What is social media?

Who uses social media?

All ages use all types of ‘social’ however there are quite specific age ranges using specific platforms and you have to bear this in mind when building your towers or groups social media presence. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, WhatsApp and LinkedIn (for business and jobs) still have the majority of the market with YouTube staying at the top with the mighty Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram (all owned by Facebook) next in line.

For younger generations it’s second nature, in say Snapchat they communicate with each other on a minute-by-minute basis blowing out of the water the stale old clichés about non-engagement. Families have Facebook groups. With families sometimes spread all over the world it’s a safe and friendly way to share pictures and short video clips of the grandchildren, catch up on news and stay connected. Instagram and YouTube are examples of media sharing networks and are so full of photos, information and how-to videos you get sucked in and digress very easily. Pinterest and Flipboard are examples of bookmarking sites where you collect and curate ideas and find inspiration. It’s endless.

All these people wanting to communicate, and the numbers are staggering:

  • 4.14 billion active global social media users.
  • 4.08 billion using their mobile devices for access. NB make all your websites and platforms mobile compliant.
  • There are 45-50 million social media users in the UK.
  • 61-65% of people aged 45-64+ use Facebook.
  • 27-30% of people aged 25-65+ use WhatsApp.

The most common platforms

The most used/ successful multi-media social network platform is Facebook so we will keep to this for now.

» Get started with Facebook

Facebook Pages

Businesses, organisations, companies, brands, celebrities and causes have an outward-looking Facebook page. It is a specifically created public profile updating people who have ‘liked’ their page to new events, statuses, links, photos and videos. You could like specific pages of organisations connected to ringing and their posts would show on your news feed.

Facebook Groups

A group is a place where users can join as members to engage with others frequently. All group posts show up on the group feed. The emphasis is on interaction. Towns, villages, hobby and interest groups, have inward-looking safer feeling Facebook groups where they can be private to foster a sense of safe community. Here people can seek specific information, gather support for an event and share their stories for others to see and comment on. We have various bell ringing Facebook groups. There are general, guild and society ones too all servicing our different outlooks and needs.


There is also the ‘micro bloggin’ system, Twitter.

Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages. People post Tweets, which may contain photos, videos, links, and text. These messages are posted to your profile, sent to your followers, and are searchable on Twitter. Twitter feeds are a great way of getting information out there and for networking. Building your tower a Twitter feed is another way of connecting to the outside world. Twitter is more easy going than Facebook and with a 240 character limit to each tweet makes for a snappy fast moving feed. Again you can follow people, places and organisations of interest and they can follow you.

» Get started with Twitter

Why use social media?

Because it’s communication in technicolour, because the world has joined up it’s dots and is no longer so disparate, because in order to be visible and not shrink we need to be out there fighting for our place in the hobby/sport and interest group arena. Because it’s quick. With smart phones and instant messaging, response times have lessened to almost conversation speed. Which is great if you need to quickly get ringers into your tower for an unexpected event or replacing a person who has dropped out of a quarter or a peal or you are on a committee and need to double check details before you write an ad for an event over a sandwich in your lunchtime.

Use it to build a social media presence for your tower or Guild. Tell people about it. Show them what you have been doing, link up to other pages so that your town, city and its news media outlets, local radio and television, know about you and when you are doing something of interest.

Because, if you ‘like’ others pages’ it will connect you to other ringers from other parts of the UK, distant countries, church groups, heritage pages or your favourite holiday resort.

How to behave

Mostly people just want to be nice. Remember to use emojis to lighten the mood and show you are joking or to react to another’s post without saying anything.

Whilst freedom of speech is at the heart of any social media, heated discussions arise and sometimes sinks to a slanging match. If you can be thick skinned about it then that’s good. Do not get dragged into any serious arguments. And don’t start any. It’s just tedious unless you have a wicked mind and an asbestos psyche.

When writing any social media post it is essential that you really check it before pressing that button. Things to check:

  • ALWAYS check for spelling and grammar.
  • ALWAYS check that links work.
  • ALWAYS check for tags.
  • ALWAYS be nice, think twice and check twice for errors.
  • Usually try and add pictures for humour, irony or impact.

It is so annoying to see a clever tweet or post that has taken hours to create only to see a missed opportunity once it has gone live. Twitter still won’t let you edit but Facebook will, thankfully.

Deb Baker, CCCBR

Is ringing a sport?

Nothing demonstrated social media’s power more clearly for bell ringing than the question “Is ringing a sport?”

Facebook went crazy with huge, long discussions and frank exchanges on all the bell ringing groups and Twitter feeds including those of the national and local newspapers, national and local radio stations.

With no money used, the bell ringing world was alight.

It was publicity gold that we could not have bought and ended in a huge publicity coup for ringing

What's next?

» Return to the recruitment and retention home page

» Return to read about ideas for recruiting ringers

» The social media thing