Have You Heard about Offline October

photo credit: Go-tea 郭天 Live from the streets via photopin (license)

So, have you heard about Offline October? Today was the first I heard about it.

Knowing that teens spend an average of 9 hours a day on their phones, they check their phones 157 times a day, send out more than 208 Snapchats, spend nearly an hour on Instagram, a movement has started to unplug. I don’t know much about the movement other than hearing the news story and visiting the website, but it seems like a good idea.

According to the website, after a number of teen suicides in the Littleton, Colorado community, a group of 25 students got together to come up with a solution to state that enough was enough. The challenge is meant for people to realize the importance of human relationships and the happiness that can come from direct human interaction. The goal of the movement is this: Don’t Post A Story, Live One.

If you are a parent this would be a good conversation to have with your student. What would it be like to go offline for the month of October, or even a week in October, or even 24 hours? Perhaps you could ask your student what kind of influence social media has had on their peers or even him/her. It’s an interesting challenge to consider and talk about.

There are resources and ideas for taking the challenge on the Offline October website.

Below is one of their promo videos.

Interesting Info on Gen Z

photo credit: AdamCohn Sharing a Mobile Phone via photopin (license)

This week I’ve read a few interesting things about Gen Z.

Generation Z is made up of those who were born 1999 to 2015; they are today’s preteens and teenagers.

A lot has been written about Millenials (born 1984 to 1998) as they are the largest generation in the US workforce (35% of today’s labor force).

There were two different sources for the information and they give two different snapshots of this generation.  The first is a podcast by Pro Church Tools, which focused on how Gen Z interacts with through social media.  The second source is the Barna Group, which has done some research on the beliefs of Gen Z.

Pro Church Tools talked about how Gen Z uses social media differently than previous generations.  The main distinction they made was that  Gen Z uses social media for one to one interactionswhere previous generations use social media for one to many interactions.

So, where previous generations will post something to Facebook for everyone to see (and to generate more friends), Gen Z will use Messaging Apps, including Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram DMs, along with others.

After I heard the podcast, I sent a message to over a dozen of the high school students in our student ministry.  I asked which Messaging App they used most frequently.  In the quick survey I took, Snapchat seemed to be the most used, along with Instagram and texting.  How Gen Z communicates is a little different from other generations and it is helpful to know if we want to communicate effectively.

The Barna Group study focused on what Gen Z believes.  While there were a number of stats shared, these two were highlighted:

  • 24% of Gen Z strongly agrees that what is morally right and wrong changes over time based on society
  • 21% of Gen Z strongly believes sex before marriage is wrong – though they are mostly on par with other generations, with Gen X being the most conservative (26%)

While there is much more in the Barna study, I think those stats give an interesting look into Gen Z.  The fact that nearly one-quarter of the generation thinks that what is right and wrong changes based on society should create some interesting conversations.  If right and wrong is a sliding scale, it could have some pretty unique implications.

While I think we need to be careful not to stereotype people based on their age and not everyone who was born in a certain generation reflects those characteristics, it is good to have a sense of where our students are.

Barna does note that they only included teens 13 to 18 in their study.

Click on the links above to read all the information that Pro Church Tools and Barna provide.  If you work with students or are a parent of Gen Z, it is helpful information to have.

Teens Talk Social Media – Part 2

Last week I posted some information about a recent Common Sense Media report where teens shared how much time they spend on social media and their phones.  A few days ago, the TODAY show did a special series sharing the same information.

TODAY interviewed a family with three teenagers and talked to them about their social media habits.  They also talked to the mother and got her thoughts on how she managed her children’s time on their devices.

The students featured were then challenged to go 48 hours without their smartphones and without using social media.  They took the challenge and then share about their experiences.  They used words like “disconnected” and “distractions,” but also seemed grateful for time away from the devices.

The news piece is just over five minutes long and is pretty interesting in light of the Common Sense Media study.  You can watch it on the TODAY Show site.

Teens Talk Social Media

Common Sense Media just released a report on teens and how they use social media. They asked more than 1,100 teenagers (13- to 17-year-olds) to find out their thoughts and how they use social media. Here are a few highlights:

  • 89% of teens have a smartphone
  • Snapchat is their main social media site
  • 57% of all teens agree that social media distracts them when they should be doing homework
  • 29% of teen smartphone owners say they have been woken up by their phones during the night
  • 70% teens use social media multiple times a day (up from 34% in 2012)

There is more interesting information about how teens not only use social media, but some of their perceptions as well.  For example, 72% of teens think technology companies manipulate users to spend more time on their devices.  And, many admit that social media can be a distraction.

Common Sense Media also has a link for parents with some thoughts and suggestions on addressing the social media issue.  Some pretty common sense stuff that many parents are already utilizing, but helpful nonetheless.

There is no doubt that smartphones, technology and social media have impacted our culture and how we communicate.  This article provides some good talking points for parents and teens.

 

Meet the Team // Sydney the Intern // @TinkerCoffeeCo

Sydney is working this summer in Indianapolis as she takes summer classes at UIndy. She was able to connect with a local coffee company – Tinker Coffee Company – and is working as their intern. Recently they featured her on the Tinker Coffee blog. It was a brief interview with some fun info about what lead her to Indy and to Tinker. I especially like her response to What got you into coffee?

You might have noticed that some of our Instagram posts are looking A LOT better recently, and we have one very special person to thank for those upgrades: our illustrious intern Sydney Brackemyre! Syd the Kyd is a dynamo and has been doing awesome work with us for the past month and we wanted to give folks the chance to get to know her a bit better. We sat down with Syd and asked some questions about where she’s been, where she’s going, and what drew her to the coffee industry in the first place.

Read the entire interview on the Tinker blog!

More Dangerous: Shark Attacks or Selfies?

Several months ago, I shared an infographic talking about our selfie obsession.  It shared some of the following statistics:

  • 74 percent of all images shared on Snapchat are selfies.
  • 1,000 selfies are posted to Instagram every 10 seconds.
  • There are 93 million selfies each day, which would represent 2,583,333 rolls of film.
  • 19 out of 20 teens have taken selfies

I don’t think any of that is surprising to anyone who frequents social media.  For whatever reason, I forgot this stat:

More people died from taking selfies in 2015 than from shark attacks.

Of course, I had to look it up.  Here’s what USA Today reports about it:  in 2015, 12 people died while attempting to take a selfie; 8 people died from a shark attack.

Here’s how some people died:

  • a man fell down a staircase at the Taj Mahal’s Royal Gate
  • a couple fell of a cliff trying to capture a picture
  • a man shot himself while posing for a selfie

Another website tells us that 49 people have died from selfies since 2014.  How crazy is that?

I started looking at this as I was preparing for our small groups this week.  We are talking about how excited we are to share the good news with others.  As followers of Jesus, we should be energized when it comes to sharing what we know about Him with others.  We love to share selfies and social media posts with others.  We get excited when our favorite team wins.  We rave about the latest movie we watched. But do we (or better yet, do I) look for opportunities to share about news that is both really good and that really matters?

Good question for us to think about.

Is Facebook Dead? (Hint: it’s not…)

facebook-jaggedSocial media has changed the way we interact with each other and the world.  I saw a story on the news today that people are angry at Facebook for allowing false news story to be posted on the site.  The problem?  Those false news stories, some are saying, had a negative impact on our recent presidential election.  How true that might be is unclear, but it does speak to the fact that social media has a huge influence in our world.

I received an email this week from Jon Acuff with the title Is Facebook Dead?  I thought what he shared was pretty interesting in regards to how Facebook stacks up in numbers with other social media sites.

Near the beginning of this year I posted some information I read about the State of Social Media.  I have also shared an article about the growth of Instagram and other social media related topics.  I think it’s interesting to see what’s happening with real numbers compared to what other people are saying about the power and reach of various social media platforms.

Basically, that’s what Acuff shared.  In his article he gives information about the same article he posted on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  While all of those social media sites showed good engagement from those who saw it, Facebook had the largest numbers far and away.

Here are the numbers:  On Facebook, it was shared 7,384 times. It was liked 18,000 times. And most importantly, it had a reach of 2,899,540 people. Let me repeat that. On Facebook, the post reached 2.8 million people.

Then Acuff made these two observations:

  1. If you’re an entrepreneur, ignore Facebook at your peril.
  2. Facebook might not be the coolest platform, but it is the most effective

You can see the entire article on Jon Acuff’s website.  If you are one who uses social media to engage others, this is pretty interesting information to think about.