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.

Selfie Obessession

The “selfie” has become a pretty popular thing (no news flash there). I have actually found myself taking “group selfies” on our trips with students. And the last couple pics have turned out pretty well…if I do say so myself.

But then I wonder if a group selfie is really a selfie because there are many “selves” and not just a “self” in the picture.

Anyways…this infographic is pretty interesting as it gives the stats on how many selfies are out there. Just think – 93 million selfies taken each day. WOW!

There is a story of how damaging the selfie obsession can be and some tips for people to consider as they take selfies.

Interesting information for parents, teens and those who care about students.

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Report on the State of Social Media 2015

My daughter is a marketing intern at U of L and works in the digital side of things. She retweeted a link about the current state of the major social media networks. I have posted some articles on the supposed decline of Facebook and the growth of Instagram in the past, so I found the article interesting. Simply Measured did a report to be a resource for people working with social media. I kind of glanced through the 47 page report, but thought this graphic was very compelling.

It’s kind of mind-blowing to think that Facebook has 1.4 billion monthly active users and 936 million daily active users. Instagram has 70 million photos per day, there are over 500 million tweets per day and 1 billion views each day on YouTube. That’s a lot of activity in our digital world.

Kind of makes the number of followers I have seem pretty small.

Found this information interesting and wanted to pass it along.

State of Social Media

Social Media Tips for Parents

I receive a regular email from a youth ministry organization called YouthSpecialties.  They offer training, resources and events for those in youth ministry.  This week’s email contained a helpful video of an interview with Jakob Eckeberger, a volunteer youth worker and an employee of YouthSpecialties who is involved in the social media side of things.

Eckeberger offers some tips and insights to parents about social media.  He makes some good observations, especially regarding the growth of technology and the fact that we live in a word with no technological boundaries.  He makes a comment that phones used to be stuck to the wall and TV’s were huge boxes that sat in our living rooms. Now, it is everywhere.

I thought this was a beneficial resource for parents and wanted to pass it along.  You can see all the original content on the YouthSpecialties Blog.

Here’s the actual interview and below the video is the breakdown that YS provided.

3 THINGS THAT INFLUENCE HOW KIDS USE SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY:

1. We live in a world with no technological boundaries.

In my generation, we grew up with some really firm boundaries on our technology. Phones had cords that plugged into walls. The internet was only available through dial-up. Big box televisions were the only way to watch TV shows. Those literal boundaries around our technology helped us come to understand who we were outside of it. Today, there are zero boundaries to our technology. This constant, 24/7 access to technology leaves a huge impact on our kids, inviting things like social media to become an important part of their personal, mental, and sociological development.

2. Social media becomes a window through which we see and experience the world around us.

This means that apps like Instagram aren’t merely used to post pictures. Instagram becomes a window through which we answer important questions like: Who am I? Where do I fit in? Does my life matter?

We aren’t just consuming answers to those questions through the images we see on Instagram, we’re actually creating our responses. We create images to tell stories of our daily life and then compare it to what everyone else is creating. This is a significant thing for kids who are just starting to figure out who there are and where/if they fit in.

3. The fallacy that everything on line is temporary.

Darrel Girardier shared a GREAT POST that touched on this. Apps like Snapchat tap into this idea that content on the internet can be easily deleted. But we know from experience (SNAPCHAT LEAKS 100,000 PHOTOS) that it’s not always the case. Once we post something, we have very little control over what happens to it.

3 THINGS THAT PARENTS CAN DO:

1. Recognize that the issue isn’t the technology, but how that technology is used.

Most of the technology available to our kids today, and specifically things like social media, aren’t necessarily evil. It’s all in how the technology is used. When we give our kids a smart phone, we’re giving them technology that comes with a ton of responsibility. We can’t protect our kids from all the bad ways that this technology can be used, but we can help them live into the incredible amount of responsibility that they’ve been given. To borrow from Walt Mueller, it’s all apart of helping students think critically and Christianly about what they post before they post it.

2. Create boundaries around technology.

Sit down as a family to create blackout times and locations in your house where every screen is turned off, and the phones and tablets are put away. Have family game nights, or dinner times when you intentionally connect with one another. Buy an old-fashioned alarm clock to have in your room so that you don’t need your phone at night.

3. Be the example.

Ideally, parents would be modeling healthy uses of technology for their kids. So set boundaries that your entire family can agree on. That way, as a parent, you can be the first one to step away from your phone or tablet. By being the example, you can show what a healthy relationship with technology looks like.

The YS Idea Labs are filmed on location at the National Youth Workers Convention. Check out more YS Idea Labs HEREand register early for NYWC to save BIG: NYWC.COM.

#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.

Teens Use Media 9 Hours Daily

Lightstock-Stock-Photo-Pearl-Smart-Phone-AddictionFor the past few years, I have heard the statistic that students spent 7.5 hours of their day connected to some type of media. A recent survey from Common Sense Media shares that students on average spend 9 hours every day connected to media.

For parents and people who work with students, it’s kind of important that we know what students are spending their time doing. What was interesting to me in the article was that only 10% of teens rank social media as their favorite activity. Model Essena O’Neill created a buzz on social media when she announced she was quitting social media because posts are edited and just try to get more views.

It would be interesting to engage in a conversation with students in your world and find out what they do with their time on media. Maybe it is social media, maybe it is texting. Whatever they do to fill the time, it is pretty clear that media is a huge part of it.

Here’s the text of a brief article related to this Common Sense Media survey posted on YouthMinistry.com. Check it out and maybe find out what your students do with media.

New York—According to a report from the nonprofit Common Sense Media, teenagers spend about nine hours each day using media for their enjoyment. That doesn’t include media use for homework.

Calling the numbers “mind-boggling,” James Steyer, the group’s CEO, said teenagers “spend far more time with media technology than any other thing in their life. This is the dominant intermediary in their life.”

The study also found that 67 percent of teenagers have their own smartphones, poorer kids have less access to technology, and boys gravitate toward gaming, while girls prefer social media. Only 10 percent of teens rank social media as their favorite activity, however, and Steyer believes that’s because checking those sites now feels like a requirement. “They don’t love [social media],” he said, “and that’s good, in my opinion.”

One person who stopped loving social media is Essena O’Neill, a 19-year-old model who had more than 1 million followers on various platforms. This week, she announced she’s quitting social media, saying it made her miserable and wasn’t “real life.” Post are “edited and contrived to get more views,” she told followers before deleting her pages. “Social media is an illusion.”

O’Neill said she followed famous people on social media, trying to emulate them. But then she realized, “I didn’t live in the real world, I lived through screens. And I created a celebrity construct of myself, believing it would bring me happiness. That couldn’t be further away from the truth.”

O’Neill, who’s launching a website called “Let’s Be Game Changers,” said, “I no longer want to spend hours and hours of my time scrolling, viewing, and comparing myself to others. I want to do something, anything, something radical, something a little different. I want to use my imagination, my individual mind, my unique take on the world.”

Sources: commonsensemedia.org, cnn.com

Teens Still On Facebook

facebookThere have been different voices talking about what social media outlets teens are using. For the last year or so many people have been saying that teens are moving away from Facebook. With the growth of Instagram, SnapChat and other outlets, the fairly common opinion was that students were abandoning Facebook.

As someone who works with students, I’m always looking for ways to communicate with students and I go back and forth between social media outlets. Most times, I use both Facebook and Instagram along with a group texting service.

A recent article from the Pew Research Center shows that teens chose Facebook most often out of the social media options. From a survey of teens ages 13-17, it shows that 41% of teens use Facebook most often. While they are using other social media utilities, it’s interesting to me that Facebook leads the way.

Social media continues to change.  I wonder what will be popular when my almost 2 year old reaches the teen years.  Right now, Facebook seems to be on top for teens.

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Syd’s Got A Blog

10455035About a week ago, I saw a tweet with a link to a WordPress blog and I discovered – my daughter has a blog!

So far she has just a few posts and I’m not sure what brought on the idea to blog. But, speaking as unbiased observer, it is pretty good. You should go check it out. Click here to go to Syd’s blog.

She has written about choosing joy and quotes The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews (a good book by the way).  She’s talked about being ready when opportunity comes knocking and how being prepared and opportunities coming your way seem to be related. Her third post looks at social media and our culture’s desire to be known and have influence in that arena.  All in all, I would say there are some good observations…coming from an a totally unbiased perspective, of course.

Happy reading!

Instagram Continues to Grow

instagramI saw a link on Facebook that pointed to the Instagram blog where it was shared that the social media utility has grown to 300 million users. 300 Million! That makes my follower count seem even smaller.

Instagram passed Twitter in number of users a several months ago. I checked today and the number of Twitter users is 288 million with 500 million tweets sent each day. That’s not too shabby.

Pretty remarkable is the fact that Facebook is still quite popular. In December, 2014, the number of daily active users was 890 million.

Those numbers make it pretty clear that people are engaging in a number of different ways through social media.  Some folks were saying that Facebook was dying, but it seems they are still going strong.  While different age groups might be using different outlets (SnapChat, Instagram, etc), social media is a powerful tool to connect people.  It will be interesting to see how it continues to grow and what new trends develop in the future.