A couple years ago my wife and I started a blog. Actually, we started a project, and the blog was just a way to hold ourselves accountable to the project. There was a new cookbook out by the Missouri Department of Conservation called Cooking Wild in Missouri. My wife though it would be interesting to work our way through the cookbook, making every recipe in a year, similar to the way Julia Powell blogged about making every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year (later made into the movie Julie/Julia).
Although taking a cookbook challenge wasn’t an original idea, we upped the ante on Julie by choosing a cookbook where we had to hunt, fish and gather ingredients. And by doing it all in a year, we had to keep a close eye on hunting and fishing seasons, and when various nuts, berries and mushrooms were ready to be harvested. It kept us in tune to nature.
So we launched www.woodstofood.blogspot.com. As most bloggers do, we started watching our statistics relating to page views. My wife was immediately impressed that we had readers around the world. I believe she was picturing a middle-aged man, dressed in furs from animals he’d trapped himself, coming into his cozy home after a long day of herding goats, sweeping the snow off of his satellite dish so he can establish an Internet connection, and then saying to his family, “Come on, let’s see what the Koenigs are having for dinner tonight!” as the kids jump up and down, and gather around an antique computer with a black and white screen.
When I saw the international connection, I pictured a chain-smoking 15-year-old hacker working in the basement of an abandoned warehouse. In walks the local mob enforcer. “Do you have the Koenigs credit card numbers yet?” he asks. “Not yet,” the hacker replies. “But soon.”
Actually, it turns out most, if not all, of our international readers were just people who wanted to post ads for fake Ugg boots in our comment section.
The blog did get some attention locally, though. In Columbia it was featured on a television show, a news radio program, in the daily papers and in a local magazine. It was even mentioned in the Kansas City Star and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
We kept watching those stats, and while being featured in the print and broadcast media would give the blog a little bump, it wasn’t a much as you would think. But whenever the Missouri Department of Conservation would post a link to our blog on their Facebook page, our page views would go through the roof. MDC has many friends.
It showed me how powerful social media connections are when it comes to doing what they do best – connecting people to websites.
Consider how you can use the power of social media connections to bolster activities in your church. Shy people become bolder online. You can finally offer that invitation to an event that you just never quite got around to making in person. One of our districts in the Missouri Conference is currently working on a major push to activate their most prolific social media members in support of the Imagine No Malaria campaign. You’ll read more about how that turned out in an upcoming issue of the Missouri Methodists.
I’m not advocating that you spam people with a lot of unwanted emails or social media messages, but to consider how you can personally help people connect to your church in ways that may at least help break the ice. You can even share links to this magazine, www.moumethodist.org/momethodists.
We finished our year-long project in the fall of 2012. We stopped blogging when we finished the recipe book, but the site is still there. I just checked it and found hundreds of spam posts in the comment section.
Fred Koenig, Editor
Missouri Conference Publications