Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Blogging Program...


Could you please let me know how to withdraw from your blogging program?  I have deep concerns about Klout and the idea of social influence when it comes to blogging.  (The program decided that what books would be available to me would be determined by my "Klout".)  Mars Hill Audio had a great discussion of this in this issue: (the last two essays on Part 2).  As a Christian and as a blogger, my goal is not to be branded or to seek greater social influence.  It is to do what God has set before me--to spread the word about good books I find, not for selfish gain (or influence) but that other believers might be encouraged as well.

In Christ,

This is the letter I emailed to a blogging program tonight in response to an email I received from the publisher informing me that they would be using Klout to determine individual blogger's social influence and using that determination to then determine the selection of books I would be offered the choice to review.  

The letter explains a little about how I feel about it.  Honestly, it deeply grieves me.  The idea of "social influence" that a blogger might have unsettles me.  I wish I could do the audio essays from Mars Hill justice.  If you are interested in this topic, You can download the MP3 of the issue for only $6.  For people like me ;) who don't have time to read the books these authors have written, Mars Hill is a great way to hear their ideas... But, back to the topic at hand--social media influence.

Have you heard of Klout?  I hadn't until this week.  Klout basically monitors social media outlets (facebook, twitter, linkedin, foursquare (?), and google and wordpress accounts)  to determine one's social influence and the effectiveness of one's words (how much power your words have)--I think that basically means how much people follow their advice and ideas.  It eerily makes me think of the forming of idols.  

A few months ago, my husband had me listen to that episode of Mars Hill Audio while on a date.  We discussed the idea of branding bloggers.  Neither he nor I wanted my blogging to go that way.  I blog because I want to encourage others and share what I'm reading.  I want to share the ups and downs along the way,   I can't always say exactly why, except that it comforts me when I know I'm not alone in my struggles--that others have been there.  So, I assume that someone else might be going through what I'm going through and that me sharing my struggles (and joys) might encourage them as well.  

The danger of online blogging for this reason is that it can threaten to take the place of real, face-to-face relationships.  One of the positive things about moving for me has been the change I've seen in my computer habits.  I am much less drawn to the internet.  I generally post less on my blogs and facebook.  The computer doesn't feel like it's as needed for me.  It has also helped to have my mom living with us.  I have an adult in the house that I can discuss what I'm thinking with throughout the day.  

Speaking of which, my kids and husband are reading the Chronicles of Narnia and I need to go be present! 

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