Atheists tweet more often than Muslims, Jews, Christians, study shows

Oct 14, 2014

Photo courtesy of Lu Chen

By Kimberly Winston

What does a map of the U.S. religious landscape look like in 140 characters?

A new study of Twitter finds that self-identified religious users are more likely to tweet to members of their own faith than to members of a different one. The study examined people whose Twitter profiles identified them as Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and atheist.

And while adherents of all six groups studied tweet frequently, atheists — among the smallest populations in the U.S. — are the most prolific.

“On average, we can say the atheists have more friends, more followers, and they tweet more,” said Lu Chen, a doctoral candidate at the Kno.e.sis Center at Wright State University who co-authored the study with Ingmar Weber of the Qatar Computing Research Institute and  Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn of Rutgers University-Camden. They will present their findings in November at the sixth annual International Conference on Social Informatics.


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7 comments on “Atheists tweet more often than Muslims, Jews, Christians, study shows

  • I would speculate that they aren’t living in mortal fear that god is going to send them to Hell for eternity if they think or say the wrong thing. And given the goalposts on what to think or say in relation move so often and are often blurred by the fog of factions, you may as well shut up and go to heaven.

    Also being secular, means the whole human race are included in your potential chat’ee’s.

    Go you atheists.

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  • It seems logical to me that social media would attract a minority and disparate group such as US atheists. From what I read on this site, many are fairly isolated so Twitter would provide an outlet to discuss issues that they might not feel able to talk about so readily with the religious people around them. The religious people don’t need to go online to talk about their faith. It would be interesting to see a comparative study in a more secular country.

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  • It would be interesting to see a comparative study in a more secular country.

    With absolutely no data to back up this opinion, in Australia, religion is a non event. Plenty of opening atheist politicians, including two Prime Ministers that I can recall. Your religious views have almost no impact on you life. I can get an atheist conversation on any street corner. And we don’t have to hide our views in fear of bigoted reprisals.

    So you might be right about America, which is still stuck back in the 1950’s. It would be good to survey a representative sample of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and atheist. about their motivations for using Twitter, in America and a couple of other countries like Australia. It would be nice to know the actual reason for the stats subject of this news article.

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  • Hi David R Allen,

    not to mention we just have more interesting stuff to talk about. The whole world of science opens before your eyes with no need to cover your eyes, plug your ears and say “I’m not listening, I’m not listening!”.

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  • And, in the context of that question theists often ask, “You’re an atheist, why are you so interested in religion”, nothing is forbidden, halal, or too unsavoury to taint our precious minds. The “I’d rather not discuss/sully my pure mind with/think about X” notion isn’t an inhibitor.

    From what I see on blogs I visit, the atheists commenting on religious blogs tend to offer thoughtful criticism of the religious OP, while on atheist blogs the religious visitors seem more happy to smite all atheist offenders there.

    There are exceptions. Atheist trolls do leave snarky comments on theist blogs sometimes. And thoughtful theists do comment on atheist blogs. However, the latter usually go one of two ways: (i) give up and go away, often with “Well, we all have our own ways of thinking (knowing)”, or (ii) in frustration they’ll revert to smiting.

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  • 7
    Claudia Odile says:

    Your absolutely right, it’s the same situation in Germany, especially if you live in the north like Hamburg, religion isn’t a topic here and that’s one of the few things I really appreciate in this country. An international survey would be very interesting for me too. Oh, and there’s another reason why atheists are more active on Twitter, we have more time, we don’t have to spend our days on praying, going to church etc., we can concentrate on other stuff…

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