Bernard J. Jansen, Andrea Tapia,and Amanda Spink have an interesting forthcoming article entitled: Searching for salvation: An analysis of US religious searching on the World Wide Web.
This seems to be a very interesting and important study as it show and continued growth in religious online practice and points to the fact that religion online affirms traditional religious affiliations rather than spiritual seeking
Their full abstract is as follows:
The goals of this research were to answer three questions. How predominant is religious searching online? How do people interact with Web search engines when searching for religious information? How effective are these interactions in locating relevant information? Specifically, referring to a US demographic, we analyzed five data sets from Web search engine, collected between 1997 and 2005, of over a million queries each in order to investigate religious searching on the Web. Results point to four key findings. First, there is no evidence of a decrease in religious Web-searching behaviors. Religious interest is a persistent topic of Web searching. Second, those seeking religious information on the Web are becoming slightly more interactive in their searching. Third, there is no evidence for a move away from mainstream religions toward non-mainstream religions since the majority of the search terms are associated with established religions. Fourth, our work does not support the hypothesis that traditional religious affiliation is associated with lower adoption of or sophistication with technology. These factors point to the Web as a potentially usefully communication medium for a variety of religious organizations.
For a view of the in-press proof check here.