What Would Jesus Do (On Facebook)

  • Religions tweeting, poking, and friending

    The days of long sermons and traditional services may not be over, but they have been augmented by something powerful and new: religious social media. As religions look to connect with younger followers, and to spread their messages to non-believers, they have quietly turned to Facebook, Twitter, and even viral video. And they have been tremendously successful in some respects. Businesses have known the benefits of viral marketing and dynamic social media for some time. Now religions are catching up. In fact, Pope Benedict XVI just recently urged priests in a Vatican City press release to fully use new "communications media" to spread the good word far and wide. Photo Credit: midiman Join MainStreet on Facebook! (opens in a new window, totally worth it)
    "Brilliant opportunities"
  • "Brilliant opportunities"

    Former model Kathy Ireland recently wrote an article in Christian Living entitled "Christians in the Age of Social Networking." She writes that "networking presents brilliant opportunities and some pretty scary challenges. The obvious online resources of YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Google are amazing.""As Christians, we can use these wonderful new tools to spread the Gospel beyond the reach of our own church doors. We are able today to go directly where needs are found. We have the opportunity—without leaving our homes—to tell the world about Jesus Christ," she writes later in the piece.For influential Christians like Ireland, social media is a vast untapped resource, not just a distraction. Online evangelism is here to stay. Photo Credit: Mooganic Join MainStreet on Facebook! (opens in a new window, totally worth it)
    Has God gone viral?
  • Has God gone viral?

    You've heard of YouTube, but what about GodTube? (It's now called Tangle.com) GodTube apparently grew its audience by 1,000% just in its first month back in 2007. Now, as Tangle, it boasts a hip, well-designed interface and is known as the site for Christian-focused video, prayers, and music culture. Despite the hip design and graphics, Tangle isn't afraid to proclaim its beliefs. The header on most of the pages states: "We help unite the Body of Christ by allowing you to connect with other Christians, Share the Gospel & grow in your relationships - ALL for the glory of Jesus Christ." Photo Credit: stevekeys
    Join Jesus on Facebook?!
  • Join Jesus on Facebook?!

    There are many groups on Facebook dedicated to relgious causes. One, I Love Jesus, boasts close to 1.4 million fans. All things considered, it's actually surprising that Jesus doesn't have more fans on there, though. Groups on Facebook like I Love Jesus have serious viral pull. The group posts biblical quotes, some of which get "upvoted" by users more than 12,000 times. When a user clicks that they like a certain quote, it is shared with that user's friends -- potentially spreading I Love Jesus' visibility much wider than its immediate circle of 1,398,413 fans. There's also a Twitter version of "I Love Jesus" for those who prefer to celebrate and discuss their beliefs via tweets rather than on Facebook. Photo Credit: benstein
    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints... on Facebook
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints... on Facebook

    The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS has an "Official page on Facebook" with 104,876 fans. The page links to several informational videos on YouTube, including: Are Mormons Christian? and Do Mormons Worship Jesus? Presumably, such basic videos are designed at least in part to inform outsiders curious about the faith. Photo Credit: clarkproductions2008
    Atheism's online reach
  • Atheism's online reach

    Although not technically a religion in the traditional sense, it is a "belief system" -- and it does rely on Facebook to spread its message and values. On the Facebook page for Atheism, with 16,937 fans, users share ideas and swap relevant book recommendations. One user, Renata, recently posted this to the group's Wall: "People: if you haven't, here are some must reads: God is Not Great by Hitchens and The Greatest Show on Earth by Dawkins. Seriously great books!" Photo Credit: eflon
    Reform Judaism
  • Reform Judaism

    According to Sean Thibault, Communications Director at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, social media can play an important role. "What we know about online community building is that when people are engaging with their Jewish life on Facebook or Twitter, for example, it is as much a part of their Jewish experiences as physically attending synagogue or speaking with a communal professional.  So, we work to be where communities are forming in the online space much like we work to support community development in the traditional media as well as on the ground in a physical sense," he told MainStreet.  "The Union for Reform Judaism and the Religious Action Center have been mobilizing with social media for a few years now; constantly examining our strategy to be sure we are supporting meaningful connections and not just serving as a new source of spam.  Whether it is to pursue social justice advocacy and awareness work or we are seeking examples of creative worship experiences; using social media is one of the tools we use to help support an inclusive, open, modern and egalitarian Jewish experience." He said his group tweets "about five times per day" and updates on Facebook roughly as often. Photo Credit: Will Palmer
    Some Perspective
  • Some Perspective

    Crosswalk.com is one of the largest Christian sites on the Web and Fred Alberti is Director of Social Media at Salem Web Network, which runs the site. He says that although Twitter and Facebook are important tools for spreading articles & information from a Christian worldview, it will never replace the role that a physical church plays. "A person cannot disassociate themselves from that local body of believers—Twitter and Facebook are great, but when you’re sick and in the hospital Twitter and Facebook won't bring meals to you," he told MainStreet. A religous community, on the other hand, can provide that human element missing from so many social media networks. Ultimately, Alberti believes that the right Twitter feed can "strengthen your faith and strengthen your religion" but it will never replace the role of weekly worship and in-person connection. Photo Credit: aussiegall Join MainStreet on Facebook! (opens in a new window, totally worth it)
    Islam Online
  • Islam Online

    Muxlim.com is a "Muslim lifestyle community" complete with videos, interviews, and an integrated Facebook presence. The group describes itself as the world's largest Muslim lifestyle media company. The site welcomes visitors "of all faiths and backgrounds." Photo Credit: ranoush Join MainStreet on Facebook! (opens in a new window, totally worth it)
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