Monday, September 9, 2013

Case Study: Muslim Memes Facebook Page

The case study that I chose is the Facebook Page "Muslims Memes." The Page was launched in February 2012 and has over 78,000 likes. It features memes which centered around the religion of Islam. The Muslim Meme's Facebook page is connected to both Twitter and Pinterest as well, but I think I may tentatively be focusing mostly on the Facebook Page.

Facebook Pages are different than Facebook Groups in that Groups appear to be more focus around a sense of community; members can see other Facebook users who are part of the group, whereas in Facebook pages one can only see the total number of users who have liked the page. Both pages and groups have places for users to post to the public newsfeed. Muslim Memes has this capability, but interestingly all of the memes surveyed so far have been posted by Muslims Memes itself. In other words, the page operator is the only user who is posting the memes. Despite this, users share memes on their own Facebook walls or friends' walls, and also regularly comment and like the memes.

The memes focus on specific Muslims rituals, holy days, or behaviors of Muslims. Memes may correspond to certain significant periods in the Muslim calendar. For example, a number of memes dealing with Ramadan were posted during the fasting period.

The specific aspects of this page I choose to focus on are the parochial nature of the memes and the ways in which users share and interact them. Some memes I do not immediately understand because I am not a Muslim and am not familiar with certain concepts (part of taking on this case study is for personal interest in learning more about Islam). I will first examine how the memes require certain literacy with the religion of Islam to be understood. The second aspect is the sharing and interacting with the memes. Among the elements of digital religion explored are things like identity management through sharing of memes, the interpretation of the memes (i.e., whether they are meant to be funny and lighthearted or meant to provoke thought or criticism of certain behaviors).

I will study these phenomenon by observing the posting of memes over a period of several months and view the discourse surrounding the memes via the comments section. Facebook users can also click on the share link under a post to see who has shared the post on their walls and any comments associated with those shares.

Here is the link to the FB Page:

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