Survey Says?

social media survey annmarie

Surveys.  There are so many of them!  From the U.S. Census, to the random online questionnaire, to the one at the bottom of the receipt in your wallet, it seems someone wants to know our information and opinions about almost everything!

religion online survey

Since I’m considering doing some deeper research into how much religion is a part of people’s social media activity, I thought I’d put together a questionnaire using my own Facebook and Twitter accounts to survey my online friends and followers about whether posting about their religious beliefs is a part of their social media habits.  After reviewing a few sites to determine which would best facilitate my questionnaire, I decided to use Qualtrics.com.  I liked the format of setting up my survey questions, how it looked visually, and the ease of reading the reports.

religion social media survey 1

I started by letting the respondent know that for the purposes of this survey, I’d like them to answer based on their personal use of social media, not any pages they may manage.  I thought this was an important distinction to make.  The first question was a question to weed-out any respondents who did not meet my criteria — mainly, that they use social media.  I used Qualtrics’ “skip logic” feature, so a respondent answering “none” would immediately skip to the end of the survey.

religion social media survey 2The second question asked about the respondent’s “religious affiliation.”  If they answered “Christian” or inputted “Catholic” or “Roman Catholic” (non-case sensitive), they would then be moved to a question looking for more specifics about their denomination, or way they choose to worship in the Christian faith.  If they chose any other the other answers, it would jump to the next question about how often they attend formal worship services.

religion social media survey 3

I then asked several demographic questions about gender, age, level of education, and geographical location.  I asked these questions for two reasons:  I’d like to know the results, in terms of who is answering my questionnaire, but also to see if there are any links between any of these specific demographics and their occurrences of religious postings to social media, or lack thereof.

religion social media survey 4 I then got to the point of my questions asking how often they share content on social media.  If they answered “Never,” they’d be immediately moved to the end of the survey.  All of the other answers given would give me valuable data to compare to a later question.

religion social media survey 5

This question was followed with one asking if they share content from “yourself or outside sources that expresses your religious beliefs?”  Again, if they answered “No,” they’d be immediately moved to the end of the survey.

religion social media survey 6

The final two questions asked about the frequency of the content they share that expresses their religious beliefs, followed by a more specific question about the kinds of content they share that expresses those beliefs.

pray religion and social media online

You may find yourself asking, why is this all important?  Well, I’ll tell you.  According to a 2011 New York Times article, the  Jesus Daily Facebook page had more engagement than Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, or Manchester United.  PageDataPro.com shows that Jesus Daily remains in the top spot for PTAT still.

PTAT data religion facebook

I believe many people of faith are  using social media to nurture and express their faith.  However, according to a 2013 article which sites a Carnegie Mellon University study, this sort of behavior may be effecting a job candidate’s ability to get hired.  All of the effects of expressing your religious beliefs on social media may be difficult to quantify, but it’s a very interesting topic that I hope to learn more about.  This questionnaire is just one small part in that process.

If you’d like to participate in my survey by answering my questionnaire, it will be available HERE through Saturday, February 1, 2014.  I’ll be posting about the results next week, so stay tuned!

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13 thoughts on “Survey Says?

  1. Interesting topic! I’m very curious to find out if there is a link between religious affiliation and social media habits. I remember taking your survey and thinking that it was smart to note that the user should only consider their personal accounts- not the pages they manage.
    I know there was an “other” category for religion, but I would have recommended adding a “Spiritual but not religious” option.
    I can’t wait to see your results!

    • Thanks! The one I strongly considered, but didn’t end up using, was “agnostic.” I had several respondents input that in the “Other” field. So far, I’ve had a lot more responses than I thought I’d have, so hopefully I’ll have some good data to analyze.

      I appreciate the comments!

  2. Great post, Ann Marie! I agree with Lexi — it was smart to say to not include activity done on behalf of branded accounts. I’m very interested to see what you find out! I see a lot of my friends sharing religious content, so I know a lot of people do. However, although I am a Christian, I tend to not share religious content on my social accounts. The things I share tend to be either funny or informative. Probably most often, I share news. I try not to get too political or religious online. I don’t want to make my friends with different beliefs uncomfortable or start an argument/debate. And since I am in journalism, I also don’t want to brand myself as too opinionated to be objective. I am not a reporter in the traditional sense, but I do participate in moderation of our comments, and some of those commenters follow me on social media. I don’t want to give them any reason to believe I’m for or against them personally because of my beliefs, because I very much separate myself from my own beliefs, when moderating comments or doing any other parts of my job.

    • Thanks, Julie! I appreciate the feedback. One of the reasons I thought this topic would be a valuable one to survey was due to the frequency and amount of content expressing religious beliefs I see from friends on all the social media sites.

      What you mention about possible reactions to these types of posts is a separate topic, in my opinion. That’d be interesting to study, too! For instance, asking if people have ever unfriended/unfollowed someone as a result of seeing their religious post/tweet. I sure know people who have done it for political reasons! Perhaps, studying what kind of content people would share if they had no concern of it effecting others in a negative way. I’m not really sure how I’d measure that without doing interviews.

  3. I think religion is a huge topic in relation to social media. I see a lot of biblical sayings and versus put into people’s statuses, tweets, etc. I like the questions you asked as far as demographics in relation to what particular religion they practice. I really can’t think of any more questions you could have added without making the survey very detailed. I think it will be interesting to see where people stand in accordance to religion and social media. I’ll look for your results next week.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Gavin. Yes, I wanted to get enough information to be able to properly analyze a few factors without making the questionnaire too long. I’m looking forward to reading the results!

      • Julie brought up the point that some people don’t share things on social media that they think others might find offensive, and I think many people would put religious beliefs in that category. Another topic that would be interesting to study is whether a person’s profession, like athletes, has an impact on their willingness to share such content.

  4. This is really something to think about. I know many people who do not seem religious at all, until you look at their Facebook page. I always wonder why this is. Can they not show their religion in person? Are they wanting to put on a front for social media? Anyways, I’ll get off topic quickly when discussing that!
    I agree with Alexandra that it was smart to remind people to not take into consideration their business accounts. I’m really looking forward to seeing your survey results! Considering that the majority of people that I am in contact with on social media are Christian, I suppose I have a very biased view.

    • Hi Whitney,

      Thanks for commenting! Like you, the majority of the people I am in contact with on social media, where I posted my survey, are Christian. I had a few friends who are not Christians choose to share it on their own, so I’m hopeful the snowball effect will actually help my respondent group be more representative of the actual population. I had a lot more people take the survey than I
      anticipated, so we shall see! I am looking forward to analyzing and sharing the results. Stay tuned!

  5. Hi AnnMarie!

    I really enjoyed your post and your survey! I think this is such an interesting topic and I cannot wait to see what your find through this survey alone! It seems like this is a little-researched area and I think it’s an awesome one to explore. I like your use of skip-logic too – I was trying to figure out how I could incorporate something like that into my survey, but I couldn’t quite figure out the best place for it to go. I’m excited to see your results!

    • Thanks so much, Lacee! I certainly haven’t seen much research about this topic, so I’m very interested in seeing the results, too. So far I have had over 250 responses, which is a lot more than I thought I’d get!

  6. Pingback: Sharing Religious Content on Social Media – Survey Results | Social Media & Marketing Online

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