People of faith are heard online — but the partisans are winning

Religion News Service | 11/18/2019 | Staff
MireilleMireille (Posted by) Level 3
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(RNS) — As the impeachment hearings proceed on Capitol Hill, it’s astonishing to follow the reactions to the developments on social media, where the constant stream of tweets, likes, comments and shares is apparently further polarizing the American electorate.

Watching this action, I began to question how the social media torrent is affecting people of faith.

Sense - Look - Battery - Questions - Cooperative

To get a sense of this, I took a look at a battery of five questions from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, which was put into the field in the fall of 2018. It asked respondents if they have done any of the following on social media:

First, who is more active on social media? One would assume that the world of the internet would be dominated by the young, as they are often the first to adopt new technologies. However the data here tells a completely different story.

People - Newsfeed - Stories - Americans - Americans

By and large, the people who are clogging up your newsfeed with political stories are some of the oldest Americans, although which older Americans are most active can depend on their religious tradition.

For instance, white evangelicals in their mid-40s or older are slightly more likely to say they’ve engaged in the activities listed above than the youngest white evangelicals. The same is essentially true of white mainline Protestants and Catholics. The pattern breaks down only among older non-white Americans in these traditions who spend less time on social media than their white peers.

Mormons - Pattern - Social - Media - Use

Mormons follow a distinct pattern of their own. Social media use is basically flat across the middle of the age spectrum, but the oldest Mormons are extremely active on the internet, engaging in nearly three out of five of the listed activities. The only other group that competes with the oldest Mormons’ social media usage are the oldest atheists, who engage in...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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