Why Knowing Our Data Matters
Have you ever been a victim of fake news? I have.
I remember a time when I was organizing a major event a few months ago and scheduled it on a day everyone thought was going to be a holiday. It was all over Facebook. Everyone was sharing seemingly legitimate announcements about it. A few days before the event, an official government statement was published declaring that the holiday would fall on another date instead! Though me and my team managed to pull through, it was a logistical nightmare that we would never want to go through again.
Being misinformed is never fun. When we refuse to do our homework in knowing relevant facts and examining whether they are true or not, we can be in serious trouble. The Bible is full of stories on how careful planning and gaining insight proved to be of great value. Nehemiah wouldn’t have been able to lead the Israelites in rebuilding the fallen wall without fervently praying for and evaluating the situation first. David, aside from bringing multiple thousands of men skilled with combat skills, also brought with him hundreds of men from the tribe of Issachar who “understood the times.” Even Jesus, as found in Luke 14, encouraged the crowd listening to him to first sit down and “estimate the cost” just as someone would do before building a tower.
People of old times knew the value of gaining knowledge and wisdom, and so should we. We currently live in an era where information has become more accessible than ever. In this digital age, almost every action recorded though our gadgets contributes to the increasingly growing bodies of information stored in servers. Highly-valued companies have taken advantage of this data and considered it as a valuable asset. They turn available information into insights that enable them to formulate better strategies on how to reach their goal of yielding higher profits. As Christians living in this age, we should also make use of these tools to help achieve our goal of bringing more people to Christ!
This is one of the things I learned during Indigitous SERVE 2019. We worked on several projects and one of them was to do analytics on existing ministry platforms (i.e. websites, social media pages). Crunching all the numbers from different data sources was a bit of a challenge, but it was all worth it as it provided fresh insights about our audience and on how much influence we really have. Through understanding user profiles and the trends, we were able to identify how we could reach out to a wider audience more efficiently and know where our resources in doing ministry can be strategically allocated.
There is so much information around us that we can all leverage, not just for earthly gain, but moreover, for a far greater purpose. Not only do we avoid being caught flat-footed by actively seeking knowledge and understanding, but doing so also allows us to be better equipped as digital missionaries for this generation.
Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. (Habakkuk 2:2)
- Analyze the data for your digital properties. What does it tell you about your users? What strategic moves does it suggest?