Advances in the Study of Information and Religion




There are many concerns that the use of social media disconnects people from one another. Conventional wisdom holds that the use of social media causes people to disregard or value less their interpersonal relationships. As a result many groups—and in particular the local church— have tended to shy away from social media as a way to impart information and build relationships within their community. This paper is a survey of current research that provides clarity about how and why people use social media. There are several important findings in this survey that have salience for the local church and how it connects with people in their community and how information spreads. The findings indicate that instead of competing with and diminishing interpersonal relationships, the use of social media among youth and adults amplifies those relationships. Of special note is the finding that the use of social media may open up information and interaction to those who are introverted or in some way reticent in asserting themselves in face-to-face interactions.