Spent last week with a batch of friends at the Txt2Speech conference put on by the fine folks at Center for Youth Ministry Training. Figured I would share some of my notes of interest from the conference.
As a youth ministry, and society culture, we often times give too much influence over what we do to the “The Moth Myth”. The Moth Myth is that idea that if we can just get the latest technology (cultural find), that lights up & is shiny cool, the youth will be attracted to them. Thus attracted to our ministry.
So we have many times sold our soul to the notion that being on social media will attract teens to our ministries. If this is our reasoning for using tech/social media, then we stop way short of understanding the actual needs / fears / motivations that drive young people to use social media in such hyperactive manner.
“Teenagers largely use social for the potential to foster “presence-in-absence” and deep relationships.” – Craig Watkins
So why are teens attracted to social media?
- Developmental need for social interaction
- Overcome imposed separation of place space & time
- Reduce social anxiety
- Reduces social inhibition
- Overcome a ‘faceless’ society
A teenagers social media use is driven by relational needs, not a cool gadget or tech trick. If we can, as a youth ministry body, speak into these internal needs of the teenager then we stand the chance of providing an environment that brings youth because of meeting needs, not ‘the next greatest thing’.