Results from the overall Pew Internet survey show that technology users are generally more likely than non-users to be involved in almost all the kinds of groups. In the survey, 76% of adults reported being internet users; 81% said they had cell phones; and 59% said they connect to the internet wirelessly either through their laptop computer or through their smart phone. Results also showed that the internet is deeply embedded in group activities and in how people create, join, participate in, and sustain groups.
To start, we note that 79% of those who are active in religious and spiritual organizations use the internet. That is not statistically different from the internet use of those who are not part of such organizations (76%).
Their view of the internet’s impact on their overall group involvement – not just their involvement with religious and spiritual organizations – is also in line with overall population averages, as pictured in Figure 10.
As shown Figure 10, 22% of those active in religious or spiritual groups reported that the internet propels them to more involvement with the groups that matter to them, with 72% saying the internet had no impact. These percentages are similar to those from respondents not active in religious or spiritual groups.
When we examined the use of social network services, however, there were some minor differences between those internet users in religious or spiritual groups versus other groups.
As shown in Figure 11, 58% of the internet users who are active in religious groups use social network sites compared with 64% for the online Americans who are not active in religious or spiritual groups. This lower usage level may be correlated with age. Older Americans tend to use social networking sites less than younger Americans, and those active in religious or spiritual groups tend to be older (average age of 49 versus 43 years for those not active in religious organizations).
There was no significant difference concerning the use of Twitter among those active in religious or spiritual groups (11%) and those not (13%).
So, it appears that those active in religious or spiritual groups embrace digital technology more or less at rates similar to the overall population, once one accounts for the age difference. This is in line with other research that has examined technology usage around religion and the internet, finding no significant difference.