The Christian season of Lent is one of personal sacrifice. But could it also be a financial hit for such social networking giants as Twitter and Facebook?
As strange as the question may seem, it’s perhaps worth asking in light of the sizable number of followers of the faith who have vowed in recent years to forego social media as part of their 40-day Lenten fast (Lent starts on Wednesday). A 2014 surveyby the Barna Group, a California research firm, found that 16% of those who observe Lent planned to curtail their use of sites like Facebook and Twitter. By contrast, some other well-known vices—swearing and smoking, for example—were cited by no more than 2% of Lent observers as their abstention item of choice. (Chocolate remained the biggie—30% said they were banning the sweet stuff from their diet throughout Lent.)
Further proof of the abstaining-from-social media trend: Twitter is running third in OpenBible.info’s annual list of the most-mentioned Lenten sacrifices (the list is compiled by reviewing what people are saying on Twitter, oddly enough). And the broader category of “social networking” itself ranked fourth. (Chocolate held the number-one top spot in OpenBible.info’s list.)