Self indulgent article alert, but everyone is doing it at this time of the year….
I started 2016 with the thought that I wanted to do a bit more writing in the course of the year, 2015 I had had about 3,500 people read my blogs, and so I thought that I would try and at least match this in 2016 and write at least one or two articles a week, and match that figure of 3,500 views in 2016. I have written over 150 blogs this year on a range of subjects, linked to either what i have been studying at Durham University, reflections on work, culture, local church or conferences. I have covered themes such as Youthwork Management, Self care, detached youthwork, Mission and a few, but not many on Theodrama and the work of Kevin Vanhoozer – which is going to take up alot of my attention in the next 6 months as it is the subject of my dissertation.
Over the course of the year a few things have been noticed.
- Nobody reads top 10 articles anymore
- On a general basis people in youthwork (the deemed secular) side of it are up for more discussion, reflective learning and thinking, its is from people in this domain where more shares, comments and feedback is given. Quite what this says about the ‘youth ministry’ world that seems not to engage with voices which might be on its fringe might be up for debate, however, at the end of the year it is fascinating. Probably only articles that Mike Pilovachi writes, or that appear in youthwork magazine get any traction, unless…
- The Title is important. Tragically my most read piece was a 5 minute throwaway article – but it had a good title.
- Articles that are deep, challenging and critical only get traction with a good title, or have alot of effort put into to distributing them.
- The timing of when blogs are published is important, as is whether to actually respond to a latest policy initiative by the government, or a controversial piece in a newspaper, blog or journal.
So, in the spirit of everyone else looking back on 2016 with a mixture of gathering in the best bits, chewing them over and hoping to forget some of the more despairing moments, here are my top 5 most read articles for 2016.
at Number 5 is ‘Recruiting for NCS might just kill detached youthwork for good’ http://wp.me/p2Az40-y3 in which I suggest that if those running NCS use detached as an outreach service for NCS then detached is in big trouble.
straight in at number 4 is ‘13 details of a youthwork practice that are never requested in Funding bids’ this was the only ‘list’ blog that got any wide readership, as it struck a chord with many many youthworkers and managers who have to battle with funding application forms. I only wrote this one in October so it really did sneak into the top 5.. If you want a read it is here: http://wp.me/p2Az40-GN
Number 3 is a familiar one, ive probably written two or three similar to this, suggesting that in the current government policy climate, the open universal provision of youth services that has been decimated has opened up such an opportunity for the church (and voluntary sector), a return to the historic beginnings of youthwork provision in the UK – and so ‘youth work; church its over to you (again)’ http://wp.me/p2Az40-tQ
A long way off the top spot, but in number 2 is ‘Proposing youthwork in schools shows that the government doesn’t understand youth work at all’ Casting your mind back to pre brexit britain there was a call for youthworkers to provide wrap around care in the afternoons for pupils as they finished school past 4pm. Ie to be pseudo teachers. to have large groups. To be employed by councils on a grand scale – just after theyve all been designated the scrap heap/self employment route ( as per the above blog). Anyway, this one got about 400 views, if you want to bump it up to 500 it is here: http://wp.me/p2Az40-oF
Drumroll not required, there was only 1 top spot this year, and ‘Clergy, if you want to disciple young people, quit doing assemblies’ was it. It was probably the title that got it shared, or the questions, or the right time. It was the only article ive written that i would say was ‘youth ministry’ orientated that received any kind of ‘going viral’ moment, probably because it got the attention of clergy and schools workers alike. Since it was written in May, nearly 3,000 people have done so, ie as many people as read my entire writing in 2015. Like a good repeats show, and best of, if you want a reminder it is here; http://wp.me/p2Az40-t3
All that remains is to play out some up beat music, and herald in the new year, by the way this blog is live, I am writing this now, its not been pre recorded in June like most of the between Christmas and new year TV. It is also to thank you for reading, sharing, commenting and providing feedback for my writing efforts, i probably cross the line at times, but i do try and be constructively helpful for youth work, youth ministry, mission and the church and so some of what i write might appeal to distinct groups, but it is the between the gaps world that i locate myself, its why the streets appeal.
Thank you again, and Happy new year of reflecting and creativity in youth work, ministry and the church in 2017.