Fan pages and groups on Facebook aren’t just for sainting mobsters. On the other side of the spectrum, a fan page started for Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas shows another example of Facebook’s influence on groups and individuals.
After 17-year-old Stephen Elser attended Bishop Taylor’s ordination he decided to make a group on Facebook called the “Bishop Taylor Fan Club.” Once Bishop Taylor learned of the group, he joined the social network in order to view the group page. He then decided to join Facebook, which is exactly what Elser wanted, according to a report on Catholic News.
What makes this a noteworthy article is the fact that Bishop Taylor may be the first U.S. Catholic Bishop to join the popular social network. And despite the open-ended ways in which members can utilize Facebook’s features and functions, Bishop Taylor has stated that his use of Facebook can go towards evangelism and keeping up with his diocese. Many others have the same idea for how to use Facebook, though it may not be for the same religious purposes that Bishop Taylor has in mind.
Despite much religious controversy that some Facebook groups have caused in the past couple of years, it’s clear that Facebook is a powerful tool for even influencing the Catholic clergy. In the same way that professors, employers and product brands have turned to Facebook in order to tap into the web-savvy youth, so too will Bishop Taylor. While there are a number of religion-centric social networks already targeting the niche markets, we’re likely to see more religious leaders turning to larger, all-inclusive networks hoping to reach its wide array of users for their own specific religious purposes.