Media and Internet use in France (and the Adventists)

Recently the agency Mediametrie.fr has published the results of its researchs about the use and consommation of media and Internet in France in the European territory and French overseas.

The results were almost predictable. However, this reading of several articles has allowed me to understand a little bit better the niche of internal audiences and the incompatibility of our mindset and the external audiences of the Seventh-day adventist church.

To avoid being too technical, I am going to shorten Mediametrie’s research data.

1. Global Internet audience in France in February 2018.

  • 52.3 million individuals have connected to the Internet at least once in February 2018, that’s the 83.5% of the French population aged 2 and over.
  • On average, 42.6 million Internet users have connected to the Internet every day, that represents the 67.9% of the French population. Among the daily netizens, more than 1 in 10 (11.5%) use the three screens (computer, mobile, tablet).
  • Reported to the entire French population aged 2 and over, the time spent per day and person is on average 38 minutes on computer and 41 minutes on mobile.

The result is indisputable. The 83.5% of the French population is connected on the Internet. (Source : Mediametrie). This is the only way to get around the barriers presented by the legal frame in France called “laïcité” (secularism).

2. The Computer Video Audience in France in January 2018,

  • In January 2018, 29.5 million people watched at least one video at their computer, that represents almost the half (47.1%) of the French population aged 2 and over.
  • They have spent nearly a quarter (23%) of their monthly video time.

In any case, more than half of Internet users consume audiovisual media on the Internet. (Source : Mediametrie).

3. The 2017 Overseas Media Year

  • On average, more than 80% of the overseas population watch TV every day.
  • Thus, the 85% of the inhabitants of the Antilles, Gouyana or Reunion have already connected to the Internet, today, they are 3 out of 4 surfing the web every month. (Source : Mediametrie).

Without being naive, these results led me to reflect on the state of the communications in the Adventist Church, at least in the north of France where I currently serve.

Communications in the metropolitan area at digital level are a little outdated. Recently, and thanks to the services of HopeMedia FFN, The Northern France Conference (FFN) has changed and updated the website, now more active, interactive, adaptable to all screens, and using several servers to distribute the content and speed up the loading time of the website.

Nevertheless, the Adventist habits consuming Internet and medias do not coincide with the patterns detected by Mediametrie. In a meeting with representatives of the churches of the FFN I asked the question: «How many people here today are connected?» The answer took me unsuspecting. Only the 10 or 15% of people present raised their hand.

In short, I found a significant gap between the Adventist population and the general metropolitan society. To shorten, having reflected on the results of Mediametrie and my short experience as responsible for communications at the FFN here are my conclusions, which should bring us to take some actions.

Conclusions :

1. The main target of the administration and officials of the FFN and churches using the media is not the general public. In other words, we focus on ourselves.

This may be because differents reasosn: promote our activities, defend our leadership, of course, a need and desire for transparency towards our members, may be as well, being afraid of changing our speech.

2. We are not used to informing. We prefer to promote activities but we find it difficult to offer these activities to the general public. Most promotions use an internal language that can only be understood by very few among the non-Adventists.

3. The generations leading the local churches are not familiar to the new technologies and the digital world.

What has caught me by surprise is that the digital audiences in overseas regions have catched up the traditional media audiences. But it seems a very recent shift (that’s the result of the 2017 research, but the tendance does not seem to have started too far away, but around 2014 or even later). So, the reality of our church in the FFN region is “offset” Alors, la réalité de notre église sur la région FFN it is offset with the present social context.

There are several conclusions to note, but it is better to propose initiatives that can help us to improve this reality.

Initiatives :

  1. To invest in internal communication using language understandable by external audiences.
  2. Improve our digital media, update all possible websites at all levels.
  3. Produce content targeted to non-Adventists. Yes, the prophecy and some other messages are very important and necessary, but not the only ones. We “over-feed” ourselves without feeding those around us. In addition, it is our true purpose and call as a church and prophetic movement. This must be done without stopping to do the other …
  4. Promote youth engagement in leadership positions in local churches, and rather, in media ministries, communications and Internet.
  5. Engagement at a personal level in digital platforms by each church member, such as social media, blogs, use of new technologies, etcetera.
  6. At institutional level,
    1. Not fearing to enter the digital world.
    2. Not fearing to contact and open doors to secular media.
    3. Not fearing to become proactive showing our opinion and acting in social and civil life.

We could add several other initiatives, but this short list is enough to reflect on the future of the church as a living institution, communicative and proactive in the society around it.

Download this paper as a PDF here.

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