I am a bit obsessed with the counter on my blog that tells me how many people have visited. Just by clicking on the link that brought you here, you have brought me joy – even if you get nothing out of it!
From my end of the blog I can also analyse the stats a lot more. I know which country you are in (thanks to whoever visits from the Maldives, Libya and Myanmar!) when you click on the link. I know which pages are visited most often. I know how you got here (search engines, Facebook, etc). I know the top terms used to visit my blog on search engines (fantastically ‘Elmer Fudd’ still reigns supreme). I know how many people have shared my blog with others. And there’s other stats I can identify too.
You have no idea how much the latent geek / nerd within me loves this information.
And I have no idea how useful it is. It does not affect the content I post, because I (selfishly) put stuff up as a way of me reflecting on my life and faith rather than to please any audience. It does not mean that I will be writing in other languages (good thing too!). It won’t make me get to know you at all.
In churches we can get obsessed by statistics too. How many people were in church / at the prayer meeting / go to house groups / came to the blindfold hang-gliding evening*? How many people have become members? How many people were baptised? How many people have come to faith?
The answers to those questions are not unimportant, but they won’t help us to get to know people better. They won’t tell us about the things that are going on in people’s lives. They won’t inform our praying. That only happens when we see people rather than numbers; when we are interested in one another not just in what interests us; when we don’t just say ‘hello’ but welcome people wholeheartedly. When we do, it would be interesting to see what happens to the statistics!
Be blessed, be a blessing
*Not yet inaugurated at our church.