The Single Most Effective Way to Reach the Sound Byte Generation

This is a guest post by Karen Farris. If you would like to submit a guest article, please check out our guest post guidelines.


Back before the turn of the century, I became an abstinence educator in the public schools. Online activities were clearly becoming the reality. Nowadays every teen has a hand-held computer by virtue of their cell phone.

To truly connect to this 30-second sound byte generation, words and images need to be packaged tight.  Messages have to be relevant, easy-to-grasp, and entertaining.

Not an easy task. After a decade of presenting healthy-choices messages to students, I learned what works best.

1.  Websites need to change frequently.

Consider how often we change our clothes. Even little things will be noticed.  Watch the news for relevant topics for your audience. My audience at my Wait for Marriage blog connects to things dealing with STDs, Jersey Shore, and Lady Gaga.

2.  Make Facebook Friends and Fans.

Facebook now tops the list of most teens’ daily media diet. Over half of my “friends” are students who at one time heard me speak. Now I can speak even more often—without appearing as an “educator.”  Make Facebook friends.

3. Take Advantage of Social Networking Opportunities

After ten years dealing with teens I realized more than half of the problems came from their broken homes. My next project: Home Life. Families are a composite of their past and present with hopes for a brighter future. They are often taped together with love, but pulled apart by culture wars.

What to do? Use Facebook and blog opportunities. Friday Tidings: Thoughts for the Journey was created to inspire families to consider challenging themselves to be better for a stronger future.

4. Write Tight Titles

For both websites and blogging the most effective tool in my chest is the blog title. Truly, if the title gets them in, then three or four well-worded paragraphs will most likely be read.

Tracking my website statistics for ten years now shows what articles attracted the most readers. Coming in at #3 (947) was an article inspired by the Twilight series, Vampires, Sex & Teen Girl Fantasy Relationships.

At #2 was STD Statistics (2233) and clearly in first place was Sex Roulette (6580).

On the blog, Friday Tidings, the popular titles were: Last Chance! Judgment Day Tomorrow!, Marriage and the In-Law Reality, and Are Facebook Friends Real Friends?

We need to keep changing as media changes, but we can remain constant with message we carry. Teens and families are seeking strong foundations and today’s problems give us an opportunity to share the truth in love.

Karen Farris is a Care Net Abstinence Educator. She’s happily married, with grown kids. She writes: “My life is a journey and I’m looking forward to the destination. But the daily travel is where I hope to make a difference.”

More Headline-Writing Pointers:

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  • Mary Hake

    We’ll have a teen coaching class with Caleb Breakey at the OCW writers’ conference Aug. 15-18. http://www.oregonchristianwriters.com

  • http://chilawoychik.com Chila Woychik

    excellent thoughts!

  • http://www.facebook.com/slateandchalk.net Shakti Saran

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