What role does God actually play in social media?? That has the 12. Class of a high school in Essen investigated. And belongs to the winning groups for the competition "My Story with God" from the catholic Bonifaziuswerk.
Corinna Bott is a student at the Beatae Mariae Virginis Gymnasium in Essen, Germany. She tells our site interview about what experiences she has gained through the competition.
Interviewer: In which social media then does God play the biggest role?
Corinna Bott: That was actually relatively mixed. But Instagram was one of the places you found the most, and Twitter as well. And on Tumblr, the hashtag God was often alienated. Like "oh my god, that food was delicious" or "that rapper is my god".
Interviewer: But then does that still have to do with God? How many shares were then alienated and how many then had a relationship with God?
Bott: With Tumblr it was more alienation. There we also took a picture for a discussion group where that was really totally alienated. Maybe 10.15 percent were really about God. But on Twitter it was relatively even. There were a few chrst pages that tweeted, but also just this "Oh means God, the fries were so delicious". On Instagram was also more alienation. And on facebook, 80 percent were about God and the other 20 percent were about alienation.
Interviewer: On facebook, the users are much older than on Instagram or Twitter. Could you find out if the age of the users plays a role?
Bott: Yes, you could see on facebook, for example, that these serious pages were run by adults or communities. There were not as many young people as on the other platforms who thought about it.
Interviewer: Was there anything that surprised you a lot as a group?
Bott: We went in search of pictures, for example. Then we found a picture that we liked as a group. Then people came who looked after us and said: I wouldn’t support this page, it’s almost a cult. Watch out what you are saying to yourselves. It was clear to see how manipulative Facebook is with pictures about God or with the hashtag God.
Interviewer: Has the project perhaps also changed your private view of God??
Bott: Yes, actually. One had to occupy oneself intensively with it. And through all the articles that you have read, you have had moments now and then where you have thought: That’s right, I haven’t thought about that at all and it is actually worthwhile. Then you went home with this thought and thought about what was written on Instagram or facebook at home. Sometimes people agreed, sometimes not. It plays a bigger role when you’ve been more engaged with it.
Interviewer: It’s always said that young people don’t talk about God that much. What experiences have you had there?
Bott: Actually the same. We had a young person in our discussion group who talks a lot about God on Instagram. And then we talked to her a bit privately and she told us that she’s the only one she knows her age who would take something like that to a social medium. Of course there are also a few young, very committed people, but on facebook it is mostly the older ones who bring some content with God.
The interview was conducted by Silvia Ochlast