Title: Faith on Facebook: A Replication Study Exploring the Effects of Church Communication on a Social Media Platform
Stream: Social Media and Communication Technology
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Melissa Rodriguez, Regent University, United States
Joel Ramsey, Regent University, United States
This study is a replication of the study When Facebook Becomes Faithbook: Exploring Religious Communication in a Social Media Context by Henrik Åhman and Claes Thorén (2021). In the original study the authors analyzed the Facebook posts by the Church of Sweden and the comments that they generated. The Covid-19 pandemic closed a majority of churches worldwide, and those churches searched for ways to remain active without in-person participation. Social media became a new tool for reaching the masses for spiritual guidance from established organizations. The original study examined how the online interaction changed the organization of the religion and flattened the hierarchy of the church. This study took their methods and applied them to the Facebook posts of the San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio, Texas. These are two different churches of two different denominations, Lutheran and Catholic. Measuring the comments, likes, and shares and looking critically at the types of posts and comments, this study examines whether or not the online social media presence of the church affects its organizational functions or hierarchy in a post-pandemic society.
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