Sharing Religious Content on Social Media – Survey Results

finger of god to smartphone

Last week, I put together a questionnaire to survey people about their use of social media with regards to how often they shared religious content.  You can find out about how I structured my questionnaire HERE.  This week I am sharing my results.  (Note: If you’d like to view larger images of the graphs and charts, just click on them to view the full size images.)

surveys started vs surveys completed

I must admit, I had no idea what sort of response I would receive posting my questionnaire on my Facebook profile, Twitter feed, and a Facebook group, but I did not anticipate receiving as many as 270 completed responses.  The amount of data I was able to compile, gives the results more validity, in my opinion.

social media use graphBy far the most heavily used social media platform was Facebook.  100% of the respondents said they used it, with the next highest being LinkedIn with 44%, then Pinterest with 42%, and Twitter with %40.  This makes sense, since I posted the link to the questionnaire on Facebook.

use of social media by the numbers

Others that were written in included SnapChat, Yammer, Trello, and YouTube.

how often you share on social by the numbers

Most people share content on social media sites More than Once a Day.

gnder by the numbers

The demographics were heavily female, 70% to 30% male.

age by the numbers

And 58% were aged 35-54.  After reviewing these numbers, I am second-guessing these age groupings I used from a standard bank of questions on Qualtrics, and probably should’ve broken up this into two groups.

education pie chart43% of the respondents graduated with a 4-year College Degree, the next highest being those with Master’s Degrees at 18%, with those completing Some College next at 17%.

education by the numbers

The smallest groups were those with Doctoral Degrees and Less than High School, each being only 1%.

where does content come from bar graphThe vast majority of those surveyed (89%) share their own photos, videos, and updates.

where does content come from by the numbers

81% share content from friends, and 61% share content linked from websites.

religious affliliation by the numbers

When broken down by religious affiliation, those identifying themselves as Christians dominated the numbers with 78%.

List of other types of religious content shared

The next highest was Other at 13%, 7 of whom wrote in they were Agnostic, and 4 Catholic.

denomination by the numbers

Of those who identified themselves as Christian, the highest percentage was Roman Catholic with 21%.  The next highest was 17%, saying they don’t attend formal worship.  While most of the respondents were Christians, I think these results help show the variety of Christian backgrounds amongst those surveyed.

how often you attend worshippie chart40% of those surveyed attend worship Once a Week.

how often you attend worship by the numbers

The next highest was those who said they Never attended formal worship.

do you share religious content pie chart

61% responded that they share content that expressed their religion on social media.

do you share religious content by the numbers39% said they did not.

how often do you share religious content by the numbers

Of those who share content expressing their religious beliefs, the fewest respondents share either once a day or more than once a day, and the most respondents shared 2-3 times a media icons

So that’s a run-down of the basic data.  Here’s where it gets interesting.  When cross-tabulating the data, you can see some interesting trends.

How often sharing on social - do you share religious

The data shows, as seen in the table above, the more often a person shares content on social media, the more likely they are to share content that expresses their religious beliefs.

education - do you share

The data also shows, as seen in the table above, that those having completed less than high school and those having earned professional degrees are the most likely to share content that expresses their religious beliefs.

age - do you share

As seen in the table above, the data supports that those aged 25 and under are more likely to share content that expresses their religious beliefs.

types of religious content by age

You can see in the table above the kind of religious content people are sharing by age.

what is your gender - do you share

Women are more likely than men to share religious content that expresses their beliefs.

what is your religion - do you share

Christians are  more likely to share content that expresses their religious beliefs than the other religions, having the only positive ratio of 2-1.

sharing by denomination

The results also show that those Christians who identify themselves as Baptist and Anglican are the most likely to share religious content, followed by Evangelicals.

attendance at worship - do you share

Lastly, attendance at worship has a big impact on people’s willingness to share religious content that expresses their beliefs, as seen in the table above.  Those who attend worship at least once a month are significantly more likely to share content on social media that expresses their religious beliefs.Follow-me

If you’d like to take a look at the geographical data in relation to how often a person posts religious content, you can take a look at the table, Frequency of sharing religious content by location.

I wasn’t at all surprised that most of the survey’s respondents lived in Florida.  What did surprise me was how many from outside of the U.S. responded.  Incidentally, I received a negative comment about me generalizing those who “do not reside in the U.S.” inferring that I was a typical American, not seeing others as valid.  I must assure everyone, I simply didn’t expect to receive many responses for my little survey, and certainly not any from those living outside the U.S., since most of the people I know live here in Florida.  The results were given a snowball effect when four online friends decided to share the link the questionnaire on their own pages.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to take the survey.  I hope you all enjoyed reading about the results as much as I did.

12 thoughts on “Sharing Religious Content on Social Media – Survey Results

  1. Hi AnnMarie,

    Wow, that is an impressive number of surveys you had completed! The number of responses definitely gives your results more validity. I’m not at all surprised that there was a correlation between worship attendance and willingness to share religious content via social media. Those who attend worship more often are probably more comfortable with their faith and sharing it with others. I was surprised to learn that participants who completed less than high school and those who had earned professional degrees were the most likely to share their religious beliefs. When I think of people with law degrees, I would think that they wouldn’t want to share their religious beliefs online because it might pose a conflict with their jobs. Either there were a lot of doctors who took your survey, or I’m completely off! Nice post and really interesting results!

  2. Hi! Great job on collecting responses. Love the visual at the end 🙂
    What seemed interesting was the insight that out of all the people who said they worship pretty regularly, only 61% said they shared or expressed their religious views on social media sites. And it would be Christians who are more likely to express their views online. It would be interesting to add a question regarding the geographic location of respondents. I think that could possibly show some differences based on geography.
    I saw a lot of people who used Survey Money. I noticed you did not – good for you! I think you did a great job!

    • Thanks, Aldona! I appreciate the comments. I was surprised by several of the results. I think it would’ve been interesting to see how the results changed if more of my respondents had identified with other religions. Would those who were Christians still dominated those who shared religious content? I’m guessing they would have, but I’d love to have had more data to back that up. Also, you can see the report about geographic location HERE. It would’ve made a really long graphic, so I posted it as a report instead. Thanks, again!

  3. First, way to get a shout out by Dr. Selepak- kudos to you!
    I’m not surprised people relied so much on Facebook, the statistic that surprised me the results in your survey, was the LinkedIn numbers- very high for what I would have guessed. With the cross-tabs, the fact that those under the age of 25 shared their religious beliefs was intriguing. Attending worship service having a major factor in sharing religious beliefs on social media came as no surprise.
    I really enjoyed how your post explored the cross-tabs in your survey. I think it would be interesting to research if people are sharing their religion on Facebook without them even knowing. Is there someone who they follow on twitter that they retweet often which may be inadvertently sharing their religious beliefs.
    Overall, interesting post and I liked the perspective that the cross-tabs allowed. Also, the population of respondents is impressive!

    • Thanks, Hampton! You had an impressive amount of respondents, too! I didn’t expect the youngest respondents to be the most statistically likely to share religious content on social media, that’s for sure. I felt like I could’ve used the cross-tabulation feature for days. It was so interesting to try to explore the “why” of the results.

  4. I’m surprised atheists did not report sharing content more. Most of the atheists I know are more than willing to share memes and links relating to it. On the other hand there is a good chance that some people did not want to identify as atheist in your survey or just choose to keep quiet about it on social media. Atheists are still identified as being a very fringe group, very much disliked and distrusted by the general American public.

    • Hi David! One of my dear friends is an atheist who writes a blog for an atheist organization. Like your friends, he is constantly sharing his positions online. I wish I could delve deeper into the “why” people share — and why they don’t — but in order to do that, I really think I’d need to conduct personal interviews. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Hi AnnMarie,

    First of all, I want to start by congratulating you on getting so many survey participants! I agree with you that this gives your results more validity. I enjoyed being able to look at your cross-tabulated results. You drew some interesting connections between age groups and the frequency with which they share religious content on social media and between a person’s education level and the likeliness that they will share religious content via social media. While I wasn’t surprised to see that the majority of your participants identified themselves as Christian, I was surprised to find out that the majority attend formal worship once a week and that the second-highest group never attended formal worship. I would’ve though the once-a-week group would’ve been a smaller percentage and that the highest group would’ve been those who attend formal worship less than once a month. I also expected the 35-54 crowd to be the highest in terms of sharing religious simply because they seem to be most active on Facebook. I couldn’t believe it when I read that the 25 and under group were most likely to share religious content via social media. I would’ve thought that most people of this age wouldn’t be confident enough in their faith to want to share this kind of content for the world to see.

    • Hi Lynette! You bring up some good points. Your assumptions about what my results would be were mine, too. While I expected people’s frequency of attending worship to be about once a month, I didn’t expect weekly attendance to be so high amongst the respondents.

      In my experience young people are usually very verbal about things they love and believe in, whether it’s a new crush or their favorite band. I guess it make sense that religion would fall into that openness, as well. Thanks for commenting!

  6. Hey AnnMarie,
    You have a really insightful post. The number of responses you received is amazing! I think it’s interesting to see how attending a religious service correlates with a higher chance of sharing religious content on social media. I wonder if this is applicable to more than just religious service though. Are people who go to the gym more likely to post about their workout/diet? I wonder if people typically post about what is part of their routine or if religion has a higher correlation with posting. I guess that would be another marketing research project… Seeing that Christians are more likely to post religious content makes sense to me. Because there are more Christians in the world, it makes sense that people are more willing to share those beliefs. I often find myself sharing content that I think my followers will connect with. It’s kind of like giving into peer pressure.

    • Conversely, I tend to shy away from posting things that I think would be too controversial or offensive.
      I like your thought about people posting about things that are a part of their routine. I think that’s true, and I wonder, too, if posting religious content would fall into that category, or if it would be more of an ideological thing. Do people who listen to radio talk shows post more about political things as a result, or are they just passionate about an issue or cause, and that’s what leads them to share content connected to it? Interesting thoughts. Thanks for commenting!

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