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The Religious Facebook Experience: Uses and Gratifications of Faith-Based Content

TitleThe Religious Facebook Experience: Uses and Gratifications of Faith-Based Content
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBrubaker, PJo, Haigh, MM
JournalSocial Media + Society

This study explores why Christians (N = 335) use Facebook for religious purposes and the needs engaging with religious content on Facebook gratifies. Individuals who access faith-based content on Facebook were recruited to participate in an online survey through a series of Facebook advertisements. An exploratory factor analysis revealed four primary motivations for accessing religious Facebook content: ministering, spiritual enlightenment, religious information, and entertainment. Along with identifying the uses and gratifications received from engaging with faith-based Facebook content, this research reveals how the frequency of Facebook use, the intensity of Facebook use for religious purposes, and also religiosity predict motivations for accessing this social networking site for faith-based purposes. The data revealed those who frequently use Facebook for posting, liking, commenting, and sharing faith-based content and who are more religious are more likely to minister to others. Frequent use also predicted seeking religious information. The affiliation with like-minded individuals afforded by this medium provides faith-based users with supportive content and communities that motivate the use of Facebook for obtaining spiritual guidance, for accessing religious resources, and for relaxing and being entertained.