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 wefollow.com 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 wefollow.com. It is something that can be changed, ensuring a constant “revised biography” of the self.
Works cited: Lovheim, M. (2011). Identity. Unpublished manuscript.