In case you didn’t know, people lie on the internet. Social media is full of half truths, doctored statements and photoshopped images. Just in case you didn’t know, your mom is the only one who will honestly tell the truth about you. I’ve also become quite proficient at “creeping out” potential suitors for my teenagers. So be warned, my beloveds. (If you don’t know what that means…nevermind). And since my mom is not on social media, I can say that, without the consequences falling down on me. It won’t be long, though. Grandmas have had the highest percentage of growth in social media over the last four years — tripling their usage during that time. Heaven knows I admit to watching a few of those viral grandma TikToks. So much for the mom warnings of “too much screens”.
I’m going to blame it on this crazy 2020 year of global pandemics and killer viruses. Streaming has become the only “safe” thing to do. Throw out the notions of fresh air, hands-on learning and human connection, our brains must now process only through flashed images, text and emojis. No longer do we benefit from multigenerational gatherings and mentoring from the generation before. Parenting groups and “Friends” dominate our feeds… 75% of young parents use social media and turn to it for parenting advice. We Google before we call our mother. No longer can we worship corporately or pray at the altars. Please email your requests, or use the appropriate hashtag: #churchonline
Obviously, you can see what I’ve been musing about this week. Like many of you, I’m getting tired of online school, Zoom meetings and “nothing to do” but watch Netflix. Not that Netflix is complaining… their users have admitted to watching 80% more during this year than pre-Covid. It’s a new world and heaven help you if you can’t keep up. The hubby shared some interesting stats with me this week from today’s marketers:
- the world wide population in December 2019 is pegged at 7.8 billion people; the internet has 4.54 billion users
- on average, a person has almost 8 social media accounts
- we spend an average of 142 minutes a day on those accounts
- 78% of people who complain about a brand on Twitter expect a response within an hour
- Google processes an average of 40 000 queries every second! 15% of those have never been asked before
- there are an estimated 270 million fake Facebook accounts
- people now watch 1 billion hours of YouTube videos every day
- the most liked Instagram picture is of an egg (whoo hoo…see… chickens are lit)
Those are staggering statistics. No wonder I hardly have any followers… they are all looking at pretty eggs and YouTube… or maybe grandmas on TikTock. Who wants to read about me and my faith journey? Or are Jesus followers lagging behind? I suspect this 2011 stat has changed drastically since March of 2020, but back then, only 60% of protestant churches in the US were using any forms of social media networks for the “promotion” of church. True, there is a lot of bad stuff out there. A lot. But how will the light shine through the darkness if we are hiding it under the proverbial bushel basket?
I get it. Technology is hard. It changes fast. And there is some sort of balance we need to reach between filling our minds with good and pure things… and just filling our minds. Admittedly, there is not much Bible based stuff out there… comparatively speaking… and what is out there is lacking. Yet, the trends are changing. The newer, younger generation is gifted and used to life via the almighty screen. I’m encouraged by scripture posts and media streaming filled with “good” content. Perhaps God has given us a pandemic to kick start us into finding new ways to share the Gospel. Businesses have had to adapt their “marketing”… why shouldn’t the church?
I say these things, but I will be the first to admit that I’m terrible at technology. I’d love to learn how to create new Instagram Reels or YouTube instructional videos… but that takes time. And I struggle with my time already getting sucked into social media. I’m just as guilty of scrolling away my downtime as anyone else. Like any other discipline, though, I suppose learning new technology could be worthy of that time. Should I eat my own words? Am I part of the problem? Will my introvert self overcome my own fears for the sake of pressing the church into the 21st century? Okay. Maybe not.
I guess, like all parts of this faith journey, technology and the use of it will be another small step. I want to see more … I want to use it more for God’s Glory, but it’s one of those grey areas that can so easily entrap. 4.54 billion Internet users though…. What do you think? Share with me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter…
Thanks to brandwatch.com and Facts&Trends for the stats in this week’s post!