Page 40

CHAPTER 5:  Interview  analysis     In-­‐depth  face-­‐to-­‐face  or  Skype  interviews  were  conducted  with  10  individuals  (eight   Christians  and  two  Muslims),  chosen  to  represent  different  denominations,  regions  of   the  UK  and  particular  practices  regarding  faith  expression  on  social  media.  The  majority   of  the  interviewees  were  selected  having  already  participated  in  the  online  survey   element  of  the  research  and  being  willing  to  elucidate  further.  The  interviews  were   semi-­‐structured,  based  –  where  relevant  –  on  answers  that  they  had  given  in  the   questionnaire.  Representative  portions  are  included  in  this  section  –  the  full  transcripts   for  each  interview  are  available  in  the  appendices.  NB:  24  hours  before  final  submission   of  this  dissertation  one  interviewee  requested  that  their  contribution  was  omitted.     5.1  Identity     The  first  interviewee,  Anna  Greathead  –  a  Christian  from  the  West  Midlands  –  felt  it   was  ‘important’  to  her  to  share  her  faith  on  social  media  (see  Appendix  6  for  full   interview).  ‘I  think  it’s  just  part  of  life  now,’  she  explained.  ‘In  the  same  way,  in  Jesus’   time,  a  train  journey  wasn’t  part  of  life.  But  a  train  is  still  an  appropriate  place  for   something  that’s  sacred  –  to  talk  to  people,  to  pray  for  people,  all  that  sort  of  thing.’     Greathead  identified  three  ways  that  she  uses  Facebook:     [A]s a church we use Facebook to arrange church events, to call people to prayer with the … situations we want to be aware of so that we can pray for one another. I’m also friends with lots of Christians who aren’t in my church and I will sometimes engage with them and talk with them about things in their life. I’ll offer to pray for them if any situation comes up for them; or rejoice with them when they have their own prayers answered. I also have lots of friends who are … people of other faiths – I’ve a handful of Muslim friends – and people who are of no faith. And people who are maybe hostile [to faith] as well. So that really does colour what I generally will post. I am aware that if I post anything overtly ‘faithy’ there may be a backlash.

Asked  to  describe  that  emotion,  Greathead  explained:     There are some people who backlash just in an inconsequential way – like, you know, ‘bacon sandwiches just taste good, it’s nothing to do with God’ or ‘that good thing that happened – I’m glad it happened but I don’t think God made it’. I can live with that. But some people are quite evangelically anti-God, anti-faith. They will sometimes try to engage you in a much deeper conversation which, maybe, I’m not really wanting to dedicate a lot of time to. One thing about faith is that it’s very personal and very important to you, and in the same way that I wouldn’t want to engage in conversation with anyone about the failings of my husband – because he’s my husband and I love him – similarly when it’s something that it’s important to me I don’t want people to be criticising it.

That  criticism  was  also  described  powerfully  by  Tash  (Appendix  8),  a  medical  student  in   London  who  identifies  as  both  Christian  and  a  member  of  the  LGBT  community.  

Putting Your  Faith  in  Social  Media  

40  

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...