Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blog 6- Conclusion

After carefully reviewing the data collected over the duration of the case study I came up with the following research question to better understand the relationship between Christianity and Facebook:

When using Facebook, what strategies or trends work best when trying to frame the Christian faith on a social media platform and promote its core beliefs and values?

During my research over the course of this case study process, I noticed some common themes and trends. The primary theme that was promoted on the three Facebook pages I studied was that life is hard and we are going to struggle but as long as we stay strong and trust in God we will make it through whatever tribulations we are facing. Along with that message was the idea that these trials and tribulations will make you stronger in your faith. The last message or theme promoted was the importance of prayer because it allows you to develop a personal relationship with God. Since these messages seem to be the core beliefs and values presented online, determining who was the most effective in conveying this message would present me with the answer to my research question.

The pages ran by Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes were the most effective in promoting these core values because of the strategies they used on their pages. Rather than use memes or make comments that ask for likes which is the strategy that the Jesus Daily page employed, Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes posted motivational messages, mini- sermons, and scriptures. Not only were these types of posts the most effective in communicating their Christian beliefs, they also generated the most activity among its followers. Generating activity is important because it allows Christian believers to present and discuss their beliefs on an online forum, which is an example of lived religion online. The question then becomes do their practices of acting out lived religion online differ from their practices offline? This question however, is something I will discuss in further detail in my case study paper.

*The only thing that baffles me from the data I collected from my observations, is the fact that Jesus Daily had a larger following despite posting material that seemed to lack depth. But no matter, that is a topic for another time.