Facebook keeps a running tally of how many “friends” you have. Facebook also keeps track of how often you connect with those friends.
Google keeps track of your entire online footprint. When I google my own name, it shows me my race results, my videos, photos, blog comments, and blog posts.
Google Analytics can tell me how many people read my blog, for how long, where they live, and which posts they read the most.
All these metrics focus on quantity of connections. They report on numbers of friends and numbers of blog readers.
None of these metrics can tell me anything about the quality of my connections. Facebook cannot tell me how good/close/strong my friendships are.
And google cannot tell me how much impact my blog has had on the people who read it.
Sure, you can draw some conclusions about these things, and you can predict that people who are friendly to others will gain more friends. You can logically assume that if your writing is good quality, more people will read it.
But at some point in your life, you might have to decide if you want to pursue quantity or quality of connections.
Whenever you create something and share it with the world – a website or a blog or a business or a brand – you have to figure out who you want to reach and who you want to connect with.
When I started my blog a year ago, the first question my website team asked me was “Why did I want to publish a blog.”
Their question was so obvious it momentarily stumped me.
After reflecting on their question, I explained that I wanted to help people. All my life I’ve been an educator of some sort, and everywhere I’ve worked, I naturally try to challenge people in order to help them grow. And now I just want to publish stories that will help people grow.
One year later, that is still my primary goal – I still want to become better at telling stories that help people grow. My mission is to share stories that generate hope in others. My goals are about quality – about quality stories, quality writing, and quality of connections.
Fundamentally, I write to have a positive impact on other people – I want to live in ways that have a positive influence in the world.
And Facebook and Google cannot tell me any of that. They cannot tell me if one singular reader somewhere in the middle of Iowa read my blog late at night and found value in a paragraph of words I wrote.
Google cannot measure emotions like inspiration or hope.
No website I know can measure personal impact or influence.
Which is why some of the most important things in this world need to be done on faith.
We need to do those things in the world we feel compelled to do, those things we feel called to do. When we set out to change the world, to do something new or different with our life, we can’t rely on metrics because those metrics don’t exist.
Facebook and Google can tell you about the quantity of connections but they cannot tell you anything about quality. They cannot tell you about the quality of your life.
And if you want to do something significant in this world, if the quality of your life matters to you, then you’re going to have to rely on faith.
You’re going to have to learn how to trust yourself, to navigate your own path and use your own strengths.
And you’ll need to have faith that other people will find value in what you have to offer. You’re going to need faith in yourself and faith in your own talents.
When we have a positive impact on other people, the results of that impact often don’t show up until years later. Students often wait 20 years until they say “Thank you” to their favorite teacher.
During those inbetween years, the years without any feedback, we need to keep the faith.
Because the most important things in life cannot be measured by Facebook or google.
The most meaningful things in our life must be done on faith.