Religions are born when people need them.
Whether or not the scriptures tell the truth or that deities exist, religions and religious phenomena serve emotional needs.
Do we inhabit such a time and such a place?
New forms of worship, sacrifice and ritual?
Versions of these practices and beliefs that prompted our ancestors to build burial mounds and worship trees have made their way onto social media, but now they’re as easy as hitting “send.”
Is social media itself a new religion? Or is it simply a set of circumstances through which users find and follow factions that are ostensibly secular but operate as cults, denominations, or sects?
Before thinking about the details, here is our devotion.
More than 4 billion people around the world regularly interact with social media, so its “users” are we. Most of those billions spend more than two hours a day using it, by choice. It indicates a commitment, a sacrifice – while letting go, at least for these two hours, of everything else.
Characteristics shared by religions and social media
The researchers specified a certain set of features this define religions As such. Any unique characteristic on this list exists in almost every human hobby, group, or gathering. But social media owns the whole thing.
- Shared Beliefs: Traditional religions are based on shared principles (eg, “There is only one God.”). The principle that drives social media is that fame matters most, famous people deserve to be revered because they are famous, and popularity is the highest pursuit.
- Myths and origin stories concerning deities and phenomena: Modern versions of Genesis and Tales from Mount Olympus are tales surrounding Kim Kardashian’s story. sex tape and Belle Delphine selling her bath water.
- Hoping for “heaven”: Many users dream of one day posting content that will go viral – in a good way, not overwhelming/cancellable – and thus entering the “heaven” of wealth and fame.
- Threats “from hell”: The persistent fear of insults, mockery, unpopularity and other misfortunes could stimulate the depression and suicidal thoughts that studies have linked to social media.
- Rituals: Click “Like” and check notifications are rituals. The same is true for TikTok challenges that pop up out of nowhere and beg users en masse to perform certain dances, commit certain crimes, or ingest certain substances.
- Deities, deities or other celestials: Wielding superhuman beauty, power and allure, influencers receive devotion in the form of adoration, loyalty, conformity, mimicry and money from millions of devotees who never see them in real life. .
- Symbols: Hashtags, emojis and acronyms are the yin-yang and ankh of social media, delivering togetherness and a sense of superiority through fluidity and semi-secrecy. TikTok even has its own set of specially coded “hidden” emojis.
- Presumptions of Salvation: Users feel “saved” from the dreaded boredom, isolation, non-belonging, and disappointment of not using social media. Engagement such as DMs from other people, especially influencers, makes users feel “chosen”.
- A sense of community: Social networks are above all social. Each platform has its own slang, traits, jokes, protocols, etiquette, celebrities, and membership procedures that evoke an insider aura of sacrosanct membership.
- A sense of identify: Users adopt group names based on favorite platforms or fandoms within them, calling themselves Instagrammers, for example, or Thronies, much as members of certain beliefs call themselves baptized or Theravadins.
- A motivation: The actual practice of using social media feels urgent, meaningful, and crucial while it’s happening, though afterwards one often wonders where that time went.
- Altered states of consciousness: Many religions use music, herbs and other means to induce visions and other effects. Social media creates a dopamine-powered high, activating the brain’s reward system in a way that resembles the effects of addictive drugs.
We could consider it all scary and dystopian. Jeffree Star, with 14 million followers, is he a god? Is Elon Musk Nebuchadnezzar? But if, as studies suggest, spirituality is linked to better healthso maybe clicking “Like” another 50 times today isn’t so bad.