Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Networked Religion Through Devotional Twitters

My case study looked at daily devotions on Twitter. I wanted to learn what types of tweets were best received by the followers of the account for Our Daily Bread. In terms of Networked Religion, devotions on Twitter can be classified as Storied Identity. "The social sphere offers individuals various resources and meanings from which they can select, assemble, and present a sense of self" (Campbell, 2011, pg. 8). Our Daily bread offers a variety of tweets that cater to all of their followers. Followers choose which devotion best suits their life, and respond and react to those tweets; followers gain a sense of identity through the tweets they choose. Storied identity offers new possibilities for assembling a religious identity for those lacking opportunities offline. Interactions between Our Daily Bread and the account's followers not only provide a spiritual message, but also create a religious identity. As mentioned previously, Our Daily Bread provides a variety of tweets spanning from a broadcast type tweet to a more personal level tweet; "Here the self may be assembled through a variety of different resources that create a distinctive narrative" (Campbell, 2011, pg. 8). Followers are given the chance to not only live their religion online, but also create a religious identity. Storied identity is constructed and performed online and encourages a malleable self-presentation. The account's interactions with followers, most importantly the tweets they send out daily, have proven to be an influential performance of religion. The findings from this research proved that Twitter is a popular place for religion, and that it is being used for different meanings. The devotional Twitter accounts allow followers to express their religious views to their own followers, but even more so,use the religion to get through their own lives. Provided is an example of the various types of tweets I observed during the case study research; tweets included scripture based devotions, broadcast devotionals, and short inspirational messages (which proved to be the most effective and well received).

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