Christians and Analytics

I’ve been in the ‘website industry’ now for ten years or so. Working with Storyboard I’ve been working with clients and friends to make them look beautiful on the internet and make sure they are being effective in how they communicate. As the world of tracking reach, social media, Google analytics and other kind of statistics started to infiltrate pretty much every website on the internet you can’t help but see how shallow this whole industry really is. The worst is that Christians play this game as much as anyone else and legitimately think that ‘numbers equal success.’ I was in the car with a fairly powerful Christian leader this past year, one who has reach all over the world and who thousands of people look to for leadership. One of the things that he said was “you know you can tell who the influencers are just by looking at how many Facebook friends or Twitter followers they have.” He then proceeded to unfold a plan that involved connecting with these powerful people to get messages across and rally people for a cause. It’s not that he is wrong. He is right. If you have 100,000 followers on Twitter, you probably influence a lot of people, if not to act, then at least what they are going to think about that day.

The issue I have with all this, is the same issue I have with large churches. As soon as you have mass, you eliminate meaning on multiple levels. The amount of people at your church far from equals the quality of discipleship or success of your church.

The same rule needs to be applied to the Internet. The amount of likes a post gets, or retweets, or followers someone has or friends…does not in anyway equal quality, success or goodness. It would be our Christian duty to go searching past the likes and tweets and popularity for people and writing that is genuine and unknown and good. Don’t look to how popular something is to see if it’s worth reading or watching. Follow people that aren’t popular, and keep following them. The internet is deceiving. A guy will get a 100 retweets to run onto the field during a baseball game, but someone crying out for their life in Egypt will barely be heard.

I’ve been so frustrated with how misleading tweet and like counts are that I’ve removed them from my site entirely. It’s not valuable outside of just claiming certain amount of legitimacy that I shouldn’t be looking for if I’m going to keep this blog transparent and honest. I want to write how I feel and what I think and what I’m struggling with and never feel like I need to write about certain subjects or jump on bandwagons just for hits or traffic.

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