, have proven particularly drawn to selfies. More than half of young adults have posted a selfie to a social media website, compared to 24 percent of Generation X-ers and 9 percent of Baby Boomers, Pew Research Center discovered last March.
Respondents to the Luster survey said they took an average of nine selfies a week and put the average amount of time needed at seven minutes. That adds up to about 54 hours a year of taking selfies, according to the survey, which included responses from 1,000 young adults.
That may sound shocking, but high numbers like those aren’t unheard of. The average 16- to 25-year-old woman spent 16 minutes taking an average of three selfies per day, or five hours a week, according to Beauty site FeelUnique, which commissioned a study earlier this year, Refinery29 reported.
Despite these figures, only 10 percent of respondents told Luster they were addicted to taking selfies.
Many of us use social media, but these days if you want people to engage it is so important that you make sure your posts are the optimal length.
Check out this infographic from Buffer to help you know what is the optimal length for not just social media updates but also for hashtags, blog posts and titles, and even subject lines for emails.
I’ve seen a couple of ‘Missing Child’ posts on Facebook this week and I wanted to explain why I won’t be sharing them. They are always heart wrenching pleas for help. Some of them, I have no doubt, are genuine. I know this as a quick search on Google and I find that the police are also concerned for their whereabouts and are actively searching for them with the support of authorised charities and agencies. However, there are some that are not what they seem*.
Some are simply a hoax and some of them are not ‘missing’ at all. The child may have been adopted due to the risk of significant harm; they may be in hiding with their other parent as a result of serious domestic violence within the home; or the whole family may be in police protection and the concerned ‘father’ is not who he claims to be. Furthermore, ‘missing adults’ may wish for their location to remain anonymous, and they do have that right which we must respect. As virtual strangers we do not know the circumstances of their ‘disappearance’ and we should trust in the expertise of professionals to get the full picture.
In my current role we will share posts from Hampshire Constabulary but we haven’t shared other posts until we can verify the information for exactly the reasons outlined above.
The NSPCC earlier this week launched a new research report into the experiences of 11-16 year olds on social networking sites and the strategies they use to deal with things that upset them online. Researchers conducted an online self completion survey in December 2012 of 1,024 11-16 year olds in the UK.
Here’s some of the key findings:
- Over one in four (28%) of children aged 11-16 with a profile on a social networking site have experienced something upsetting on it in the last year.
- Of the children and young people who were upset, 11% were dealing with upsetting experiences on a daily basis.
- The most reported issue experienced on social networking sites was trolling, experienced by 37% of children who had been upset.
- Other issues experienced by children who had been upset included: pressure to look or act a certain way (14%), cyber stalking (12%), aggressive and violent language (18%), encouragement to hurt themselves (3%), receiving unwanted sexual messages (12%), and requests to send or respond to a sexual message (8%).
- Over half of 11-16 year olds (58%) believed at least one of the people responsible for the behaviour which had upset or bothered them was either a complete stranger, someone they only knew online, or they did not know who it was at all.
- Only 22% of the children who were upset talked with someone else face to face about the experience.
Download the full report from the NSPCC: The experiences of 11-16 year olds on social networking sites.
As you have probably seen over the past week or so, there has been a new craze called NekNomination. This challenge has swept across social media platforms and hundreds of thousands of people have taken part. This challenge involves downing a drink or possibly a combination of drinks and then nominating two people who you know to complete this within a 24hr period. Once they have completed it they are then required to upload it for everyone to see. Because of people of uploading it, it has spread exponentially as videos tend to go viral pretty quickly. Some people take it too far and end up mixing large quantities of strong drinks or in the even more extreme cases, people have been adding things like bleach or mouth wash to their drink.
I stumbled across a video on YouTube via Facebook, where one South African man has shown us how powerful social media can be and how it can influence people to do good:
[youtube id=”x-wztJ4m6xE” width=”580″ height=”337″]
He has taken his own approach on the NekNomination challenge, highlighting the fact that he lives in a region of the world where un-employment is at a high, the average wages are extremely low and some people will struggle to even eat each day. This shows there is so much more that can be done with social media. As you can see something as simple as downing a drink has spread so quickly, why can’t an act of kindness to those less fortunate do the same? All it takes is a small act from a large number of individual people to make a change.
This is how Brent Lindeque, from Johannesburg decided to do his NekNomination.
Mobile Marketing Watch have published a fantastic info graphic on social media in 2013:
Of all the messages the world has ever heard from politicians, story tellers, advertisers and more the gospel is still the stickiest. The good news is that God’s message is your message, which makes your presence and voice online wholly (and holy) indispensable!
I want to challenge you today as a Christ follower to change your mind-set of the way you spend your time online. I want to challenge you to forgo denomination, to sit in the same pew or row, and write this ongoing story together and share new ways to reach a fragmented world for Christ.
Together, as leaders we can light up the online space. We can “go” and we can “tell” as Jesus asked each of us to do. And we can change absolutely everything.
Throughout history, game changers have stepped forward in the faith to affect the way people communicate God’s truth in the culture in which they live.
As far back as 2002, Pope John Paul II got it. He understood the significance of the Internet and inspired Christians around the globe to embrace it as a way to share Christ with the world. Here’s what he said in a public speech:
“From this galaxy of sight and sound will the face of Christ emerge and the voice of Christ be heard? For it is only when His face is seen and His voice heard that the world will know the glad tidings of our redemption. This is the purpose of evangelisation. And this is what will make the Internet a genuinely human space, for if there is no room for Christ, there is no room for man … I dare to summon the whole Church bravely to cross this new threshold, to put out into the deep of the Net, so that now as in the past, the great engagement of the Gospel and culture may show to the world, ‘the glory of God on the face of Christ.”
Communication channels have changed radically since Moses walked down the mountain, stone tablets in hand. Old Testament scribes wrote on parchment made from treated skins of sheep or goats, and they used pens fashioned from reeds. The prophets preached in synagogues and countryside’s. Later, Paul wrote his letters on scrolls of papyrus and gave them to friends who would deliver them to the churches in other cities.
Little did Paul realise the frenzy that would kick up on the other side of his prison bars as game changers emerged, ready to take up the charge of the gospel. Generations of followers communicated the gospel with various tools. In 1440 the printing press changed everything as Bibles went from locked archives to retail.
In 1517 Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the University Church in Wittenberg and changed the game again. Religious tracts were used as major channels throughout the turbulence of the Protestant Reformation. John Calvin wrote, debated, and preached tirelessly during the Reformation. In the eighteenth century, John Wesley travelled 250,000 miles by horseback in his efforts to spread the Word, and he preached in open fields to as many as twenty thousand people at a time.
In 1922 Aimee Semple McPherson preached what is believed to be the first radio sermon. Christian writers such as A.W. Tozer and C.S. Lewis followed with critically important writings through World War II. Passionate game changers such as Dwight Moody and Billy Graham also shared the gospel over the radio waves. Television and revivals catapulted the reach of Billy Graham’s ministry. His first television crusade generated 1.5 million letters to the television station, confirming the power of that medium.
Bill Bright was another game changer when he wrote The Four Spiritual Laws, the most widely distributed religious booklet in history, and later commissioned The JESUS Film, one of the most influential films ever made. The renowned documentary on the life of Christ has reached more than 6 billion people in 234 countries and has been translated into one thousand languages.
But just because a technology evolves, there is no guarantee that a demand will support it. Remember the Microsoft Zune? The Apple Cube? Google Buzz? You don’t remember the technology failures because they failed. Multiple factors can be attributed to why social media has grown so rapidly, including cheaper broadband, a fire to innovate and the global economy shift. As unprecedented economic, political, and social factors continue to fragment continents, cities and even homes, words such as connection, community, and relationship increasingly dominate the conversation.
To explain this in statistics it took radio thirty-eight years to reach fifty million users; television, thirteen years; the Internet, four years; and the iPod, three years. In just a nine month period, Facebook added one hundred million users, and downloads of iPhone applications reached one billion.
Still think using social media is a passing fad or another waste of time? You may soon join the ranks of these leading, albeit well-meaning, thinkers:
- “Everyone acquainted with the subject will recognise it as a conspicuous failure.” Henry Morton, president of the Stevens Institute of Technology on Thomas Edison’s light bulb, 1880.
- “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad” The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Company, 1903.
- “Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop – because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.” Time, 1966
- “While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.” Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer, and inventor of the vacuum tube, 1926.
- “Transmission of documents via telephone wires is possible in principle, but the apparatus required is so expensive that it will never become a practical proposition.” Dennis Gabor, British physicist, 1969.
Broadcast to Social Media
In the five hundred years or so between the inventions of the printing press and the Internet, we have lived in a broadcast media environment of books, radio, newspapers, and television. These media served as highly effective platforms for sending a single, well-crafted, attention-getting message out to as many people as possible. But broadcast media afforded little opportunity for feedback or discussion, except, perhaps, for letters to the editor. In the church, we have used this one-to-many broadcast communication model in sermons, printed newsletters, letters from the Rector, and broadcasting worship services on Radio 3 or Songs of Praise.
Social media represents a profound shift in this model. Today, almost anyone can publish a blog, have a YouTube channel, and host their own podcast – in effect an internet based radio station. Anyone can comment on, extend, qualify, discuss, and share a clergy’s sermons.
In the era of broadcast media, the most influential ministry platforms tended to be those of large cong
Yesterday I wrote about how Sinead O’Connor had written an open letter to Miley Cyrus. Miley Cyrus fired back at “Nothing Compares 2U” singer Sinéad O’Connor on Twitter after O’Connor penned a lengthy and motherly open letter to the provocative 20-year-old.
In the letter, O’Connor claimed that Cyrus is being “prostituted” by the music industry and predicted the former Hannah Montana star would eventually land in rehab. Sadly Cyrus didn’t take kindly to the advice. She responded with a tweet that poked fun at O’Connor’s 2011 brush with mental health issues. The tweet says, “Before Amanda Bynes…. There was….” and links to O’Connor’s old tweets.
Cyrus followed up that tweet with a photo of O’Connor’s memorable moment in which she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II:
Not one to back down, O’Connor responded to Cyrus’ tweets in a Facebook post (sadly again full of strong language):
Miley… Really? Who the fuck is advising you? Because taking me on is even more fuckin’ stupid than behaving like a prostitute and calling it feminism. You have posted today tweets of mine which are two years old, which were posted by me when I was unwell and seeking help so as to make them look like they are recent. In doing so you mock myself and Amanda Bynes for having suffered with mental health issues and for having sought help. I mean really really… who advises you? have you any idea how stupid and dangerous it is to mock people for suffering illness? You will yourself one day suffer such illness, that is without doubt. The course you have set yourself upon can only end in that, trust me. I am staggered that any 20 yr old woman of the 21st century could behave in such a dangerous and irresponsible manner as to not only send the signal to young women that its ok to act like prostitutes but also to the signal that those who have suffered or do suffer mental health problems are to be mocked and have their opinions invalidated. Have you no sense of danger at all? or responsibility? Remove your tweets immediately or you will hear from my lawyers. I am certain you will be hearing from all manner of mental health advocacy groups also. It is not acceptable to mock any person for having suffered. It is most unbecoming of you to respond in such a fashion to someone who expressed care for you. And worse that you are such an anti-female tool of the anti-female music industry. I hope that you will apologise to Amanda Bynes and to any person who has been wounded by your mockery of those who have suffered. And I hope that you will wake up and understand that you in fact are a danger to women. Furthermore you posted a photo of me tearing the pope’s photo .. as if to imply insanity.. by doing so all you have achieved is to expose your staggering ignorance. I suggest you read The Philadelphia Report, The Boston Report, all the reports which will illuminate for you why that action of mine remains sane and valid. By mocking it you mock every child who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of priests and had it covered by the Vatican. You could really do with educating yourself, that is if you’re not too busy getting your tits out to read.
O’Connor continued the conversation in another Facebook post, mentioning legal action:
Ms Cyrus has today posted tweets of mine which are two years old and which were sent when I was ill and seeking medical help. She has done this in an attempt to deliberately cause me harm and hurt. I wish to confirm that I am quite well and kindly request people cease e mailing me in the mistaken belief these are recent tweets. Ms Cyrus’ lawyers will be contacted by mine regarding this matter. I confirm also that I do not at all support or condone the abuse or mockery of those who have been brave enough to openly discuss mental health issues. Mockery causes deaths. Period. It is an unacceptable form of bullying, no matter who it is doing the bullying.
Q&A with Bishop Paul Butler at the Digital Children conference:
Why is it that most Vicars only receive 1 seminar on children’s ministry in 3 years of full-time training? Wouldn’t disagree with you, keep arguing and don’t seem to get anywhere. Heads of Theological colleges began to take it on board but changing the culture takes time.
In Australia people are licensed as a Children’s Minister or Youth Minister – everything rises and falls on leadership – why are we not empowering on this? The last year or two of CYM has struggled to get its numbers in the Children’s Course and the number of churches that are employing a children’s specialist. If All-Age becomes the sustainable model do the training colleges begin to slim down?
Churches seem to struggle to find the calibre of workers should we employ from abroad? But the Border Agency would not welcome this.
Refreshing to have a Bishop who gets it – don’t take that for granted – for many a children’s worker issues of leadership are real. How do we encourage leadership generally from sentiment and rhetoric to meaningful action? Show me a budget and I will tell you what your focus, but let’s be honest in our accounting so that we include volunteer hours. Honestly don’t know the answer which is one of the frustrations. Chair the Joint Liaison Safeguarding Group between CofE and Methodists – one of the positives is that Bishops are now waking up to the seriousness of the situation and to the wider issue of where are headed with childhood. One of the things might be to find different ways in – coming from another angle people are now willing to speak about The Good Childhood etc. Alongside Safeguarding try Parenting and Grand-Parenting skills.
Youth worker seeking ordination thinks schools and community work has to stop – that you graduate from children’s and youth ministry to focus on the grown-up issues of weddings, funerals and more. Part of that is about placing Ordinands with Vicars and Rectors who get it. It is still depressing to hear that said especially given how we now say bring your business skills, or teacher skills or social work skills. In some Dioceses the do a weekend to train Curates on Children’s and Youth ministry.
Parishes that are having the most significant success are those that are tackling the issues of poverty – for churches doing football etc., they were feeding children, building better homes and more. We can ask for more children’s workers but it is about missiology and the child piece in that. It is not rocket science to look at what works for the community, 8am service was to allow the workers to milk the cows, do the service and then go back to cook lunch whilst the Lord and Lady attend the 10.30am.
Half churches aren’t engaging in children’s and youth work – there is a sense of larger churches growing due to their churches – thereby leading no people to lead that work. How do we solve this? There are schemes to get a part-time worker; maybe it is okay for some churches to not have children’s work as some areas have a demographic where there are very few children and so should focus on the elderly etc., and partner with a local place for the few children; ecumenical partnerships will be increasingly important.
Sticky Faith talks about involvement in all areas of the church being key for faith development, but All-Age Worship is often the worse attended, committed to it as a principle but how do we shake that image. The only way is to shake it up by having an all-age group to plan the all-age worship to think how the different ages etc. work as too often it is child worship not all-age.
We are still focussed on aspirations – children and young people who go to university – half don’t so how do we connect with them? So much is connected to those who go off to university, and we have to go back to Rakes with the Sunday School movement and the Ragged Schools – what is the equivalent for us – Glee Club and where we can raise aspirations.
Greatest cricketer in Viv Richards asking a guy in his congregation who was a poor county cricketer to improve him. How? He watched and spotted and commented it and left it to Viv to make the changes.