Friday, October 28, 2011

Identity Online

In Lovheim’s chapter, the question was raised about whether digital media strengthens or weakens and individual’s ability to construct or perform religious identity. In Lovheim’s text, identity is “the process where an individual develops the capacity to grasp the meaning of situations in everyday life and their own position in relation to them (Lovheim, 2011, pg. 2). Experiences and social interaction enable someone to create a unique identity and delve further into the discovery of the self.

The third wave of identity research on religion and the Internet is associated with religious identities online as integrated in everyday life. The development of social networks like Facebook and Twitter has become part of an individual’s identity. Lovheim’s research has shown that religious identity via the Internet is individualistic. This “disembedding of social life” from traditional offline religious engagement and the “constant influx of new information” via digital media creates a “coherent, yet continuously revised biography of self” (Lovheim, 2011, pg. 18).

Twitter is one example of social media online. Many people follow religious leaders and organizations on Twitter. By “following” these people, an individual is forming a religious identity. Thus, a person is able to strengthen his or her religious identity via this social media resource. It is also a way to gain followers that may have stumbled upon the individual because of their mutual association with that specific religious Twitter account.

A website known as is resource for finding people and organizations that have Twitter accounts. If an individual is interested in finding more religious organizations or people to follow on Twitter, there is a complete “Tag List” with various subjects to choose from. For example, one can search tags like “religion,” “Christianity,” or “Hinduism” and the results will list Twitter accounts related to that specific tag.

Identity is constantly strengthened and dynamically evolving through social media resources such as Twitter and It is something that can be changed, ensuring a constant “revised biography” of the self.

Works cited: Lovheim, M. (2011). Identity. Unpublished manuscript.

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