Believing Bloggers (Part 1): Religion on the Internet

February 18, 2008 § 7 Comments

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From time to time I spend a few moments looking at trends on Blogpulse. Its a habit, trending and statistics is part of what I do for a living at the hospital, so you can’t blame me for being interested in what the spectrum of internet chatter looks like in a line graph. Anyway, as I was looking through Nielsen BuzzMetrics’ interesting little media tool I ran across a Blogpulse generated search called, Church vs. Mosque vs. Temple vs. Synagogue vs. Shrine vs. Cathedral. It is a general search which does an overall scan of “places of worship” that are discussed on the internet. And what I found was that according to peak average, the “church” was mentioned in, a shocking, 82% more blogposts than the “mosque” overall. And the “mosque” was mentioned in 55% more than “synagogue” among all blog posts from August 19, 2007 to February 6, 2008.

It should be interesting to note that the highest rate of posts for each place of worship were during the the months of Holy days. The synagogue’s peak rate was .026% of all blog posts in the month of September. September 2007 hosted two of the Holy periods for the Jews, both Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. The “church” on the other hand was blogged at a rate of 2.053%, while the “mosque” was mentioned at a rate of .04% of all blog posts during December 2007. It was during the month of December that the biggest Christian holiday and the Muslim Holy day of ‘Eid al-Adha fell in 2007.

In conclusion, we can say that the Christian church is mentioned on the internet much more than the Muslims and Jewish places of worship. And one observation I did make looking into the articles written during these months is that Christians often write on their personal experiences at the church. For example, getting up in the morning and going to church; gathering the family for Sunday service; the difficulty of getting to church on time and things like that. While Muslims and Jews have an entirely different dialogue on their place of worship, at least on the internet. I think this should be enough to remind Muslim and Jewish bloggers that developing a disconnection with your place of worship is a dangerous thing. For Muslims it may prove helpful to reflect on what the Holy Prophet (may Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon) has reminded us, saying that among the people shaded by Allah in the shade of His Throne on the Day of Judgment will be a believer whose heart is attached to the Masjid. (an-Nawawi, p. 155)

*Please be aware that both Muslim and Jewish places of worship have other names, such as masjid and temple. The data reported here is only on the identifiers “mosque” and “synagogue”. And as a result may not accurately reflect the actual rate that Muslim and Jewish places of worship are mentioned on blogs overall.
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§ 7 Responses to Believing Bloggers (Part 1): Religion on the Internet

  • True Life says:

    Asalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah,

    First off all I think it’s really unimportant how often the different places of worship have been mentioned in blog entries. Maybe some were slandering churches or others were about a no to the Mega Mosque. So, this statistic is maybe interesting but not really proves anything.

    Second point: Your note at the bottom of the entry is very important. Myself for example prefers the word Masjid instead of Mosque.

    There’s no pun intended in this comment.
    Sorry, if it sounds/reads a little rude.

    Was Salam

  • Saifuddin says:

    BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    wa ‘alaikum as-salaam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh, True Life thank you for your thoughts. Perhaps it is “really” unimportant. And perhaps it is something that others would like to know. The reason I am leaving the note at the bottom was to relay exactly what you seemed to receive. I am saying in that note that,

    ‘These statistics are not precise however they do give reason to think about some things.’

    And that, I believe they do. At any rate, no pun intended, if you were sorry about the way your post reads you would have carefully written it or re-written it before you submitted it, rather than giving that American styled apology.

    But don’t worry it doesn’t matter to me whether or not people are rude on the internet. That is an aspect of the internet that I have come to expect. This is why I encourage people to meet. I have met many Muslim bloggers in the NY/NJ area and usually our meetings face to face are different than on the web, if you would like we could meet sometime if you are in the area. I would like that.

    -Saifuddin

  • Shirley says:

    Asalamu alaikum

    How did they subtract the references to ‘church’ that are not about a place or building, but which refer to the communtity of believers? Where we might say ummah, Christians refer to themselves as ‘the Church’ a great deal. I think that would distort the findings.

  • Saifuddin says:

    BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    wa ‘alaikum as-salaam. Shirley thank you for stopping by. You wrote,

    “How did they subtract the references to ‘church’ that are not about a place or building, but which refer to the communtity of believers?”

    They didn’t. The query has no contextual basis other than the object. So it may or may not reference believers. It is merely a query searching for the keywords “church”, “mosque”, “synagogue” and so forth. That is exactly the problem that True Life has with the data.

    This data wasn’t meant to reflect believers on the internet. The fact that readers are assuming it does may be the result of the title I chose for this post, now that I am looking more deeply into these responses. But I did explain the position of the findings in the following statement,

    “It is a general search which does an overall scan of “places of worship” that are discussed on the internet. And what I found was that according to peak average, the “church” was mentioned in, a shocking, 82% more blogposts than the “mosque” overall. And the “mosque” was mentioned in 55% more than “synagogue” among all blog posts from August 19, 2007 to February 6, 2008.”

    With that said, the conclusion concerning context outside of the objects themselves was drawn from observations of 25 of the top posts in each category which I explained in the post.

    You guys are making me feel like I’m at work on my day off 😉

    -Saifuddin

  • Saifuddin says:

    BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    Shirley, I did a search on “ummah” and “masjid” and from the result set it is safe to say that it would not have mattered one bit. We could have added the numbers from “mosque”, “masjid”, “masajid”, “ummah” and “zawiya”, there would have been little difference. Ummah made up an average of .003% of all blog posts for the 6 month period and the others were around the same or lower.

    -Saifuddin

  • True Life says:

    Asalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah

    Forgive me for Allah’s sake at least, but I really didn’t want to sound harsh.
    Maybe it’s because English is not my native-language – or maybe like you said, because I was careless.

    Was Salam

  • Saifuddin says:

    BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    wa ‘alaikum as-salaam. True Life You wrote,

    “Forgive me for Allah’s sake at least”

    Bro, don’t worry about it, like I said whatever the case its not a big deal. This internet is a big fitnah so misunderstandings are the least of our worries. Besides, who am I… I’m nobody, a weak servant, inshaAllah we will one day meet, I would like that… inshaAllah.

    -Saifuddin

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