With the arrival of Ash Wednesday on the Catholic calendar comes the start of Lent, a 40-day period leading up to the Easter holiday marked by a process of individual sacrifice.
This year for Lent, social media experts believe a massive global population of social networking junkies will give up (or at least try to give up) Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other platforms of interest for the period.
“In the past, it might have been giving up the extras, like chocolate or TV, but Facebook has become such a big part of people’s daily lives they’re contemplating giving it up, praying about it and discussing it,” says Lisa Hendey, webmaster at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, which is Fresno, California’s largest Roman Catholic congregation.
Marketing and social media analysts will be closely watching social media patterns and traffic in the coming 40 days to see if a noticeable dip in activity is perceptible. Given the unprecedented popularity of social networks today, it is highly conceivable that social networking abstinence will be among the biggest trends during Lent this year.
Dan Hues, associate pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church, says “Facebook is huge” and represents the perfect self–indulgent activity to sacrifice for Lent. “It’s blown up to be almost ubiquitous. It’s almost compulsive; that’s why it makes sense to give it up for Lent.”