Social Media Usage Update

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on November 7, 2017

in social media

It has been awhile since we looked at social media usage in the U.S. to see if it is worthwhile to invest our ministry time and energy there.   I returned to the Pew Internet and American Life Project for the stats below.

Sixty-nine percent of the public is on at least one social media platform today.  They are not all on the same platform.  Some platforms are used more than others.

Top Three Platforms: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Facebook is still number 1

79% of online adults (68% of all Americans) use Facebook

32% of internet users (28% of all U.S. adults) use Instagram

32% of online adults (28% of all Americans) use Instagram

24% of internet users (21% of all U.S. adults) use Twitter

24% of online adults (21% of all Americans) use Twitter

Time spent on Top Platforms

Three-quarters of Facebook users and half of Instagram users use each site daily

Take a few minutes to study these statistics.  Ask yourself–who are the people you want to reach?  Consider age, gender, location, income and education.  Which platforms are they on?  Which platforms are you on?  How committed are you to relating to these audiences online?  What challenges do you face?

Juliana Gerace November 7, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Thank you sister. This along with I Gen (a book- Joan Twenge) beg the very question you ask. For young adults, Bishop Barron just posted a YouTube about an upcoming film, Ingrid goes West. You probably know all this and more, but the question you ask is one I and others are deeply concerned about.

Caroline Cerveny November 7, 2017 at 3:27 pm

One of the challenges I face is that our young adults are very involved with social media, yet so many ministers are still hesitant to truly engage in learning how to best use the tools. There is so much that can be done today. Yet, it takes time and a digital communications plan.

Pilar Dougall November 13, 2017 at 2:15 pm

I have to agree with Caroline that there is hesitancy in using social media. Social media should be thought of as a communication tool just as the Sunday bulletin and the parish website are. Yet, I have to disagree that it is the ministers that are hesitant to engage. I believe it is the parish administers who are hesitant to invest in supporting communication budgets. It is unfortunate for many parishes because it does cost money to institute a digital communications plan. Time and hours are required to effectively see this done and it is not something that can be done with volunteers.

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND November 13, 2017 at 2:25 pm

I think that all of you make good points. Juliana points out that those in ministry are concerned about the younger generations and are questioning how we can more effectively relate to them in person (when they show up) and online.

Both Caroline and Pilar make good points. Some ministers are hesitant to use social media as part of their ministry–time, discomfort with social media, and learning curve are a few reasons. But in places where ministers do want to use social media to reach out, they are often met with resistance from Administrators who do not see the value and more often do not see the reason to put time/money into it. Faced with these obstacles, we can only do what we can do, but we should not give up.