The minority religious groups in the U.S. use social media to uphold their religious behaviors and cultural values by sometimes making fun of mainstream social media practice or use, a study has found.
The study analyzed the Snapchat use of Brigham Young University (BYU) students who are mostly members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Clark Callahan, Scott Haden Church, Jesse King, and Maureen Elinzano, a team of four researchers from BYU, conducted the study which was published last year in the Journal of Media and Religion.
The researchers took screenshots of representative snaps in April 2016 and later. These snaps were taken from the BYU Snapchat Story and posted in the “Live Stories” section of the Snapchat app, which does not belong to BYU or its’ related bodies. Instead, it is run by an anonymous student or students.
The BYU Snapchat Story contains lighthearted humor on topics such as dating, marriage, BYU sports, church and campus incidents.
In the analyzed snaps, students made fun of mainstream youth cultures such as drinking and sexual behaviors by maintaining their religious values with creative activities such as drinking water or dancing.
In one snap, as the study found, two students were drinking water from two bottles using a caption “Class Drinking Style. #MormonStyle” and mimicking the drinking culture of most of the youth in the U.S. These acts also show a kind of resistance toward the prevalent norms set by the majority group of people on social media platforms.
The results indicate that the students bypassed the Snapchat’s dominant youth-based “secular” cultures to enhance their minority values.
“Thus, the BYU Snapchat Story essentially acts as a tool of subcultural empowerment in creating a subculture,” stated the study.
To read more: https://doi.org/10.1080/15348423.2019.1639404
To cite this article: Clark Callahan, Scott Haden Church, Jesse King & Maureen Elinzano (2019) Snapchat Usage Among Minority Populations, Journal of Media and Religion, 18:1, 1-12, DOI: 10.1080/15348423.2019.1639404