Hot Take: Don’t post Daylight Saving Images on your Church’s Social Media

I’m going to get angry emails about this one. I can feel it already. Even worse than this post about church music.

Let’s take a step back before we jump into opinions on this one, and consider some facts, then we’ll talk about the real issues of why churches want to communicate Daylight Saving and time changes.

(by the way, my concern has nothing to do with Daylight Saving – that’s just a clear symptom of something else… keep reading).

Fact: According to Pew Research, 77% of Americans own a smartphone (full article). This means that the device they most likely use to tell time automatically updates with the time change.

Fact: Another 22% own a cell phone, not designated as a smartphone, so we can’t say for sure what percentage of those automatically update, but some will.

95% of Americans own a cell phone.

Besides smartphone owners, there are many other avenues of hearing about time changes in the spring and fall:

  • Listening to the radio
  • Watching the news on TV
  • Reading the paper
  • Reminders from friends and family
  • Someone else who lives in your house owns a smartphone (if you’re not in the 77+%)
  • It’s printed on the calendar in your kitchen
  • You just remember because this happens every spring and fall

In order to factually justify that YOU are the reason someone remembered the time change and showed up on time for church would be to find someone who meets all 5 of the following criteria:

  1. Doesn’t own a smartphone
  2. Doesn’t live with someone who owns a smartphone
  3. Attends your church
  4. Follows you on social media
  5. Happens to be in the 10% of the people who see that particular post (based on facebook / Instagrams algorithms)

My point: Churches (as with any online entity on Social Media) have limited attention given to us. We all get a piece of the puzzle in Facebook, Twitter or Instagram’s algorithm. Knowing that our ‘social media audience’ is not relying on us to learn about or remember the time change, why waste that attention?

An exception could be if you’re posting something that pushes your church culture forward, or actually creates attention from people who don’t attend your church – a funny video about being able to sleep in and still come to church, or a values-centered discussion about how your church is using that extra hour to clean up garbage at a local park before service starts, for example.¬†

If that’s your exception, go for it, because you’re actually communicating¬†your culture, with the time change as a topic. If you’re just posting a “don’t forget” graphic then just forget it.

This isn’t about Daylight Saving…

My concern is not about whether or not to communicate Daylight Saving. My concern is that churches, given the information above, think this is an efficient use of communication and attention, attribute time to making or finding graphics, writing content and wasting attention.

Why does this happen? Here are some possibilities.

 

1. This is how we’ve always done it.

Great! That’s worked before, but it’s no longer valid. We don’t put diapers on our child once they’re potty trained, put gas in a car that doesn’t run any longer or purchase a new fax machine for every new employee. Be willing to say “up until now we’ve been doing X, and from now on we’ll be doing Y” (hint: in 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months or 5 years, you may be saying “up until now we’ve been doing Y, and from now on we’ll be doing Z”

 

2. I don’t feel like being creative today

Let’s be honest. This is a simple way to check the box of “posted something on facebook today.” Maybe this is because you’ve got too much on your plate, you’re not feeling creative, you try and figure things out day-to-day without a long-term strategy, or you simply don’t care, other than checking the box that says “I posted something on facebook today.”

We’ve got to be more intentional. People need our church. They need Jesus. They need to learn about the hope we have. Getting lazy isn’t serving them or you. It’s time to build a strategy, delegate strategy building or have some conversations about whether or not this is for you.

 

3. The concern that “if we don’t post this, someone won’t find out.

If this reason resonated with you, then I’m sorry I haven’t been able to communicate how blatantly ineffective this is. It’s also possible, you’re looking for a reason not to change, and if that’s the case, despite facts, logic and the opportunity to use that attention towards helping your followers and community learn more about your church’s culture and pointing them to Jesus, it’s time for a gut check.

 

This doesn’t have to be a touchy subject, but for some reason it is. If you need to talk, let it out, or help me see something I’m missing: adam@adammclaughlin.net

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