My proposed case study will focus on Twitter as a social media platform. The study will investigate various religious leaders as well as ordinary participants of various religions on Twitter. I will explore how religious leaders are utilizing Twitter to reach a new, modern audience. I will then observe the responses to the efforts of these religious leaders and attempt to gage the success of bringing religion into the Twitter world.
I have chosen Twitter as my area of focus because as a participant in social media, I feel as though Twitter is currently one of the most popular social media outlets. From what I have observed, Twitter also seems to be the area many people are most comfortable expressing themselves. I am a member of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, and out of these four outlets, I have witnessed the most bold expressions on Twitter. Of the people I follow on Twitter and am friends with on Facebook, the majority are much more likely to state controversial opinions and more heavily stress their beliefs on Twitter rather than Facebook. Instagram and Pinterest are both interesting social media sites, but there is more room for vocalizing opinions on Twitter.
My focus for this study is the responses to evangelization efforts of religious leaders on Twitter. By evangelization I mean the preaching and spreading of beliefs to others. I have chosen this topic because evangelization has become more emphasized in religions nowadays. I am interested to see how effective the utilization of social media outlets is in reaching followers of different religions. Most importantly I will focus on the response to the utilization of Twitter for religious purposes and examine how ordinary people bring their religion into the Twitter realm.
I will be observing the posts of various Christian religious leaders including the Pope. These leaders will not necessarily hold any specific title; I will also investigate devout members of certain religions. I will study the posts of ordinary people who do not hold any specific religious leadership title as well. I will compare and contrast the types of posts as well as the frequency of posts by these people. I will most importantly be looking at the responses to these posts, including retweets and comments, as well as the number of followers of each person.
As I mentioned before, the twitter account of Pope Francis will be one of my first areas of exploration. I am not only interested in his specific tweets, but more importantly the response to those tweets. By viewing any of the tweets on Pope Francis's Twitter page, one can see the sundry of responses. Some people comment with praises and thankfulness to the Pope's message while others make jokes. The last several tweets averaged around 3,000 retweets, so it is apparent that a number of people are participating in bringing religion to Twitter, a phenomenon that will be explored further in this blog.