CARA Study on Catholic New Media Use Released in November 2012

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on November 27, 2012

in blog, Catholic, Diocese, parish, Pope Benedict XVI, social media

On Sunday, November 11, prior to the annual fall meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Baltimore, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) presented the results of their study on “Catholic New Media Use in the United States, 2012  to the U.S. bishops and a group of bloggers that had gathered for “An Encounter With Social Media: Bishops and Bloggers Dialogue.”

The national survey commissioned by the USCCB took place between September 10 and 18, 2012. It was completed by 1, 047 self-identified Catholics over the age of 18. “As a rule of thumb, every percentage point of the total sample is approximately equivalent to 583.000 adult Catholics.”

There are many interesting statistics in the report which you can read for yourself, but I will highlight a few that interest me.

  • According to the study, 62 percent of Catholics have a profile on Facebook (an estimated 36.2 million U.S. adults); 17% have a LinkedIn Profile; 13% have a Twitter profile.
  • 33% agreed that they want their pastor to blog and 31% want their bishop to blog
  • The Catholic website most often visited regularly by self-identified adult Catholics is their parish website. 9% percent say they visit this once a month or more often. This is equivalent to 5.3 million individuals.
  • 68% of respondents visit YouTube
  • 53% of respondents were unaware of any significant Catholic presence online

My thoughts:

The sheer number of Catholics online, especially Millennials and the Post Vatican II generations who are more likely to be on social networks than older Catholics, indicate a need for the Church to be there as well. While the Church has a tremendous store of content to share, the challenge is to package it in a way that will attract and engage those who inhabit the “Digital continent” as Pope Benedict XVI calls the online world.

His Holiness is doing his part by the way. The Vatican recently announced that Pope Benedict XVI has his own Twitter profile now and will be tweeting soon. (No details on his “handle” yet and most likely he will sign off on his tweets, rather than tweet them himself, but he gets credit even for that. More details to come from the Vatican.)

In case you missed the coverage of Bishops and bloggers event and the release of the report, here are some links:

CNS Report on the Bishops and Bloggers Dialogue 

USCCB press release on the CARA study

The CARA report Catholic New Media Use in the United States, 2012

Pope to Tweet Soon

What are your thoughts on all of this?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Maureen Spillane SND November 27, 2012 at 8:13 am

Happy to hear this news… Thank you for sharing it Susan.

Lisa Hendey November 27, 2012 at 10:23 am

Thanks for the recap! I’m still digesting the numbers and trying to understand what they mean for me both as a blogger and as a parish webmaster.

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