Thanks for popping by. This site, as you've probably gathered by now, is supporting my postgraduate research study into how people of faith use social media to express that faith.
Why is this interesting? Much has been written - particularly by Christian authors - about how believers can/should/must use the technology that's emerged over the last 10-15 years to spread the gospel or make disciples. But very little has been written about whether this is effective or well received.
The effects of extremism (ostensibly in the name of 'religion') and cultural dynamics in a generally cynical West appear to be creating an atmosphere where even the devout are less keen to be linked with fanaticism and assumed to have similarly 'extreme' views. Shortly after tragic shootings in the Californian city, the apparently benign practice of using the Twitter hashtag #PrayForSanBernardino was criticised by individuals who felt that it was a poor substitute for 'actually doing something'. And so the concept of 'prayer shaming' was born. Even disagreements among followers of the same faith have apparently given rise to self-censorship and avoidance of some 'hot topics'.
And yet talk about God, faith and personal beliefs is still rife across social media. This study aims to identify what factors are at play, whether social media is a true vehicle for free speech with respect to personal faith, and aims to equip faith leaders and organisations with evidence to help the development of guidelines and resources that can help those associated with them.
If you can spend a few minutes to fill in the survey, that would be immensely helpful. Please share as widely as you feel able (on social media or otherwise!).