Friday, May 15, 2009

How Social Media is Like Ice Cream

Being a huge ice cream fan I just had to follow up a link sent out on the Association of Internet Researchers elist this morning about How Social Media is Like Ice Cream . What I found is a great video that explains in simple terms how social networks and media work (and a craving for mint chocolate brownie ice cream). Check it out:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

iMuslims is coming just sent me a notice that Gary Bunt's new book--iMuslims: Rewiring the House of Islam (Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks)-- will soon be out. Bunt is well known for his work on documenting the latest uses of the internet and digital technology in the Muslim world Virtually Islamic and Islam in the Digital Age. His new book iMuslims seeks to look at how not only the internet has shaped Islamic practices and society but perceptions of Islam in a globalized information society. His work describes how new SNS sites are being used within Islam and how his over ten years of research highlight certain trends with Muslim use of the Internet.

According to a review in Publishers's weekly Bunt suggests, "..that Muslims have an “open-source” educational legacy. This open-source nature of Islamic theology inclines Muslims, possible more than other faith adherents, towards an online “rewiring” of their faith." I haven't read the book yet myself but it promises to be an important contribution for those studying Islam online. Bunt's blog Virtually Islamic provides a great source for info on the book and other info about Islam online, and he also he has an online bibliography for his book which is well worth checking out.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

State of Belief on Religion Online

I was interview this past week for the radio show "State of Belief" hosted by Rev C. Welton Gaddy which seeks to cover positive topics on religion. In a 15 min segment we discuss how faith communities are making use of the latest in new media - from Twitter masses to Jewish Blackberry ("Jewberry) prayer books. Check it out here.

Religion in Virtual Worlds Study Group

I learned about an interesting study group on religion online that meets in Second Life. Here are the details for researchers who might be interested in joining.

Time: May 22, 2009 from 8am to 9:30am

Location: Second Life

Organized By: Beth Davies-Stofka Event

Description:Religion in Virtual Worlds Study Group

The Religion in Virtual Worlds Study Group meets on the 3rd Friday of the month at 8:00 AM Second Life time.The May meeting will take place on May 22nd (in order to avoid overlap with end-of-semester duties). The agenda is Buddhist Death in Second Life

Dr. Beth Davies-Stofka presents the educational goals and strategies behind the Second Life Bardo Game. Designed by members of the Center for EduPunx, the Second Life Bardo Game creates the "in between" state of the dead person as described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, challenging the player to find her way to enlightenment.There are a few design issues that we need help resolving, and we'll present those to the group.

Discussion: would you like to use this game in your classroom? What questions or considerations concern you? How can we help?Religion in Virtual Worlds Study Group meetings normally last an hour and a half, but feel free to come late and leave early!

All are welcome. All meetings are held on the Front Range Island. Front Range Island is private, so please RSVP in advance with your avatar name to

Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you on May 22nd!

Next meeting: June 19. Agenda will be set at the May meeting.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Patheo and Religion Online is a relatively new web site that seeks to be an interactive site devoted to the exploration and discussion of religious belief and experience. They have assembled an impressive list of experts and advisors for the site which offers on only info on different religious traditions but place for interaction, debate and special topics discussion. This week the topic in the Public Square forum is Religion on the Web. They offer an impressive range of article from why Catholic spiritual mentors need to take Facebook seriously to a reflection on what What Muhammad would advise Muslims to do about the internet. I was interview for one of three lead article in the section, one specifically titled Religion 2.0 that looks at the future of religion in an internet world. With so many interesting pieces the site and this week's public square discussion is especially worth checking out.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Kid's morals in Virtual Worlds: online morals match offline

I recent came across an interesting research article which talks about kid's morals in virtual worlds. In the article, Gender, race and morality in the virtual world and its relationship to morality in the real world, researchers from Michigan state university argue that children’s offline moral behavior and attitudes is largely carried over in their behavior and beliefs online. The team's systematic interviews with over 500 young people found that morality online was related to morality offline, confirming the finding of many researchers that the online and offline social (and religious/moral) context are intimately interconnected. For more info check out the full article:

Jackson LA et al (2009). Gender, race and morality in the virtual world and its relationship to morality in the real world. Sex Roles DOI 10.1007/s11199-009-9589-5