The Generation Y, or the Millennials, are said to be dependent on digital technology. The start of this generation is marked by those born in 1982, or graduated high school in 2000. The end is far less clear, and can range anywhere from 1994 to 2003. It is in this generation that mobile phones, PCs and portable entertainment devices became affordable and readily available when the Gen Y-ers were in their teens or early 20s.The ‘missing’ generation in our churches.iGeneration or Generation Z are modern children, born from somewhere in the second half of the 1990s to the present. In the early- to mid-2010s, the yet-to-exist generation after this will be born.
The ‘missing’ generation in our churches – is online!
49% of the UK population are on facebookBirmingham is ranked #7 in the country for facebook use75% of the Birmingham population has a Facebook account. – That’s 793,540 people out of 1,060,693
Why do people go online – and use social networks?
Mark Zuckerberg was asked – “How can I create an online community”
So how can we help our church communities do what they want to do by using social media?
The statistics are clear: they're online. They’re on Facebook, on Twitter, checking their emails and browsing the web. In fact, one in three Brits spend between two and three hours a day using Facebook on their smartphones. We always talk about the missing generation being the 20s-30s in our churches, but it's not just young people who are online - the thirty-plus demographic now represents almost half of all UK Facebook users.Many church leaders and the more traditional among us may be wary of Facebook and other social media sites, and you have every right to be – if not used properly and with full consideration of various risks you could find yourself in deep water. HOWEVER, the benefits of getting yourself and your church or organisation up-and-running online outweigh the possible pitfalls by a million miles.Take yourself outside your church walls for a moment. If you had just moved to the area or just became a Christian and were looking to attend a place of worship, how would you go about starting your search? Chances are, you would search the web for ‘churches in Leeds/London/Lancaster’, and if your church doesn’t have an active website or a presence on social media then this person will pass you by. This isn’t about trying to get more people to your place of worship, or to your organisation, or to your point of view - it’s about giving them a CHOICE. Everyone expresses their love and adoration for God in a different way, and it’s our responsibility to let people know that whatever their various beliefs they will be accepted into your community.
You can use Facebook as a communications hub. Create a public page or smaller closed group for your church and youth group to keep parents informed, distribute materials for using at home or permission slips and share photos or videos from churchactivities or trips. Anyone can like a page on Facebook, and young people who do will see updates in their News Feed. Groups, on the other hand, allow you to limit membership to only those you approve. You can also email all the members of a group.Facebook PagesLike a friend's profile, Facebook Pages enable public figures, businesses, organizations and other entities to create an authentic and public presence on Facebook. Unlike your profile, Facebook Pages are visible to everyone on the internet by default. You, and every person on Facebook, can connect with these Pages by becoming a fan and then receive their updates in your News Feed and interact with them.Authenticity is at the core of Facebook. Just as profiles should represent real people and real names, so too should Pages for entities. Only the official representatives of a public figure, business or organization should create a Facebook Page.
Facebook GroupsWhile Pages were designed to be the official profiles for entities, such as celebrities, brands or businesses, Facebook Groups are the place for small group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinion. Groups allow people to come together around a common cause, issue or activity to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos and share related content.When you create a group, you can decide whether to make it publicly available for anyone to join, require administrator approval for members to join or keep it private and by invitation only. Like with Pages, new posts by a group are included in the News Feeds of its members and members can interact and share with one another from the group.Both personal and professionalMaintaining a page or group is also a great way to establish a presence as a church leader without blurring the line between your personal and professional lives. You can interact with parents, young people and church colleagues via your page or group, called something like “St John’s Church” Again, be sure to understand and comply with your church social media policies.
It’s important to remember that the same people who Tweet about their consumer experiences will often be the very same people who tweet about their church experiences – both good and bad.
Stephen Fry – Twitter… I’m sure he’s trying to be Oscar Wilde!How many friends/followers do we have? makes us feel like mini celebrities with online entourages waiting to react to our every status update/tweet !
A new study released by ExactTarget finds consumers who are active on Twitter are three times more likely to impact a brand’s online reputation through syndicated Tweets, blog posts, articles and product reviews than the average consumer. Here’s how that breaks down:While the information is focused on these tweeting consumer habits, the correlation between tweeting about a company/brand and a local church is very similar. In both instances, the experience determines why they’d tweet about either entity.In the survey above, it’s worth noting that of the 13 ‘reason to Twitter’ the top 8 – over half the list – are because of a benefit to the consumer. In church speak, this means that the person is interested in what you’re doing and is motivated to tweet about you. The implication for churches is to have a constantly updated, useful Twitter feed(s) so they can follow and discover benefits for themselves.
Focus your Twitter use for communicating general church information. Stay on target. This should ensure the widest audience of followers interested in your church and reduce stress around what should be your next post.2. Use Twitter as one part of your overall social media presence. Besides Twitter, you should have a web site, blog and Facebook fan page. Your tweets – 140-character status updates – are teasers into your web site, blog, or fan page.3. Brand your Twitter page to match your church website.The standard Twitter background screams “newbie.” Pay close attention to your profile photo, bio, and background. Twitter, FaceBook and your webpage should all look like they belong together.4. Connect with your followers through # tags (called “hashtags“). A hashtag is a keyword that your followers can track – like: “#metrocalvary”. As other users and other posts include this keyword/hashtag, it makes searching for related info easy.5. Be social! Retweet or reply to tweets. The more you participate, the more your follower base will grow. A follower who retweets your tweet can exponentially grow your follower base. Especially if that follower has more fans than you have.6. Mix up your tweets. Just posting announcements will get boring. Try throwing in a picture. Retweet a positive comment from a member. Post a question for everyone to answer. Post a short message from the Priest in Charge. Keeping things focused, but lively will keep your presence fresh and show some personality.7. Keep a metered, steady flow. You can use third-party applications such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, or just a calendar reminder to schedule your updates. The ideal situation is daily, but 2 or 3 times a week is OK too.8. Reach out to bloggers in your church that are on Twitter. Engaging members that are already active online will help you build new relationships and quickly gain momentum. Remember #4!9. Give and it shall be given unto you. In your “thanks for following me” message, include links to your sermon podcast, your resources page on your website (bulletin PDF downloads, sermon note PDFs, etc), or your blog. This will help build and inform your follower base.10. Keep your tweets positive and to the point (you only have 140 characters, after all). The twitterverse has a limited attention span. You should use a different solution for prayer requests and keep it light – focus on practical info and encouragement. If you are linking to longer blog posts with lots of detail, be sure you boil down the info to give your twitter posts enough value to stand on it’s own. If every tweet is just a link to a longer piece, you will lose your followers fast.
Picture Firstly, Jade has a picture of herself on her profile, which is really common. But if we look closer what can you see?
The answer is that we can see Jade’s school badge. This is personal information. Someone could do an internet search for school emblems or school uniforms and find out where Jade goes to school. They would then know where she will be most weekdays at around 3.30. They would be able to recognise who she is by the photos on her profile. A picture could say a lot more than you realise.
Address Jade has put her address and postcode up on her profile; do you think this is risky? With information like an address, it’s not hard to find someone. By entering someone’s postcode into Google maps, we can see Jade’s house on a map and if we wanted to, we could go there. Even though having your postcode on your profile doesn’t seem that risky, finding someone by using this is a lot easier than you think.
Photo AlbumHave a look at this photo album cover Jade has on her profile; do you think this is risky? From the look of the album cover, these photos might be a bit inappropriate to have on her profile; especially if she has friends on her list that she doesn’t know in the real world or trust. It’s also worth thinking about what pictures you have of your friends in your albums. Do they know that you have posted them and would they be happy for these to be online?
GPSThere is a new function online now that uses location based services; you can usually spot these by a button that says, ‘where am I?’ What do you think this is? There are various companies that now give GPS tracking as part of their product; you can get it on some social networking sites and on some mobiles. If this is enabled on your device, then other contacts can see exactly where you are on a map. Pretty scary if you have contacts that you don’t know in the real world. Would you want them all to know exactly where you are?
WallThis person wants to meet up with Jade and she doesn’t know them in the real world. If you do want to meet up with people that you first met online, it makes sense to protect yourself, particularly if you are meeting them for the first time. Go to a busy public place, where other people will be around to protect you if necessary. Take an adult you trust with you to check the person is who they say they are. Let people know where you are and when you plan to be back.
Let’s take a look at the current privacy settings section on facebook. It’s accessed from the home menu at the top right hand side of the facebook interface.Control Your Default PrivacyThis setting will apply to status updates and photos you post to your timeline from a Facebook app that doesn't have the inline audience selector, like Facebook for Blackberry.
To help explain what sort of information is controlled – here’s what the old privacy settings view looked like.
Inline privacy allows you to choose who sees any post you make on facebook
Keeping private things privateIf you do decide to use Facebook pages or groups to engage with your congregation, be sure to customise your privacy settings so that they reflect the amount of information you want to share with people who know you from church. As you review your settings, you can click the Preview My Profile button on your privacy settings page to see how your page looks to most people on Facebook.You can also set an example of safe behaviour by being careful about what you share online.
Curate training digital generation
Good Practice in CommunicatingTo a Digital Generation…Craig GilmanDigital AdviserAssistant Youth AdviserCEOP Ambassador
Generation Y1980’s -1995?18-32 year oldsiGen1995 – Present0-17 year olds
Appeal of Technology to GenY & iGen• Always on• Anonymity• Addictive• Access to the world• Active not passive medium• Away from supervision “If you took away my mobile phone you would take away a part of me”• Acceptance – identity and status• Amplifier (gives children a voice)• The online world IS the child’s world
The Appeal of• News feeds – boast by post• Applications – huge range of apps• Photos/tags comment and tag photos – face recognition• Events/groups• Friends find link, be in constant contact + on your mobile• Messages (superseding email)• Live chat – (superseding IM)• Time line• Video link and embed• Social location
User age distribution on Facebook in United KingdomBut I hate charts…
Generation Y1980’s -1995?18-32 year olds 55% of UK Facebook Users
iGen1995 – Present0-17 year olds 11-15%(ish) of UK Facebook Users not supposed to have facbook before age 13!
Generation Y + iGen =70%(ish) of UK Facebook Users!34% of the UK population
“ It has never been easier to keep in touch with other people – and people all over the world. The church should be part of the public market place, and making contact in new ways are an opportunity not a threat. I’m sure St Paul would have been a regular blogger had the technology been available to him. “ Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron
48% OF 18 TO 34 YEAR OLDSCHECK FACEBOOKRIGHT WHEN THEY WAKE UP…ABOUT 28% CHECK THEIR FACEBOOKON THEIR SMART PHONESBEFORE GETTING OUT OF BED.
―Communities already exist. Instead, think about how youcan help that community do what it wants to do‖Mark Zuckerberg
Reason to Tweet Company or Brand (% of US Twitter Users)Reason to Tweet % of UsersGet updates on future products 38%Stay informed about company activities 32Receive discounts and promotions 31Get updates on upcoming sales 30Get free samples, coupons, etc 28For fun or entertainment 26Get access to exclusive content 25Learn more about company 25Show support to company to others 23Share ideas, provide feedback 20For education about company topics 14Recommended 14Get direct message from company 10 Source: ExactTarget, August 2010
10 top tips1. Focus your Twitter use for 6. Mix up your tweets communicating general church 7. Keep a metered, steady flow information 8. Reach out to bloggers in your2. Use Twitter as one part of your church that are on Twitter overall social media presence 9. Give and it shall be given3. Brand your Twitter page to unto you. match your church website 10. Keep your tweets positive4. Connect with your followers and to the point through # tags5. Be social! Retweet or reply to tweets
Inline Privacy Where are you?Who are you with?
The Importance of Privacy Settings 31% of 12-15 year olds don’t use privacy settings on their social networking profiles – Ofcom Medial Literacy Report 2009
Practice Intentionality, Humility, Authenticity1. Practice regular check-ins2. Make the intention to not go online immediately before bed and immediately after waking up3. Practice mindful Social Networking4. Practice authentic Social Networking5. Adopt one or two Facebook friends for one month
Practice Intentionality, Humility, Authenticity1. Practice regular check-ins• What am I feeling now?• What kind of thoughts are going through my head• What kind of emotions did that email surface?
Practice Intentionality, Humility, Authenticity2. Make the intention to not go online immediately before bed and immediately after waking up• Give yourself space• Perhaps memorise a passage (maybe Psalm 23)• Say a short prayer – invite God into the details• Perhaps try a simple examen
Practice Intentionality, Humility, Authenticity3. Practice mindful Social Networking• How much time do you spend on FB, twitter, etc.?• How do you spend that time?• Check in with yourself
Practice Intentionality, Humility, Authenticity4. Practice authentic Social Networking• Take a look at the pictures you’ve posted• Evaluate the information you’ve shared• Try to be YOU
Practice Intentionality, Humility, Authenticity5. Adopt one or two Facebook friends for one month• Pick a couple of people to give special attention to• Find out what’s going on in their lives• Pray for them daily• Send them nice messages, pictures etc.• Invite them to meet up
Digital Footprints• What goes online stays online• What would a future employer think?• How much time are you online? 25 per cent of employers have reportedly rejected job candidates after looking at their Facebook page. Sister Maria Jesus Galan was expelled from her convent after spending too much time on Facebook
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever isnoble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— ifanything is excellent or praiseworthy— “think *(blog, tweet, post) about such things.Philippians 4:8*okay so I added that bit…