Title

Social Media and Priestly Identity Among the Catholic Clergy in a Philippine Locality

Author

Jesus Gozun

Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts major in Communication (Thesis Option)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Valdez, Violet B., Ph.D.

Abstract

Through the lens of the uses and gratifications theory, the study examined how Catholic priests used social media to gratify their identity needs along the three dimensions of a priest’s identity namely: institutional, professional, and personal (Altenhofen, 2016). The study further investigated differences in the degree of gratification for each need as a result of variations in access and use of social media, and in socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents. Data was gathered through a survey and a content analysis. The respondents were 121 priests from the Archdiocese of San Fernando, in the Philippine province of Pampanga. The instrument used was a seven-point Likert scale questionnaire that measured the respondents’ degree of agreement to 65 statements that are indicators of the three dimensions of identity needs. For the content analysis, 279 artifacts of Facebook posts from 12 sources who were chosen among the respondents were analyzed. To situate the study on the respondents’ socio, historical, cultural environment, data was also gathered from relevant primary documents. Survey results show that priests tended to agree more to statements on the uses of Facebook that were indicators of institutional identity needs (M=4.96), as compared to professional identity needs (M=4.86), and personal identity needs (M=4.76). However, results from the content analysis showed that majority of the Facebook posts, 53.4%, were indicators of personal identity needs while posts that were indicators of professional and institutional identity needs were comparatively minimal, at 11% and 10% of all needs, respectively. Moreover, the study generated data that did not fall under any of the categories found by Altenhofen. This finding points to the inadequacy of the uses and gratifications theory to explain v social media use among Filipino priests. The existence of a media culture that is unique to the life experiences of the respondents may be inferred.

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