Since the coming of the Internet scholars have been discussing its implications for the future of religion. With its high levels of Internet use and low levels of religious practice Sweden represents an interesting case for studying these issues. This article presents findings from the first online survey of Swedish teenager’s use of the Internet for religious purposes, conducted at one of the largest social networking sites LunarStorm. The results show that more young people seem to come into contact with religion via the Internet than through local religious communities. However, the findings also challenge several early expectations about the Internet as a new arena for religion in contemporary society. Thus the article initiates a critical discussion of what conclusions may be drawn from these results, and where future research on young people, religion and the Internet should be directed.
While early blogging research focused on top-ranked blogs commenting on public events, recent research confirms that most blogs today concern the personal life of the blogger. The present article focuses on a particular case of blogs that falls in between these categories. In Sweden, personal blogs written by young women have dominated the ranking lists of the most popular blogs during recent years. This new phenomenon is approached through an analysis of the characteristics and content of 20 top-ranked blogs authored by young women. Through their popularity, these bloggers have come to introduce commercial and professional aspects of blogging that challenge the conventions of personal blogs. The article analyses how the bloggers negotiate these conventions in self-presentations, postings and relations to readers and how they seek to perform a self through the blog that integrates different aspects of blogging. A crucial part of this process is identification with the gender conventions of “ordinary girls”.
The debate about a resurgence of religion in the public life of Western European societies is ongoing in media and academic circles. Yet there is a shortage of systematic and longitudinal empirical studies of the coverage of religion in European mass media. This article presents some empirical findings, but the focus is on methodological considerations in a longitudinal quantitative content analysis of indicators of religion in editorials in the Swedish daily press from 1976 to 2010. We present and discuss how the selection of keywords and of analytical units affects the outcome of our analysis as to tendencies over time regarding the frequency of religion indicators. As our results show, the question of a resurgence of religion in the daily press has no simple answer. Thus, methodological issues concerning reliability, validity and reflexivity are of crucial importance for this and similar studies measuring cultural change as reflected in the daily press.