Despite what we say, writers want to be read. Usually on our own terms. It is always interesting, however, to see what gets shared and why.
While the top spots of the most viewed posts for 2016 were the most predictable based on their sharing and regular performance, there were a few stunners.
I’m always amazed at what’s seen and what isn’t.
Most Viewed Posts in 2016:
I knew this post would have the most resonance of anything I wrote this year. From the moment the title was typed into Evernote with nothing but the kernel of an idea. It is a post set up to fascinate: an evocative title, a group of insiders (pastors) who know what the ministry is really like, and the opportunity to find humor in a human situation. And I loved writing the post, too.
My annual top performer was bumped from the top spot! This is the real news. This is my stickiest post and by far the most shared. And better, Google loves it. Its performance led me a few years ago to turn it into my first ebook, A Church for All.
While the top spot went to a funny-confessional piece, my most confessional and heartfelt post of the year performed nearly as well. While it is written from the distinctly Episcopal perspective, this was shared with denominational groups all over the country and I received some really honest and fair feedback. Of the pieces I wrote in 2016, this is the one which brought me the most conversation.
Since much of my attention is on timely events and where the church is in culture, I’m glad one of those posts broke into the top-5. This post was my attempt to name the particular challenges Christians have around government elections, but in light of this topsy-turvy election year.
This was the first honest-to-goodness shocker. A very particular post from January about the internal matters of the Anglican Communion and its infighting somehow outperformed nearly every other post on the site this year. My hope in writing it was that other people could learn something from our fighting: particularly the way in which the matter of the fighting itself is unchristlike.
A post from 2015, this was the introductory post to my daily series looking at different aspects of the liturgy and how they function. My hope is that in deconstructing our worship, we can find out what we really believe, rather than what we say we believe.
Another classic post from 2011, like the others on the list about engaging youth and children in church, this came from a series I did several years ago about ways to engage different age groups in church. People are always looking to engage the youth, but it is worth looking also at the ways different age groups of adults are engaged.
See number 7.
This sermon from 2013 snuck into the top-10. Written for the Conversion of St. Paul, the patronal feast day of my former church, it served to highlight what we could learn about God and our need from our patron’s conversion. This is another case in which the title continues to bring interest long after it was published.
One of the mistakes we make in understanding the Christian devotion to a God of love is to translate that character revealed in Jesus: of devotion, conviction, mercy, and love. Often it becomes “kindness”: a catch-all for being nice and non-threatening. But Jesus reveals a need to be much more than that.
Of the most viewed posts for 2016, only five were written in the year.
This demonstrates the value of “evergreen” content and the power of Google search.
But the top performing posts for the 2016 were all ones which connected with people. Yes, several were list posts. And a couple were timely. But in as a group, these highlight the posts which connected because they were about me and about the reader. They were pieces I loved writing and wanted to share because I knew others would love them.