By Aaron Earls
Chances are when evangelicals check social media what they see will further support their beliefs and perspectives, as many prefer to follow those who agree with them and refrain from engaging others on social media.
Evangelicals’ preferred social media platforms
Like most other Americans, Facebook, and YouTube are the two most popular social media platforms among evangelicals, according to LifeWay Research.
Around 3 in 4 use Facebook at least every few weeks (77%), with two-thirds (66%) using it at least once a day. Only 16% say they never visit or use Facebook.
The older the evangelical the less likely they are to be on Facebook about once a day or more. Still, 57% of evangelicals over the age of 65 say they visit the site at least that often.
Seven in 10 are regular users of YouTube (70%), with a 39% on the streaming video site at least once a day. Around 1 in 5 (19%) say they’re never on YouTube.
Those in the Northeast (45%) and South (43%) are more likely to say they visit YouTube about once a day or more than evangelicals in the West (31%).
Younger evangelicals are most likely to say they are on the site at least once a day or more (71%).
African Americans (60%) and Hispanics (57%) are twice as likely to say they visit YouTube at least once a day than whites (28%).
Far fewer evangelicals regularly use Instagram (34%), Pinterest (32%), Twitter (26%), LinkedIn (19%) or Snapchat (19%).
Among evangelicals, Twitter is least popular among women, older adults, those in the Midwest, those with a high school degree or less, and whites.
Evangelical Instagram users are more likely to be young, female, and an ethnic minority.
Almost 2 in 5 evangelicals (38%) say they regularly get news from social media, including 56% of 18- to 34-year-olds and 48% of African Americans.
But around 3 in 5 (62%) say social media has a negative impact on the respectfulness of public debates, including 68% of evangelicals 65 and older and 67% of whites.
Evangelical social media bubble
Despite the prevalence of social media use among evangelicals, many avoid interactions with those who think differently.
More than 6 in 10 evangelicals (63%) say they rarely or never engage others on social or political issues on social media.
Younger evangelicals are less likely to avoid that type of engagement.
Almost 7 in 10 evangelicals 50 and older (69%) say they rarely or never use social media to engage with those who believe different than them, compared to 57% of 35- to 49-year-old evangelicals and 51% of those 18 to 34.
Women are more likely to avoid engagement than men (67% to 57%).
White evangelicals are also more likely to say they rarely or never engage than African American evangelicals (67% to 50%).
Among those who are on social media, close to half of evangelicals by belief (48%) say they prefer to follow people who have similar social and political views, while 37% disagree.
Evangelicals in the South are more likely to agree than those in the Northeast (51% to 38%).
Younger evangelicals, those 18 to 34, are more likely to agree than the oldest evangelicals (57% to 43%).
Men (55%) are also more likely to agree than females (43%).
Increased education makes evangelicals more likely to say they prefer to follow those with similar social and political opinions. Those with some college (52%) or a graduate degree (57%) are more likely to agree than high school graduates or less (44%).
Most (60%) ignore political posts on social media with which they disagree. Around 1 in 5 say either they comment that they disagree while being careful not to put down the person (19%) or comment specifically on their disagreement.
Evangelical women (65%) are more likely to simply ignore the post than men (54%).
Whites (66%) and Hispanics (61%) are more likely to do the same than African Americans (43%).
Few admit to putting down the individual for believing that (3%) or making sure their followers see how bad that viewpoint is (4%).
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.