Over the past couple years, religionistas of all sorts have attempted to navigate a new media landscape in which old constructions of religious authority, identity, and practice are changing almost by the minute. This surely marks the beginning something of a Second Coming of religion in digitally-integrated form.
As we wait and watch this holiday season for, among other things, news of the much-anticipated Facebook IPOâ€”perhaps the only miracle story compelling enough to capture our attention in these economic dark timesâ€”it seems worthwhile to take a look at some trends in social media (ordered pretty much as they came into my head) that are reshaping religion and spirituality:
1. Social Prayer
Throughout 2011, the â€œJesus Dailyâ€ Facebook page has outranked soccer superpowers and celebrity superstars like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber as the â€œmost engagingâ€ locale on Facebook. But itâ€™s hardly spiritually lonely at the top for the inspiration and prayer page started by weight-loss doctor Aaron Tabor. The â€œDios Es Buenoâ€ (God is Good), â€œThe Bible,â€ and â€œJoyce Mercer Ministriesâ€ pages all hang out in the top ten, and five more religious pages fill out the bottom half of the top twenty. In all, more than half of the top twenty most engaging pagesâ€”pages that move beyond mere broadcast messaging to share content that inspires participants to interact with one anotherâ€”are religious. [more]