Among my other glories, I am an assistant ward clerk. This position of power and authority means that I get to stay after church doing paper work, and preparing tithing and other donations for deposit with a member of the bishopric. Yesterday, as we sat toiling away with the widows’ mites the Relief Society President and the counselor I was working with began talking about the ward’s upcoming talent show. They were bemoaning the lack of pledged participation thus far, and the RS president turned to me and said, “Well Brother Oman blogs, maybe we could have him do that on stage.”
I was suprised because neither our RS President nor this particular member of the Bishopric strike me as Internet savvy, blog reading types. And yet they knew about Times & Seasons and had apparently read it. I was surprised. I am not a blogger who suffers from a Big-Brother-is-Watching-the-Strenghthening-the-Members-Committee-is-Out-to-Get-Me style paranoid self-importance. (I have other forms of self-importance, thank you very much.) I am pretty sure that the only Church employees who read this blog are my father and co-workers that he sends links to. I am certainly not going to shift what I write here knowing that Larry Cluff may visit the site from time to time. (If you are reading this; Hi Larry.) Still, I was surprised because I had a sense that I knew what the T&S demographic looked like, and on this (as on so much else) it looks as though I am wrong.
Blogging is a medium that seems especially prone to internet triumphalism. When Trent Lott fell, the blogs declared victory and for a couple of days (eons in blog time) there were lots of predictions about the imminent collapse of the Mainstream Media. And yet the Washington Post arrived on my door step this morning despite PowerLine and InstaPundit. I have to admit that I have myself succombed to such musings in the Mormon context, imaginng the bloggernacle as coming to dominate the non-official discussion of Mormonism. Generally speaking, I try to step back, breath deeply, and think of a happy place when I have such thoughts. Blogs, I remind myself, have a fairly thin readership and Mormon blogs even more so. My bet is that the highest traffic Mormon blogs get around 2000 visits a day at best, and sizable percentage of these visits consist of obsessive people with internet connections at work who keep checking to see who has responded to their comments. Not that I am complaining. I am frequently as bored and obsessed as the next guy. Still, it is always fun to see the bloggernacle penetrating to unexpected people.