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and made  specific  mention  of  his  recent  use  of  Facebook  Live  (in  which  he  conducted  a   study  into  a  particular  portion  of  scripture).  ‘I  believe  we  should  be  helping  and   encouraging  people  to  engage  with  non-­‐  Christians  on  social  media  and  build   relationships  that  lead  to  dialogue,’  she  wrote,  though  felt  discouraged  by  ‘attacks  by   organised  opponents  to  Christianity’.     As  well  as  being  cautious  of  ‘causing  offence  to  non  religious  people’,  a  35–44-­‐year-­‐old   female  from  an  Anglican  church  in  the  North  East  of  England  was  concerned  that   ‘people  in  my  church  would  disapprove  of  my  views  and  change  their  behaviour   towards  me,  or  even  my  role  within  the  church’.     ‘Not  being  associated  with  the  “crazies”’  was  a  deterrent  expressed  by  a  35–55-­‐year-­‐ old  female  from  the  Baptist  denomination  in  the  South  East.  She  expressed  concern   about  the  ‘balance’  of  her  social  media  postings  and  their  ‘appropriateness’  to  non-­‐ Christians.  ‘Not  to  share  faith  at  all  would  be  disingenuous,  even  dishonest,’  she  stated.   ‘To  only  talk  about  this  wouldn’t  show  a  rounded  life  –  unless  this  was  explicitly  what   the  account  was  for.’     A  concept  of  broadcasting  rather  than  discursive  relationship  was  expressed  by  some   respondents,  such  as  this  55-­‐64  year  old  Christian  from  the  Russian  Federation:       ‘Whatever I share must be current and appropriate to the people who receive it’

While  ‘friends  and  family  seem  to  appreciate’  her  faith-­‐related  posts  on  social  media   (‘positive  saying,  photos,  etc’),  she  admitted  that  ‘some  people  go  off  on  a  completely   different  tangent’.  She  was  put  off  further  posting  by  ‘rude  comments  and  backlash’.     More  positively,  authenticity  and  honesty  was  a  topic  raised  by  a  45-­‐54  year  old   Salvationist  from  New  Zealand.  Having  ‘a  lot’  of  non-­‐Christian  friends  she  ‘prefer[s]  the   relational  style  of  evangelism  so  thus  unless  I  would  share  a  verse  with  them  in  person  I   would  not  share  it  on  Facebook.’  She  continued:  ‘I  have  seen  a  lot  of  my  non-­‐Christian   friends  share  or  like  my  Christian  posts  and  I  suspect  it’s  because  I  don’t  post  too  often   and  I  am  careful  what  I  post  –  always  post  my  own  experiences  and  quotes  to  make   people  think!  I  suspect  cold  calling  evangelism  doesn’t  work  now[a]days  so  we  just   need  to  not  do  more  harm  in  our  social  media  posts.’     A  North  American  female  Muslim  reported  that  the  reaction  to  her  faith-­‐related  posts   on  social  media  had  encouraged  her.  ‘I  regularly  share  a  Friday  reflection  for  Jummah   as  well  as  interfaith  reflections  and  receive  positive  responses  where  people  are   compelled  to  share  THEIR  thoughts  with  me,’  she  explained.  However,  she  also  felt   discouraged  by  ‘[o]ther  members  of  my  community  being  judgemental’  and  by   ‘ignorance  about  Islam  leading  to  rude  and  accusatory  comments’.     It  may  perhaps  be  surprising  –  even  disappointing  –  that  there  is  a  low  ‘comfort’  score   in  Christians  sharing  verses  from  the  Bible.  A  possible  answer  is  evident  in  Smith  (2015)   who  calculates  that  40  million  Bible  verses  were  tweeted  in  2015.  But  ‘bots’  appear  to   responsible  for  close  to  50%  of  these:    

Putting Your  Faith  in  Social  Media  

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Putting Your Faith in Social Media  

Research findings regarding the social media expression of people of faith. By David Giles, Web and Social Media Manager at The Salvation Ar...

Putting Your Faith in Social Media  

Research findings regarding the social media expression of people of faith. By David Giles, Web and Social Media Manager at The Salvation Ar...