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Your Communication's Shelf-Life


If you have been actively involved in any organization long enough, especially if it's been in a church or ministry, you understand how challenging it is to communicate.  It is hard to get people's attention.  Just because you send an email, tweet or Facebook post to your congregation, doesn't mean people have read it. The messages you send, don't last forever.  Their impact and the chance that they will be seen and read diminishes quickly after only a couple of hours after it is sent.

Below is an interesting study by the URL shortening service bit.ly on how long a link is "alive” before people stop engaging with it and whether it matters what kind of content it is or through what channel it was shared.

By calculating what bitly is calling the link's 'half life' (the time it takes a link to receive half the clicks it will ever receive after it’s reached its peak), bitly evaluated the persistence of 1,000 popular bitly links, and found some strikingly similar results.

Half Life Research Results:
The mean half life of a link on Twitter is 2.8 hours.
The mean half life of a link on Facebook is 3.2 hours.
The mean half life of a link via ‘direct’ sources such as email or instant messaging clients is 3.4 hours.
The mean half life of a link on YouTube is 7.4 hours.

So what are some takeaways for the church from this study?
  • Communication must be repetitive.  It is never "one and done".
  • It is important to change up sending your communications on different times and different days in order to capture people's attention.  
  • You must communicate along a variety of different channels - communicating the same message, via email, twitter, facebook, in print, on the platform Sunday morning, texting (SMS), etc... 
  • Also remembering the axiom, just become someone has been communicated AT, doesn't mean they've been communicated TO.  You can never assume just because an email was sent, or a Facebook wall posted that your audience has received, and read your message.

(ht: HubSpot)

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