#struggles

struggles“We are living for Likes, but we’re longing for love.” In his latest offering Craig Groeschel explores our desire to be connected with others in the ever-growing world of social media. He shares many stories from people who truly are living for “Likes,” whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other outlets.

Some have become so engrossed with our smart phones we have developed a condition called nomophobia – the fear of going without your phone. The author spoke with a number of focus groups made up of young adults who share their struggles with being overly engaged with their phones and devices. Groeschel even shared a personal story of a time he has struggled with being without access to his phone.

Through the book he shared various statistics and stories that point to an obsession with social media engagement. In one chapter these numbers about Facebook were given: “Currently the average American Facebook user has 338 Facebook friends. But surveys indicate that the average American has only two friends they consider to be close. As shocking as that statistic is, I think one is even sadder: 25 percent of Americans today say they have zero close friends.”

While the author (and this reader) admit that there are many advantages we enjoy with smart phones, social media and other communication opportunities, it is easy for those things to become too important to us. Groeschel shares various passages of scripture and practical steps we can take to keep things in balance. Some are as simple as unplugging for 5 minutes each day, determining times when the phone is off-limits and putting filters and other restrictions on our phones. Some are “drastic” as deleting certain apps or unplugging altogether, if necessary.

In an appendix in the book, Groeschel provides The Ten Commandments of Using Social Media to Grow Your Faith and Share God’s Love. With humor, engaging stories and statistics and practical insights, Groeschel offers a timely book that is not just beneficial to the individual reader, but would also be effective as a small group study. The #struggles are real and there is some good advice to be gleaned from this book.

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Instagram Fastest Growing App in ’13

instagramLast week I posted about how Facebook may not be dying in the world of social media. While people are using Twitter and other social media tools, Facebook still has a strong presence.

Then, last week, I saw this article on MediaPost.com informing us that Instagram was the fastest growing app in 2013. Twitter, which has 30.7 million users, was the 10th fastest growing.  It seems that people prefer posting images over words with an average of 103.4 million unique visitors on IG last year.

It can be a challenge trying to keep up with the various ways people, including our own children and student in our churches, communicate with each other.  I think it is interesting to see what apps are not only popular, but continue to be used over the course of time.

Here is the full article posted on MediaPost.com.

Facebook was the No. 1 app overall in 2013, but its photo-sharing subsidiary Instagram was the fastest-growing app among the top 10.

With an average of 103.4 million unique visitors last year between January and October, Facebook had easily the largest U.S. audience of any app, with traffic up 27% from 2012. But that growth rate paled in comparison to Instagram — acquired by the social network in 2012 for $1 billion — which saw its app audience surge 66% to 32 million last year, according to Nielsen data.

That’s partly a result of starting from a smaller base, but the comparison with Facebook won’t do anything to dispel the growing perception that the growth in social media — especially among teens — is shifting to single-purpose or messaging apps, including Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Whisper and others.

Instagram also outpaced Twitter, the No. 10 app that grew 36% to 30.7 million last year. How Instagram’s growth translates into ad sales should start to become clear this year, with advertising in the app just launched at the end of 2013. In a recent research note, JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth suggested, however, that advertising will continue to roll out slowly on Instagram this year, not contributing significantly to Facebook’s overall revenue.

Close on Instagram’s heels in terms of growth was Apple’s Maps app (No. 8), which increased its audience 64% to nearly 32 million. That gain highlights Apple’s success in luring back irate users after its disastrous launch in iOS 6 in 2012. That isn’t to say it can match the cross-platform reach of Google Maps, which last year boasted 68.6 million uniques, reflecting 14% growth.

Indeed, Google apps — which also include Search, Play YouTube and Gmail — made up half the top 10 apps in 2013, pointing to the ubiquity of the Android OS. The Google platform ran on more than half (52%) of U.S. smartphones in November, according to the latest market share data from comScore.

The increase in mobile adoption overall drove down desktop traffic in 2013 compared to the prior year for each of the top 10 Web sites, according to Nielsen. Google — the No. 1 site, with an average online audience of 164.8 million last year — saw traffic drop 6%, while Facebook’s fell 16% to 135 million, and Yahoo’s 9% to 129.8 million.

Among the top 10, the Ask Search Network suffered the biggest decline, falling 16% to 64.2 million. YouTube, the top video site in 2013, also saw a dip in its audience — slipping 6% from 2012 to 128.4 million, but still far ahead of No. 2 Vevo, with 37.2 million, down 9%. No. 3 video property Yahoo saw traffic fall 8% to 35.4 million.

Facebook Dying? Maybe not.

facebook logoOne of the challenges that many youth workers face is staying connected and sharing information with parents and students. While there are a number of ways to do that, which one is best? For example, texting is used by a lot of people…but not everyone texts. Many utilize email, but not everyone who has it even checks it.

I know in talking with students that many of them have abandoned Facebook and use Twitter a lot. That lead to conversations that perhaps Facebook is on its way out. Then, I saw this article at Youth Ministry Media that points to the fact that Facebook is still a heavy hitter in the world of social media.

They shared this infographic which shows the power of Facebook. Here are the observations they made. I found it pretty interesting.

1. 1.26 billion people used it in the third quarter last year. This is crazy. That means that 1 in every 7 people on the planet used facebook.

2. There are over 800 million mobile users.

3. 83% of 18-29 year olds use facebook.

What are your thoughts?

Facebook Infographic