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CHAPTER 7:  Conclusion     Primary  research  for  this  dissertation  indicates  that  survey  respondents  tend  to  be   technologically  aware  and  literate,  expressing  a  high  level  of  support  for  faith-­‐sharing   activities  through  social  media.  This  expression  takes  numerous  forms,  depending  on   the  confidence,  enthusiasm,  technological  literacy  and  perceived  response  to  posts   from  the  originators’  own  social  networks.  Some  online  faith-­‐sharing  activities  can  take   place  at  an  almost  trivial  level  –  such  as  simply  including  the  word  ‘Christian’  in  a   Twitter  profile  –  or  can  be  very  comprehensive  treatise.  The  relationship  afforded  by   social  media-­‐based  interaction,  however,  seems  to  be  valued  by  both  survey   respondents  and  interviewees  alike.     Digital  research  fellow  and  founder  of  The  Big  Bible  Project,  Dr  Bex  Lewis  concurs  that:   ‘In  social  media  …  it  is  possible  to  communicate  at  a  shallow  level  but  true  fellowship   takes  us  beyond  empty  words  and  jokes.  It  demonstrates  care  for  others,  inclusiveness   even  where  there  are  disagreements,  opportunities  for  accountability,  and  a  sharing  of   ideas.’24  The  parallel  #DigiDisciple  initiative  ‘dream[s]  of  a  world  where  people  tell  their   stories  and  share  what  they’re  learning  about  God,  the  Bible,  and  the  digital  age’.     The  Boundless  case  study  (Chapter  3)  demonstrates  the  creative  story-­‐telling  facilitated   by  social  media  amongst  Salvationist  Christians.  Research  highlights  an  appetite  for   sharing  content  (memes,  etc)  published  by  ‘official’  entities  as  well  as  redistributing   messages  –  including  selfies  –  originated  by  participants.  There  was  no  shying  away   from  the  very  clear  Christian  messages  espoused  during  the  events,  and  sharing  of   Bible  verses,  worship  song  lyrics,  and  key  messages  from  Bible  expositions  were  all  in   evidence  across  social  media.  This  suggests  that  ‘event’  social  media  can  be  a  very   strong  vehicle  for  engaging  participants,  whether  physically  proximate  or  participating   vicariously.  It  also  indicates  a  level  of  trust  in  both  the  formal  social  media  channels  –  in   this  case  of  The  Salvation  Army  –  and  in  the  content  created  by  delegates  who  did  not   have  a  formal  ‘communications’  role.       The  Putting  Your  Faith  In  Social  Media  survey  analysis  reveals  that,  regardless  of   denominational  allegiance,  there  appears  to  be  a  high  level  of  support  for  following   and  sharing  social  media  content  originated  by  churches  and  faith-­‐based  organisations   (section  4.5).  It  did,  however,  also  indicate  a  potential  shortcoming,  in  that  nearly  half   of  the  faith  leaders  encountered  by  survey  respondents  ‘never  or  rarely’  talk  about   social  media  (section  4.10).  While  a  very  small  number  of  faith  leaders  are  reported  to   actively  discourage  the  use  of  social  media,  the  absence  of  clear  endorsement  by  47.6%   of  leadership  may  be  interpreted  by  some  believers  as  tacit  disapproval  of  the  medium   and  therefore  act  as  a  deterrent.       Denominational  leaders,  therefore,  may  wish  to  more  strategically  provide   encouragement  and  practical  resources  to  ministers,  teachers  and  other  practitioners.   The  2016  ‘Global  Digital  Snapshot’  (Kemp,  2016),  which  illustrates  the  extensive   penetration  of  social  media  in  the  last  decade  should  have  a  galvanising  effect.                                                                                                                   24

http://www.bible-­‐reflections.net/articles/journeying-­‐in-­‐community/3007/  

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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...