Technology makes it far too easy to keep score online. I find myself frequently checking the statistics to see how I’m doing: What’s my Klout score (how much moreso now they let you see how individual posts are doing)? How many followers do I have on Twitter? What’s the weekly total reach of the new Facebook Page that I’m an admin on for a group that I work with? How many views has this blog gotten today and which posts are most popular? How many days can I keep going with being on top of BlogElul?
All those numbers. And I keep going back to look at them. Not so much because I want to get a score of my popularity, but because it’s interesting to me. It’s like a game–can I get my score higher? And, even more, it’s like a puzzle–what activity has the greatest influence on these numbers and how do I make that work? It’s fun.
But more than that, it lets me check in on how I’m doing. Is my message reaching people? Are those people listening? Are those people responding? What is the impact of my online presence and how do I best utilize that to reach and to teach and to engage and (perhaps) to inspire?
Counting all those numbers helps me to know. Interestingly, I have no idea how many friends I have on facebook. That number doesn’t matter much to me. What matters is the depth of the relationship that I have with the people on that list. With some, it is strong. With others, it’s not. And that’s ok–we can’t have a full I-Thou relationship with everyone we’ve ever met…it’s not realistic.
But by looking at those other numbers…by trying to reach people in different ways…by trying to teach people with different modes…by being a rabbi who uses social networking…I can hopefully build more relationships. Better relationships. Stronger relationships.
Because that’s what really counts.