Friday, September 27, 2013

Identifying trends in the performance and construction of lived religion online

In week 6 are asked to reflect on six examples of how religion is performed and constructed in the social media platform which is the focus of your case study.  Carefully consider what seem to be the similarities and difference in how religion is discussed, presented and understood in these examples.

- Can you identify some common trends or strategies used to talk about or visualize religion?
- What seem to be the common messages, stories or beliefs promoted or emphasized?
- Are their competing messages or ideas about religion communicated? 

See what trends or patterns you can identify amongst these specific example and then summarize your initial findings about how religion is generated and framed based on these six examples.

Based on this synthesis you should also identify and state your proposed research question or focus for the remainder of the blogging assignment.

What seems to be the key traits of lived religion online your research has uncovered? How do these findings inform and help you to focus your further study of user-generated religion in social media?

Friday, September 20, 2013

More Investigations in Lived Religion in Social Media

In week 5 you are asked to repeat the assigned blogging task, by identifying and

describing three additional example of how religion is lived out online in your chosen case study. This week place close attention not only how the technology of the social media platform may influence how religion is expressed and portrayed, but consider how individual users seem to adapt or personalize these technologies to express their religious beliefs. As you reflect on these three examples consider the following questions:

- How does this particular individual use social media to shape and present their religious beliefs? Is there anything unique in their use of social media? How does it compare to other users of this platform?

- How does the visual elements (i.e. images, site/post design & personalization, use of links) chosen effect the messages about religion communicated?

- What seems to be the central goal or aim of these examples studied? What ideas or understandings of religion do they seem to promote?


Friday, September 13, 2013

Mapping User Generated Religion

In week four you will begin collecting data for your case study investigation of user generated religion in social media. This involves doing online ethnographic research in a specific social media platform in which you will engage in a systematic observation of online practices and messages created and provide a “thick description” of your findings.  This first week of observation will help you to reflect on your chosen case and consider whether you might need to refine your chose topic or further clarify how you have framed and described your case in your proposal. 

Your task this week is to identify and explore three concrete instances of how social media user in your chosen platform perform or construct religion.  For each example you should look at the equivalent of one week or three distinct examples of content.  Through these observations you are being asked to reflect on a series of questions:

-What is unique about the style and form of communication the social media platform you are studying? How might this impact how religion is communicated in this context?

-What options or limits does this technology offer for those seeking to use it to perform or construct religious practices and/or content?

-What seems to be the primary message/s about religion each of the examples you have chosen to study communicate?

Please start your blog post with a 1-2 sentence summary of your chosen case study, and explain if you have made any changes since your initial proposal and why.  Then share you observations and response to the questions listed above.  Have fun and enjoy the process of online exploration.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Studying User Generated Religion

In weeks 3-9 students in COMM 480 will be conducting research online regarding how religion gets performed and/or constructed within various social media platforms.  The aim of this research and its related writing assignment is to teach students to conduct and report on  first-hand online.  Students will focus on a specific social media platform and expression of religion to study the ways digital media can be used to create, express, practice and spread what can be described as "lived religion" online.   Studying lived religion in this assignment means paying special attention to how religion is experienced and practiced online by particular individuals or a specific group.

This week students are asked to create their own research blog and make their first post.  This initial post is a "case study proposal" that outline what topic and context you hope to study.

This post should state:
- what social media platform you will investigate
- what religious context you will study
- why you have selected this particular case (both religious context and platform)
- and propose an initial research focus, discussing how to study the way religion is lived out in this example.

Students should also provide a hyperlink to their chosen case study. Posts should be at least 300 words and appear online by 10am Friday of the corresponding week to receive full credit.