Facebook and Networked Community
For my case study I chose to answer the following question, “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, one of the strategies that the three Christian pages I chose to study employed was the establishment of online communities in order to more easily evangelize and promote their core values and beliefs. After reading the networked religion article I began to understand why this trend was taking place.
One of the characteristics of networked religion fits in nicely with the findings of this case study. The concept of networked community works because the establishment of community is a trend that has been repeated throughout this study. A key component to networked community is that religious practice emerges within a distinctive social sphere constructed of networked interactions. Networked community is characterized by loose social networks with varying degrees of commitment. This commitment could range from only participating in the online community to using the online community as a supplement to their church home. This case study showed examples of networked community because the pages’ followers sought to establish these loose social networks by interacting with their fellow Facebookers. This was illustrated through the prayer requests, narratives, and responses that were typical of these Facebook pages.
The picture above is a prime example of networked community because a prayer request was made and the page’s creator as well as other followers responded to it. Prayer or intercession is typically reserved for those who are trusted or for someone you identify with. So the fact that she was able to ask for it on a public site such as this one just goes to show the shared identity and trust that has been established on these Facebook pages.