Social media and religion

Screenshot of map from Floatingsheep tracking tweets using the words "beer" or "church" one week in June 2012.

Millennials love their social media. A 2010 poll from the Pew Research Internet Project found that 72 percent of Millennials use sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and the global research company Ipsos recently released a report showing that Millennials believe the media they consume on social networking sites is 50 percent more trustworthy than more traditional forms of media.

But what about social media and religion? Are Millennials using the Internet and social networking sites to read and disseminate religious information? In short, no.

According to a CARA report on Catholic Millennials and social media:

  • Online, Catholic Millennials are often close-lipped about their religious affiliation. Of those with a social networking profile, 40 percent said they do not publicly self-identify as Catholic.
  • Catholic Millennials do not read religious information online. Only 8 percent of Catholic Millennials said they had read content from a religious website or blog.
  • Podcasts and YouTube videos were even less popular than websites: only 2 percent of Catholic Millennials said they had watched a religious video online. Likewise, only 2 percent said they had listened to religious audio programs online.

This map from Floatingsheep compares the number of U.S. tweets mentioning the word “church” and the number of tweets mentioning “beer” over a week in 2012. Which word do you think was tweeted more?