Most Americans still are not using social media technology to connect with their faith communities, according to a Washington-based research institution focused on religion and public life.
“Overall, Americans report limited use of technology for religious purposes, both inside and outside of worship services,” read a recent report by the Public Religion Research Institute.
“White evangelical Protestants are significantly more likely than other major religious groups to use technology for religious purposes,” read the survey.
That group (19 percent), for example, is more likely to post status updates related to being in church than are other groups. Only 2 percent of Catholics and 6 percent of white mainline Protestants reported such.
Furthermore, 25 percent of white evangelical Protestants said they had “downloaded a podcast of a sermon or listened to a sermon online.” Only 6 percent of both Catholics and white mainline Protestants reported the same.
White evangelical Protestants also were more likely (40 percent) to report that their church had an active Facebook page or website than white mainline Protestants (29 percent) or Catholics (13 percent).
Not surprisingly, younger Americans were more likely than older Americans to use technology for faith reasons.
“Younger Americans are also much more likely than older Americans to have sent or read emails during a worship service (16% vs. 3%), posted status updates on Facebook or other social networking sites about being in church (16% v. 3%) or used a cell phone to take pictures or record video during a worship service (20% v. 3%),” read the report.
Younger Americans are also more likely than older Americans to follow a religious leader on Twitter, join a religious group on Facebook, and say that their church encourages them to use social media technology.
Among Facebook-using Americans, half said they “do not describe their religious beliefs at all on their Facebook profile.”
The survey was conducted in late July with more than 1,000 adults.