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Church share: Investigating technology use and adoption among culturally different religious groups

TitleChurch share: Investigating technology use and adoption among culturally different religious groups
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsWyche, SP
Date Published2008
UniversityGeorgia Institute of Technology
CityAtlanta, Georgia

Outside the workplace, technologies support a new range of activities such as exploring, wondering, loving, and worshipping. Yet, we know little about how individuals appropriate technology to support these activities. Understanding this becomes more pressing as computing’s presence increases in daily life. For my dissertation, I am investigating use of ICTs to support a subset of these activities, those related to religious aspects of life, or techno-spiritual practices. I focus on techno-spiritual practices within a specific faith and their worship settings — Protestant Christianity and megachurches. I conducted formative studies investigating how megachurches, their pastors, and their laity use ICTs for religious purposes in Atlanta, Ga., U.S., Nairobi, Kenya, and São Paulo, Brazil. Findings from these studies motivated an ICT intervention called ChurchShare, a photo-sharing site that allows laity to take digital photographs and share them with others during church worship services. I hypothesize that this technology will increase laity involvement in worship services and create new socialization styles among megachurch laity. I am exploring this technology through real world deployments. Research conducted in the U.S. primarily informed ChurchShare’s development; however, I draw from knowledge gained during fieldwork conducted abroad when evaluating ChurchShare. Specifically, I will ask individuals from three culturally distinct churches to use the site. One church will be comprised of U.S. born laity and the others will have predominately immigrant Kenyan and Brazilian worshippers. This will allow me to investigate how culturally different groups appropriate technology for religious purposes. In turn, this will lead to a broader understanding ICT adoption among individuals typically targeted by HCI researchers and ones who are not. This research is expected to yield empirical and theoretical finding that will contribute to human-centered computing research.