In a media landscape that is dominated by Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and other celebrity personalities, the notion that Jesus Christ could have a Facebook following that is more engaged than any other is an intriguing one.
But much to the dismay of new media consultants who push fervently to spawn interaction for their clients, this is exactly what's happening.
Jesus Daily, a "church/religious organization" Facebook page with more than 8.4 million "likes," is run by a diet doctor who lives in North Carolina. Dr. Aaron Tabor launched the page back in 2009 after he turned to the social media platform to help promote a diet book he had written.
Tabor, whose father was a preacher, has been posting Biblical principles four or five times each day. The result? A dedicated fan base that the world's top brands, sports teams and celebrity personalities would salivate over.
While 8.4 million is hardly the largest fan base in terms of hard numbers, Jesus Daily has the most interactive group around. The Times has more on the intrigue surrounding this intriguing find:
What is new is that millions of people are also turning to Facebook pages, like the Jesus Daily, created by people unaffiliated with a religious leader or a specific house of worship. With 8.2 million fans, the Jesus Daily counted 3.4 million interactions last week, compared with about 630,000 interactions among Justin Bieber’s 35 million fans, the AllFacebook.com analysis shows. The Bible Facebook page, run by the United Bible Societies in Reading, England, has eight million fans and also beat Mr. Bieber with about a million interactions.
Considering the mass magnitude of the celebrity power of Beiber, Gaga and others like them, it's intriguing that Jesus Christ has a following that is so bustling with commentary, discussion and "likes."
For many churches and houses of worship, the power of the social media complex is just being discovered. Perhaps Tabor can be an inspiration to the people and institutions who have yet to harness this power.
Recently, Pope Benedict addressed the power and caution the religious should heed when using Facebook:
Although Pope Benedict acknowledged in a recent statement that social networks offered “a great opportunity,” he warned Roman Catholics that “virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives.”
In the end, this is certainly an anomaly, although it does showcase the idea that people respond most actively in the online space to the emotions, ideals and life tenets that they personally relate to.