We've now had hundreds of responses to the Faith In Social Media research study - thank you for your participation. It's been extremely helpful to read about the different experiences of so many people across the country and around the world, and the mainstream media interest has been fascinating as well. Further down the page, as a token of gratitude, you'll find some of the findings so far - ahead of the report's publication later in the year.
But with just one month of data collection left, I'm writing to ask if you could encourage your friends, colleagues, family members and social media contacts to also share their experiences via the www.faithinsocialmedia.orgquestionnaires. The more data we have, the more representative the findings will be. This in turn will improve the practical advice that can then be offered to social media users and faith leaders who want to engage people online about spiritual matters. Please share the link as widely as you can, online and through church news bulletins, etc. Whether you can invite 5 people, 10 or 100 to take part, that would be massively helpful. Thank you!
Key findings so far...
- 86% of respondents 'often' or 'sometimes' talk or write about their faith, with 76% thinking social media is an appropriate platform for this.
- One quarter of those surveyed feel 'uncomfortable' mentioning their faith on social media.
- Around 70% of respondents feel happy sharing social media posts originated by religious leaders and/or faith-based organisations.
- 22% of respondents indicate they are comfortable sharing their own prayers via social media channels (39% suggest they are happy to share a prayer written by someone else).
- In terms of reaction to faith-related social media posts, respondents report they are slightly more likely to receive a negative response from a member of their own faith, compared to a member of a different faith, although more than 70% say they 'rarely' or 'never' receive any critical reaction and only 9% feel discouraged about sharing their faith online.
- 49% of respondents report that their faith leaders actively encourage them to use social media to discuss spiritual matters, while 48% say social media is rarely/never talked about (the remaining 3% report that social media use is actively discouraged by their leaders).
The detailed report, covering all of the subject areas investigated in the study will be published later in the year. It will also draw on longer interviews with practitioners of different backgrounds and experiences, crime reports and other sources. In appreciation for your participation, a copy will be emailed to you when it is ready.
Thank you again for your support.