Are you on tumblr? Because your students are

Yesterday, Jeremy Smith wrote a great post about Everything Your Youth Ministry website needs, and we decided to turn it into a bit of a series on how to create a great website for your Youth Ministry.

Later in this series, we will talk about the best platform for hosting your Youth Ministry website, but today, not even necessarily as part of the series, I wanted to talk about a recent trend among Students – Tumbling.

Tumblr was launched in 2007, but it really wasn’t until recent months that its popularity fully took off, and now Teens seem to be one of the biggest demographics using the site. Sure, teens use the internet a lot, and there are a number of sites they frequent on a daily basis. But it wasn’t until recently when I started hearing a majority of students in our youth group start saying “I hardly ever use Facebook, I’m only on Tumblr most days.”

It wasn’t just one student, but a majority of them. I’ve been amazed as I started looking into it more and more, our students, at least, do prefer Tumblr far more than Facebook. But a key piece is that none of them plan on closing their Facebook accounts. As one student put it

“Facebook will always be necessary, but its where I go to get information. Tumblr is where I get to be me and explore myself and my friends.”

Using Tumblr in student ministry

So what does this mean for Youth Ministry?

First off, Tumblr isn’t just for teens. It’s not like adults don’t tumble or anything like that, so if you join Tumblr, your students shouldn’t think your weird. At the same time, don’t join tumblr just for the sake of Checking in on your students. The teens I talked to really made it clear they get to express themselves on Tumblr in a way they don’t get to on Facebook or anywhere else. The info they share on there is very valuable to them, and something they cherish. Don’t abuse that fact. Don’t be the Youth Pastor that starts calling them out on any little thing they post, because many students are extremely vulnerable with what they post. (Im not talking about stuff that could be dangerous, but pick your battles).

Secondly, get a presence for your Student Ministry on Tumblr. Its super easy to join, and super easy to tumble. But you want to make it even better? You don’t ever have to tumble. Most likely, any number of your students would jump at the opportunity to make a tumblr for your Youth Ministry and run the site for you. As well get into later in the Youth Ministry Website series, keep tabs on whats being posted and in the loop, but Ultimately, give ownership to the student. They will do a better job than you will, no matter how tech savvy you may be.

Third, I would say it calls into question our communication methods. Somewhat similar to the previous two points, Tumblr is where most of our students are at, at least in my Ministry. But for the past few years, it seems the big mantra in Youth Ministry Communication has been along the lines of “Facebook Facebook Facebook.” If you only rely on Facebook to communicate things in your Youth ministry, first off thats dumb, but mostly, your missing your audience. I know this seems weird compared to what we have been doing the last few years, but its true. The way teens use Facebook is changing, and has been for a while. Where as a few years ago it was “Cool” to be on Facebook, now its just another thing in the daily grind.

How are you using or plan on using Tumblr in your Student Ministry?

25 Comments

  1. I think it varies greatly by region. For example, Where I am in Indiana, the "facebook exodus to twitter" only began about a month ago, and is still taking place. 2 years ago, no one here really knew much about twitter.
    • Oh, I agree, it definitely varies by region. I imagine many where we moved from still aren't on twitter, where as here in Boston, we have like 85% of our students on twitter. But, I think Tumblr and Twitter are viewed as different things by teens. I view them as somewhat similar in the microblogging arena, but can see the differences. Teens only see the differences, and their choice is Tumblr (for now)
  2. I think it varies greatly by region. For example, Where I am in Indiana, the "facebook exodus to twitter" only began about a month ago, and is still taking place. 2 years ago, no one here really knew much about twitter.
    • Oh, I agree, it definitely varies by region. I imagine many where we moved from still aren't on twitter, where as here in Boston, we have like 85% of our students on twitter. But, I think Tumblr and Twitter are viewed as different things by teens. I view them as somewhat similar in the microblogging arena, but can see the differences. Teens only see the differences, and their choice is Tumblr (for now)
  3. Great post! I'll have to check it out. I remember a couple of my students beginning to talk about Tumblr. My students were just starting to make the mass exodus to Twitter.
  4. Great post! I'll have to check it out. I remember a couple of my students beginning to talk about Tumblr. My students were just starting to make the mass exodus to Twitter.
  5. I think it really does depend on where you live. Facebook is still number 1 where I'm at, and I never here any of my students talking about twitter or tumblr. However, there's nothing wrong with being sensitive to what your students are into and understand how you can use it as a tool. I would say if your students aren't using a social media website, don't feel like you need to push it in your student ministry, just to stay relevant.
  6. I think it really does depend on where you live. Facebook is still number 1 where I'm at, and I never here any of my students talking about twitter or tumblr. However, there's nothing wrong with being sensitive to what your students are into and understand how you can use it as a tool. I would say if your students aren't using a social media website, don't feel like you need to push it in your student ministry, just to stay relevant.
  7. [...] From Church News Source: http://2fe.966.myftpupload.com/2012/02/are-you-on-tumblr-because-your-students-are/ ____________________________________________________ #family movie -THE LAMP- one family's loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic #kidmin Article Continues Below Sponsor Information If you could have anything, what would YOU ask for? Can finding an old oil lamp, complete with a genie, REALLY make your life better? The characters in the movie “The Lamp” learn that there’s a lot more to life than what you THINK you need! Here’s what one viewer had to say about this movie- “The Lamp is an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit to create from within. Trost Moving Pictures does an amazing job of winding the story line through each character. An excellent and inspiring message for viewers of any age. Great message!!! Enjoy!!!”Lynne J Baecker Find out more and pick up a copy of this DVD for your family! CLICK HEREUsing Tumblr in student ministry . So what does this … Secondly, get a presence for your Student Ministry on Tumblr. Its super easy to join, … How are you using or plan on using Tumblr in your Student Ministry [...]
  8. [...] From Church News Source: http://2fe.966.myftpupload.com/2012/02/are-you-on-tumblr-because-your-students-are/ ____________________________________________________ #family movie -THE LAMP- one family's loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic #kidmin Article Continues Below Sponsor Information If you could have anything, what would YOU ask for? Can finding an old oil lamp, complete with a genie, REALLY make your life better? The characters in the movie “The Lamp” learn that there’s a lot more to life than what you THINK you need! Here’s what one viewer had to say about this movie- “The Lamp is an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit to create from within. Trost Moving Pictures does an amazing job of winding the story line through each character. An excellent and inspiring message for viewers of any age. Great message!!! Enjoy!!!”Lynne J Baecker Find out more and pick up a copy of this DVD for your family! CLICK HEREUsing Tumblr in student ministry . So what does this … Secondly, get a presence for your Student Ministry on Tumblr. Its super easy to join, … How are you using or plan on using Tumblr in your Student Ministry [...]
    • Your missing what I'm saying about a way to use it. I probably chose a bad title, but if your using it for your Youth Website, your not using it, your giving it to a student to run. Secondly, I would put it in a top three social network for me. I have a good chunk of students on twitter, but all of those students are much more active on tumblr than twitter and Facebook combined. Google+ still is a lost cause on teens. I'm not sharing this as another social network for Youth Pastors to impress each other with, but more "Hey, real ministry could happen here" sort of deal.
    • Your missing what I'm saying about a way to use it. I probably chose a bad title, but if your using it for your Youth Website, your not using it, your giving it to a student to run. Secondly, I would put it in a top three social network for me. I have a good chunk of students on twitter, but all of those students are much more active on tumblr than twitter and Facebook combined. Google+ still is a lost cause on teens. I'm not sharing this as another social network for Youth Pastors to impress each other with, but more "Hey, real ministry could happen here" sort of deal.
  9. I've had a Tumblr since 2007 and while it is a lot of fun, there is something to be careful of. Tumblr actively allows and even supports pornography. It is almost inescapable on the site if you actively use it. Seriously, this is coming from someone who used to make hundreds of posts a month. I finally had to close mine down last month due to personal temptation.

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