There has been some conversation in Christian circles about the Top 200 Blogs List released by Church Relevance. They used a variety of metrics, but Adrian Warnock was quick to point out they hadn’t accounted for Twitter followers. He compiled another Top 2oo, based purely on that, and which he has been kindly amending as he discovers other Christian bloggers of various persuasions. He followed up today with a further post in which he asks Christian bloggers to be aware of their motives in wanting to blog and to be on such lists.
Adrian is right to ask why we blog. Vanity can slip in all to easily. I recall one Christian friend who said he steered clear of blogging because he felt it was all ‘Me, me, me.’
But Christian communicators want to have an influence. The statistics, though, can only tell us so much. Does influence consist in reading? If so, I influence 2-3,000 people per week. But anyone can read, and only a tiny minority interact through the comments.
Yet much as I welcome the comments, and they are part of my raison d’être for blogging – I want to have a conversation – even that is a crude way of mentioning influence. Does not a messenger of the Gospel want to exercise influence in seeing changed lives? How do I measure that?
How much, then, are the metrics worth?
What do you think?
The BBC reports that blogging is losing popularity among American teenagers, while rising slightly among the over-30s. Why?
One student said teenagers had lost interest in blogging because they needed to type quickly and “people don’t find reading that fun”.
Shorter updates are in vogue, but Facebook status updates rather than Twitter tweets. The increased use of mobile technology to access the Internet has exacerbated the need for brevity.
Meanwhile, those who continue ‘long form blogging’ may find some of their activities restricted during the forthcoming UK General Election. The Register reports that in the period between the election writ being moved and the election taking place, it may prove to be illegal to use one’s blog to campaign for a particular candidate. Facebook groups supporting a candidate for a specific constituency may also be illegal. It’s all about ensuring candidates don’t find ways around the limits on election expenses. The law hasn’t been tested, and returning officers are looking into it.
My introduction to personal websites was to design one in a sabbatical in 2003. Since I went over to blogging my sermons and articles, it has not been updated. It has now been dormant since 2006. Occasionally, I know people still visit it. However, it was hosted with my ISP and I have recently heard they will be taking it down because of the particular platform on which it was hosted. So if anyone wants to make any final visits to http://www.davefaulkner.co.uk, please do so before 15th October. Ideally I’d like to transfer some of the material as an archive here or somewhere else, but that will be a big job, and I can’t see that happening in the foreseeable future.
In one of my recent posts, three people have commented anonymously with basically invented names and invented email addresses. I tracked two of them down to a certain extent, but there seemed to be no reason for their anonymity. I can understand taking the anonymous route in certain limited circumstances, but generally I don’t think it’s defensible. And if I thought the commenters were being libellous, I’d block their contributions anyway.
So – as I’ve asked in a comment on that post – do other bloggers have any thoughts or a particular policy on anonymous commenting? I’d be grateful for any thoughts, because I’m beginning to think I might need to formulate a policy, and at this stage I’m inclined towards banning them.
But maybe I’m just being reactionary and over the top. What do you think?
Here’s a great idea from John Smulo: Blog Comment Day. On 3rd December, comment on at least five blogs, of which at least two should be blogs where you have not commented before. If done well, it could promote good conversation.
My latest article for Ministry Today, ‘Is Blogging Just For Self-Centred Nerds?’, has just been published in Edition 43, Summer 2008, pp 38-42. You can read it online here. (This may require registration at the site.)
You may recall I first asked for thoughts on this subject on the blog on 26th February. Thanks for your help at the time; you can now read the final version. If I quote you in the article, I cite your blog. Hopefully you’ll get a little more traffic.