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How would Jesus score on Klout?


A tag cloud of this article

I have been thinking about the question posed by the Revd Pam Smith on this site on August 1st: ‘What would Jesus score?’.

She goes on to analyse the dangers for digital disciples (that is to say all Christians using cyberspace in pursuit of their ministry, not just those signed up to this project) of becoming too competitive and falling prey, as I suggested elsewhere, to Bunyan’s snares of  ‘pride, arrogancy, self-conceit and worldly-glory’. She does not attempt to answer her own question, presumably regarding it as rhetorical: the purpose of the question in her post is to make us stop and think, which it certainly does (you see, Pam, I am still thinking about it!)

But, as I suggested on the BigBible site on 4th August,  there may be some merit in treating the question at face value. Suppose Jesus were to start his ministry here and now, let us say in any country of the world so long as it had good WiFi access. He would still need companions for the journey, so I imagine he would again recruit 12 disciples. But, whereas originally they had no access to telephones or postal service, telegrams, emails or websites,  cars, trains or planes, now all of these would be available.

  • LinkedIn, Empire Avenue, Four Square etc: You may disagree but these are perhaps too inward-looking to help our Lord in his ministry?
  • Facebook: My original article said, somewhat tongue in cheek, that there was no need for our Lord to have his own Facebook page. As I had hoped, this ensured that there were lots of comments! First of all, someone pointed out that He already has a Facebook page (wow! – pretending to be the Queen on twitter is only liable to get you sent to the Tower of London, pretending to be the Son of God is I suppose the archetypal definition of chutzpah.) But the killer argument was of course that I had posted a link to the piece on Facebook, which is how several of my correspondents had found it. There’s not much in the way of riposte that you can offer to this argument, is there.
  • Twitter: Too time-consuming, possibly. But more appealing than Facebook as a means to spread the Gospel. Although some use Twitter simply to broadcast their own views, the most interesting tweets are part of a conversation. Some of the phrases that still echo in our heads two thousand years later would fit into the 140 character limit. ‘And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world’, for example, is 61 characters, not including hashtags. Jesus could always follow the example of the Vatican, and ask a disciple to do the actual tweeting on his behalf.
  • YouTube: If a picture is worth a thousand words, filmed footage is even more appealing. What we would give now to hear the Sermon on the Mount, for example, spoken by Jesus himself: what a powerful tool to spread the gospel that would be! Let us hope that one of the disciples is good with a camera.
  • Blogging: Perhaps because I respond to words, I would love to see Jesus’s blog.

The use of social media would not be enough: as Billy Graham and Rob Bell both know, what Hindus call darshan, or physical presence, is also necessary.

So let us imagine Jesus physically present in our 21st century world. Would he use social media to help get his message across? The answer to this question is vitally important because if it is ‘no’, why are we trying to do so? Although it requires a leap of the imagination, personally I have no difficulty in accepting that he would use the tools available to him. Dr George Morley, one of those who commented on the orginal article, said:  ‘The important thing is that Jesus would be in the pub with his smart phone…

So then we finally come to the question of what the social media metrics sites would make of Our Lord. You need to bear in mind that it is not necessary to sign up to these sites for them to assess you – if you are active on twitter, facebook etc, you will already have a score.

First, Peer Index:

Peer Index measures authority (‘how much you can rely on that person’s recommendations and opinion); topic resonance (‘how your topics resonate with the community); audience (the number of people who listen and are receptive to what you are saying);  and activity (how much of what you do is related to the topic).

Secondly, Klout:

Klout has a matrix: are you broad or focused? casual or consistent? listening or participating? sharing or creating? Based on the site’s assessment of your point in this matrix, plus your audience,  whether it is likely to spread the word further and, if it does, the likelihood that what you say will be acted on, Klout then produces a score.


I find the questions asked by these two sites quite pertinent to the work of spreading the gospel. I imagine Jesus would feel amused rather than threatened by them. I doubt whether he would feel the need to compare himself to others, but as Robert Burns pointed out: ‘Would some power the giftie gi’e us, to see ourselves as others see us’.



This post was first published on 4 August 2011 by the BigBible project in the Digidisciple series under the title: ‘What would Social Media Metrics sites make of Jesus?’

I am grateful to Bryony Taylor (@vahva) for suggesting and producing the tag cloud to illustrate the article.

7 comments on this post:

Revsimmy said...

“Dr George Morley, one of those who commented on the orginal article, said: ‘The important thing is that Jesus would be in the pub with his smart phone… ‘”

See, I think Jesus would leave his smartphone at home when he went to the pub. This would help him to be fully present there as he was with those in 1st century Palestine. Smartphones lead to people being distracted from the place and moment. I think he would use his smartphone elsewhere, but not as a distraction from prayer.

12 August 2011 18:20
Revsimmy said...

And another thought comes to me as I wrestle with Sunday’s Gospel reading – Jesus was quite clear and focused in his ministry, who his “target audience” were: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” This sounds more like Peer Index than Klout. Even Jesus couldn’t do it all. Mission to Gentiles was for later, and others.

(It didn’t stop him responding where he found faith outside “the house of Israel”, but it meant he didn’t go looking for influence for its own sake).

12 August 2011 18:27
Lay Anglicana said...

‘He didn’t go looking for influence for its own sake’: well said, Revsimmy! And also your point that looking at target audiences etc was ‘for later, and others’, by which I take it you mean the Apostles and those who have been appointed by apostolic succession up to the present day.
Jesus was not a salesman. It used to amuse me, when we asked our vicar to arrange for good weather on the day of the flower show, when he replied that he was in ‘sales, not management’. The whole of the Body of Christ does now need to engage in sales (what else is spreading the good news of the gospel?) but our Lord did not need to sell the gospel – he was the gospel.

12 August 2011 19:21
Revsimmy said...

The sales vs. management line is one I have used myself more than once when the father of the bride asks me to arrange a sunny day for a wedding.

I think that the Body of Christ should be more about marketing than sales. Sales can be somewhat coercive and manipulative – though on our way back from holiday in Scotland a few weeks ago we came across a brilliant whisky salesman at the Jedburgh Woollen Mill. He caught onto a conversation I was having with my wife about how I liked peaty whiskies and offered me a taste of an Islay malt on special offer – no pressure but a friendly demeanour and sensitivity, and he made the sale. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

12 August 2011 19:43
Lay Anglicana said...

Yes – ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good’ – the product speaks for itself, and you can’t argue with that…

12 August 2011 19:51

I love: ¨sales not management¨

Keeps things all righsized.


15 August 2011 01:34
Lay Anglicana said...

No, thank you, Leonardo!
They used to say that the sun never set on the British Empire – I love that the sun now never sets on Christendom, so that when the English go to bed having done their bit for sales, it is time for you in Guatemala to take up the baton.

15 August 2011 06:23

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