Social Media among teenagers is not going anywhere. However it is changing. Although 94% of online teens say that Facebook is their primary profile twitter use has doubled. Instagram is rising fast and Tumblr, which was recently in the news for being bought by Yahoo for 1.1 billion, is on the rise.
Teens are much more likely now to have multiple social networks. I personally have heard teens say that they have a public face on Facebook, but they share real stuff on Twitter and Tumblr.
Pew Internet Research Center has release a great report on teenage life and social media that has some great implications for youth ministry and college ministry also. Here is a couple findings to note.
Twitter is on the rise
Teen Twitter use has grown significantly: 24% of online teens use Twitter, up from 16% in 2011.
Two in five (39%) African-American teens use Twitter, while 23% of white teens use the service.
In focus groups, many teens expressed waning enthusiasm for Facebook. They dislike the increasing number of adults on the site, get annoyed when their Facebook friends share inane details, and are drained by the “drama” that they described as happening frequently on the site. The stress of needing to manage their reputation on Facebook also contributes to the lack of enthusiasm. Nevertheless, the site is still where a large amount of socializing takes place, and teens feel they need to stay on Facebook in order to not miss out.
One in three online teens (33%) say they have had an experience online that made them feel closer to another person.
So where does this leave your ministry and it’s strategy?
Facebook is still the primary place to be active, but it’s important to find out if your community of teenagers are more active on other services such as Twitter or Instagram. Many youth ministries are switching to messaging and text based communication. (For a great Text messaging service for youth groups check out my post on remind101.com )
It is important to be involved in the conversation. This does not mean you have to be a social media expert, but be a listening ear. Be there for that one in three teens who say they have had an experience online that made them feel closer to another person.
We use to use these technologies as communication tools. They are becoming more than that though. They are becoming the home for real relationships. Definitely a place where relationships that are started face to face are being extended and deepened.
Next week. How do we safely and effectively minister on social media…
Photo use from the Creative Commons on Flikr user jean_pierre_gallot_69009