ReligionLink: God and Facebook
Religion|Link is a "religion story idea and source list resource by journalists, for journalists." On September 29 they ran a collection of links under the "God and Facebook: Is social networking changing religion?" title. In the first part of the page--prompted by the new movie about the the birth of Facebook, "The Social Network"--they raise points like:
- Are virtual networks deepening or undermining interpersonal relationships — and our spiritual lives?
- Something crucial to faith, like a concrete sense of community and the experiential aspect of religious practice, is being lost.
Instead of providing resolutions they offer a list of resources for journalists to find their own answers. Their "background" section includes links to guidelines, original and secondary research on the topic, and to actual online religious communities. Next we get an annotated list of 16 articles in the popular press/mass media ranging from 2007 till last week. They also link to the issue of Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication that covers religion. The list of religious social networking sites is organized by religions, while the "national resources" is a list of scholars, clergy and industry people who contributed to the study or practice field or the practice. The page ends with a list of experts organized by the regions of the USA. The resources are well collected, but far from comprehensive. Maybe it doesn't have to be as it is intended as a starting point for journalists, who want to write about the topic. As such, it is a well-rounded collection, because it includes links to everything quoted, mentioned. This may sound obvious, after all, collecting quality links is the mission of the site. However I read so many online articles, where the simple step of linking to original materials was omitted that I wanted to praise this page for doing what they set out to.