Measuring the Faithfulness of a Blog….

August 7, 2014    By: Jeff G @ 1:39 pm   Category: Bloggernacle,orthodox,Survey Results

Alright, the title is partially tongue in cheek since the method I describe below has more than a few caveats to it.

Ziff over at Zelophehad’s Daughters put up a post shows the distribution of Facebook likes which readers of each blog in the bloggernacle have for each member of the 15 apostles.  Keep in mind that by “reader of a blog” I mean a person who has liked that blog on Facebook.  Thus, Ziff’s data compares this distribution against the distribution which exists for the total FB likes to Q15 members.  I find this comparison interesting, but incomplete.  (Newcoolthang does not have a Facebook page, but this is not the incompleteness to which I am referring.)

Luckily, Ziff was nice enough to also publish his raw data in the post, thereby allowing me to analyze the data along different lines.  Whereas Ziff was concerned about the distribution of likes among Q15 members for each blogs readership, I want to analyze how much support there is for each Q15 member within each blogs readership.  By “support” I mean this: out of all the people that “like” a particular blog, how many of those people also like each Q15 member?  Here are the result of my analysis:

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fb-2

Analyzing the data along these lines presents a very different story than Ziff’s analysis did.  For example, my analysis highlights the fact that M* and Meridian readers like Pres. Monson far more than the readers of the more liberal blogs do.  It also show that contrary to what Ziff took away from his analysis, M* and Meridian readers like Elder Uchdorf more than the readers of the more liberal blogs of which his is a part.  Of course, M* and Meridian readers like every Q15 member more than the other blogs.

Although Ziff did present the fact that M* readers “only” like members of the Q15 230% as much as their blog, I don’t see that finding as surprising as he does.  We are, after all, focusing on a group that is defined by their 100% liking of the blog.  What I thought was more significant, however, was how the readers of FMH and OW do not like any Q15 member very much at all.  The most liked by the readership of these two blogs (5.6% Uchdorf at FMH) was significantly less than the least liked member of the Q15 at M* (11% for Eyring).

Yes, there are some serious qualifications to these findings.  For example, I do not think that these figures serve as an accurate measure of any individual’s testimony.  However, I think they do give a general feel for how supportive each blog and their respective readership is of the Q15.  I think it gives a relative (not absolute)  measure of where a readership’s loyalty lies such that if the blog and the 15 disagree on some issue, which side is the readership relatively likely to side with.

But again, not only are such relationships relative, one could also argue that the data sample is itself biased in certain ways.  Either way, I think these figures are worth thinking about in our individual relationships to the bloggernacle.

72 Comments »

  1. However, I think they do give a general feel for how supportive each blog and their respective readership is of the Q15.

    Horsefeathers. It shows that Ziff is awesomely nerdy and wonderful, and facebook yields lots of silly data to play with. Nothing more.

    Comment by Kristine — August 7, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

  2. You don’t think that the figure confirm any stereotypes or hypotheses whatsoever? Really? You think all of these numbers are essentially random?

    Comment by Jeff G — August 7, 2014 @ 2:21 pm

  3. Expanding a little on what Kristine said, your conclusion rests on the assumption that support for a Q15 member will lead someone to like their facebook page. That is a very shaky foundation. Ziff’s analysis rests on a slightly less shaky foundation that those who express support for Q15 members by liking pages form a more or less representative sample of the readers of a blog.

    Comment by DD — August 7, 2014 @ 2:31 pm

  4. I think I see what you are saying. Basically, what would be better would be to integrate both analyses somehow?

    Comment by Jeff G — August 7, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

  5. Jeff–yes, random. I’m not even sure I have “liked” BCC on my fb page, and I haven’t “liked” any GA’s. There’s no useful data about my religious convictions in my “likes.” I suppose some people are very diligent and consistent about curating the image presented by their “likes,” but I suspect there are rather more folks who are sloppy about it.

    Comment by Kristine — August 7, 2014 @ 2:57 pm

  6. I don’t think there is a way to make the analyses better, given the type of data we have. What does it mean to like a page? I read lots of stuff I do not agree with. If I were signed up for facebook, I might consider liking a page just to follow its postings even if I disagreed intensely with its point of view. On the other side, I probably would not like a page dedicated to a GA. It seems weird to me, even though I support them. I can find news about the Church and its leaders on lds.org.

    I see a lot of arguments in the bloggernacle that boil down to disagreement over what the word “sustain” means. “Like” in the facebook sense is even more problematic. I think we just need to take the analyses as being fun and mostly meaningless.

    Comment by DD — August 7, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

  7. Kristine,

    I think we both agree that these figures do not speak to specific individuals. I think I’ve liked about 10 things total on FB and none of them were blogs or church authorities. Would you at least acknowledge that these figures are suggestive of some tendencies within the readership of these different blogs?

    DD,

    I definitely agree that the meaning of “like” is at issue, but I am nowhere near convinced that we can just write the whole thing off as utterly meaningless.

    For example, I think a lot of the low numbers for FMH and OW have to do with the fact that they likely have more readers who do not claim to be members of the church, orthodox or otherwise. But this just is another way of saying that the readership there does not support the Q15 as much as those blogs where the readership is almost entirely made up of church leaders.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 7, 2014 @ 3:28 pm

  8. I said “mostly” not “utterly”.

    Comment by DD — August 7, 2014 @ 3:33 pm

  9. I like some of the GAs because I like getting the truly uplifting quotes on my feed. (As opposed to the “positive outcomes only” schtick that comes from others.)

    Comment by SilverRain — August 7, 2014 @ 3:40 pm

  10. Also, you need to chart this. I need pictures. *L*

    Comment by SilverRain — August 7, 2014 @ 3:41 pm

  11. One more thought: I’m probably a terrible data point, since I haven’t “liked” ANY blogs on Facebook.

    However, one possible interpretation is that those who are more conservative appeal more to authority. It may mean they have faith in the authority of the GAs, but not necessarily a testimony of it.

    I generally have a much easier time listening to people on more liberal blogs, even though I philosophically agree less with them. I’ve long wondered why that might be the case.

    Comment by SilverRain — August 7, 2014 @ 3:45 pm

  12. Sorry, DD, I wasn’t trying to trivial your position. Rather, I was trying to get you to say what meaning could be taken from this.

    SR,

    I was also thinking that academics might like things less which might account for the more academic (and therefore leftist) blogs liked less GA’s. The problem is that those blogs have far more likes for them than the conservative blogs do.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 7, 2014 @ 3:51 pm

  13. Hi Jeff,

    I’ll make one concession before I have to go. Yes, there may be some meaning, but I am sure it is not as simple as saying some group does or does not support the brethren. There may be more meaning in determining what different groups interpret as “support.” The data does not let us draw any conclusions about that or any other underlying issues, though.

    Comment by DD — August 7, 2014 @ 4:07 pm

  14. I agree that there aren’t any conclusions here. Only suggestions.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 7, 2014 @ 4:17 pm

  15. “However, one possible interpretation is that those who are more conservative appeal more to authority. It may mean they have faith in the authority of the GAs, but not necessarily a testimony of it.”

    This seems like another way of saying that when push comes to shove, liberals aren’t as likely to follow, if only because their authority isn’t intrinsically binding.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 7, 2014 @ 4:37 pm

  16. Unlike DD, I’m not willing to concede that there’s any meaning at all. I think this is one bit of “evidence” that truly can’t be twisted to fit your bizarre obsession with liberals and their failure to submit to authority as thoroughly as you think they should.

    Comment by Kristine — August 7, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

  17. Kristine is right. This is dumb.

    Comment by BHodges — August 7, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

  18. So if the numbers had turned out the exact opposite, and that FMH and OW liked the Q15 at least as much as Meridian, you can honestly say that you would still find the data just as meaningless and irrelevant? Personally, I would have found such a thing very meaningful and relevant. To be sure, there would still be all the caveats that prevent us from solidifying any conclusions or permanently changing any bodies mind but c’mon! Maybe if your comments didn’t dismiss conservatives as being “bizarrely obsessed” I might not be so suspicious, since it just makes you look like you’re willing to bend or even break the rules of argumentation in defense of your beliefs.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 7, 2014 @ 6:32 pm

  19. Okay, BHodges. I’m listening.

    To be honest, I thought BCC came out looking relatively good in this. But I’ve never thought it was all that dangerous of a blog either, so I wasn’t all that surprised.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 7, 2014 @ 6:35 pm

  20. “So if the numbers had turned out the exact opposite, and that FMH and OW liked the Q15 at least as much as Meridian, you can honestly say that you would still find the data just as meaningless and irrelevant?”

    YES!! It’s facebook “likes”–I think that’s pretty much the definition of “meaningless and irrelevant.”

    Comment by Kristine — August 7, 2014 @ 6:38 pm

  21. BHodges: “This is dumb.”

    There you have it: The voice of the new, more thoughtful, Maxwell Institute.

    Comment by N. W. Clerk — August 7, 2014 @ 6:41 pm

  22. Of course each individual like is relatively irrelevant and meaningless, but not totally so. I just have a hard time accepting that a data set of thousands of likes is equally irrelevant, not even as flagging an issue for further investigation.

    While I would like to hear a reason why you still think I’m wrong, you are certainly under no obligation to convince me and I fear that I’m testing your patience.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 7, 2014 @ 6:46 pm

  23. I would also add that an awful lot of money has been invested by way of advertising in the idea that FB likes are not totally meaningless.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 7, 2014 @ 7:03 pm

  24. Maybe I’m just being old and fuddy-duddy and not putting enough stock in what the kids are doing these days :)

    But really, I think that impugning people’s faithfulness not even on the basis of (mis)interpreting a few words on a blog, but on extrapolations from a few clicks of facebook buttons is taking mote-finding to a whole new level.

    Comment by Kristine — August 7, 2014 @ 7:07 pm

  25. Now that I would agree with. My intent is definitely not to prove that any person is good or bad, only the virtual communities that almost certainly effect and to some extent shape those individuals.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 7, 2014 @ 7:12 pm

  26. Jeff G: if BCC came out looking amazing by this rubric I’d still think it was dumb. By “dumb” I mean not meaningful, shallow, lacking significance, etc. for the reasons Kristine laid out and maybe some others. My mom, for example, hasn’t liked a single Facebook page of an apostle. I think this is because she doesn’t really know how to use Facebook. Sometimes stats are insignificant.

    Guy who stole C.S. Lewis’s pen name: Joseph said a prophet is only a prophet when he’s acting as such. You can safely assume the same goes for public communications people like me. I also think pro wrestling is dumb and a bunch of other stuff, but I’m speaking only for myself so the Maxwell Institute’s position on the WWF shouldn’t be extrapolated from my personal opinion. I’d be more than happy to talk about it more over frozen yogurt. Feel free to email me, NW. One day the culture warriors against MI will beat their swords into plough shares and we’ll all be taken up. I look forward to it.

    Comment by BHodges — August 7, 2014 @ 7:20 pm

  27. I’m ok with using this type of data to compare analyze the readers of a specific blog and say they like this GA over that one. I am not ok with using the data to say that this site like the GA’s more than that site. There are lots of reasons why demographics of one blog is more prone to like things. it’s not apples to apples anymore.

    Comment by anonymous — August 7, 2014 @ 7:23 pm

  28. Looks spot on to me.

    Comment by Jack — August 7, 2014 @ 7:51 pm

  29. Insulting baloney.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 7, 2014 @ 8:13 pm

  30. I’m going to come to Jeff G’s defense here, because I do indeed think that this data reinforces a stereotype: it clearly and conclusively shows that readers of orthodox LDS blogs like to make broad their online phylacteries.

    Just kidding, of course. It’s nonsense to even be calling this “data.”

    Comment by mealgrub — August 7, 2014 @ 8:20 pm

  31. I for one would like to see more blog posts checking the righteousness of our fellow saints.

    Comment by HBodges — August 7, 2014 @ 8:23 pm

  32. Well, Jeff, obviously you have struck a nerve.

    “This seems like another way of saying that when push comes to shove, liberals aren’t as likely to follow, if only because their authority isn’t intrinsically binding.”

    I was thinking more along the lines of conservative bloggers being more likely to use direct authoritative quotes as a point of argument, but at this point that is mere theory since it measures likes on Facebook and not actual quotes in a blog.

    I don’t see much merit in the arguments against your number crunching, though I certainly see the reason for it. It does seem to imply a lack of faith.

    I was trying to point out that such may be a false implication. As much as some of the more liberal bent obviously struggle with their doubts, I think the danger on the conservative side is more subtle but ultimately more potentially damaging.

    Those who stumble in their quest for faith still have a chance to perceive their error and repent, as your own story demonstrates. It is much more difficult when a content and self-satisfied conservative, secure in the feeling that he or she agrees with God’s anointed and is therefore safe, sacrifices humility and charity on the altar of doctrinal correctness.

    That sort of support of the Brethren lacks the power to save.

    Comment by SilverRain — August 7, 2014 @ 8:52 pm

  33. Interesting that Ziff gets oohs and aahs, while Jeff G. gets how dare you! Hits a bit close to home for them doesn’t it?

    Comment by Jettboy — August 7, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

  34. I am back. I think there may be some meaning. I do not think that the differences between some of those numbers can be accidental, especially when they really are not surprising. Was anyone surprised by how the numbers turned out?

    I think the problem comes when Jeff says in the title that he is measuring the “faithfulness” of the blog. While I do not blog, I see some very faithful people blogging on sites other than M* or Meridian. A little civility and more attempts at understanding would do more to improve our community than condemnation.

    Comment by DD — August 7, 2014 @ 9:11 pm

  35. I’m sorry, but what persons or saints have I judged or condemned?

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

    Comment by Jeff G — August 7, 2014 @ 9:22 pm

  36. Bhodges’s response is about as proportionately thoughtful as the whole premise of inferring faithfulness from Facebook likes, so it works for me.

    I think the only person coming off poorly here is Jeff G. Ziff didn’t get crap about his post because he presented his data dispassionately without any obnoxious agenda pushing. Meanwhile, Jeff G. has once again demonstrated his talent for shoehorning anything at all through a low-pass filter which yields one sole remaining frequency. This lone frequency sounds uncannily like very worn-out drum.

    Comment by Orwell — August 7, 2014 @ 11:12 pm

  37. I don’t care who “likes” what. The important thing to know is that anyone who disagrees with me ideologically is displeasing to God, and I know that they will one day pay a price for their unfaithfulness in the next life. I know this because I felt a feeling that confirms it. The Celestial Kingdom is gonna be a lonely place, but at least I’ll have lotsa square footage in my heavenly mansion where I can frolic and play.

    Comment by Aaron Brown — August 7, 2014 @ 11:18 pm

  38. Orwell,

    When was the last time you addressed or referred to me in a comment without being dismissive and sarcastic? Seriously, what’s your problem?

    Comment by Jeff G — August 8, 2014 @ 12:06 am

  39. Jeff asks, “I’m sorry, but what persons or saints have I judged or condemned?”

    The title of the post is “Measuring the Faithfulness of a Blog….” I am inferring, though you do not explicitly say so in the OP, that you consider more likes for GA pages to be a measure of faithfulness. A measurement of faithfulness is a judgment. I am pretty sure that those who are judged as less faithful feel condemned.

    As long as no one takes the numbers too seriously, it’s just in fun. I now think I have spent way too much time on this topic.

    Comment by DD — August 8, 2014 @ 5:11 am

  40. What likes measure the faithfulness of the apostles?

    Comment by Martin james — August 8, 2014 @ 5:46 am

  41. There are many variables that might be skewing this data, such as age of readers, demographics, awareness that members of the quorum of the twelve even have Facebook pages etc. ( the only reason I know is that Facebook friends of mine began to like them, thus producing a form of confirmation bias where those with friends that like them apostles will be more likely to like them).

    With that being said, these results are not meaningless. They do not imply individual righteousness at all, but on an aggregate level are very interesting. Certainly, Jeff’s formulation is more informative than the other one by Ziff.

    Comment by Daniel Ortner — August 8, 2014 @ 7:01 am

  42. Jeff G., I don’t mind admitting that I can’t take you seriously. You’re the new R. Gary of the bloggernacle.

    Comment by Orwell — August 8, 2014 @ 8:13 am

  43. Basically what I’m saying is that I treat you like every other one-issue bore / self-appointed member of the orthodoxy police that I know.

    Comment by Orwell — August 8, 2014 @ 8:25 am

  44. I’m just grateful we have self-appointed members of the anti-self-appointed-member-of-the-orthodoxy-police police.

    Thank you for saving us all, Orwell.

    Comment by SilverRain — August 8, 2014 @ 8:30 am

  45. So rather than engaging the issue at hand or simply ignoring me, you think a constant barrage of sarcastic insults furthers a righteous cause?

    DD,

    I fully agree with everything you said. I guess that’s what I get for the provocative title. Thanks for the fair points of criticism.

    Once again, everybody, I’m discussing and passing very tentative judgment onpublic forums and virtual environments not private persons. I fully agree that this isn’t any kind of smoking gun, but along with a whole lot of advertisers I thinkpatterns in FB likes mean something. I’m more than open to more accurate measures of public forums.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 8, 2014 @ 8:48 am

  46. In that case you are under arrest, SilverRain. Please report to fMh for penance.

    Comment by Orwell — August 8, 2014 @ 8:53 am

  47. That’s great, Orwell. I’ve got some credits over there already. *L*

    Comment by SilverRain — August 8, 2014 @ 9:04 am

  48. Jeff G., I lost interest in engaging in any issues with you long ago. I’ve come to believe it’s utterly pointless.

    “Constant barrage” is hilarious, considering the infrequency of my bloggernacle participation, but I have no problem apologizing for being rude. We could all stand to be nicer to each other on the internet and I’m not too un-self-aware to not include myself.

    Comment by Orwell — August 8, 2014 @ 9:14 am

  49. Correlation doesn’t equal causation. Maybe the reason for the disparity is that people who are prone to like monson are less prone to like certain blogs because they feel that some people would view that like as a sign off apostasy. I would certainly never like feminist Mormon housewives because I don’t want to have to deal with the social repercussions of that even though I really do like the blog. Maybe the reason is the intolerance within the culture for the uncorrelated conversation and not the faithfulness of the blogs.

    Comment by anon — August 8, 2014 @ 9:52 am

  50. Interesting perspective, Anon. That makes a lot of sense. But of course the question then becomes “why is it that some blogs rather than others are taken as such a sign?” This question does seem somewhat less judgmental though.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 8, 2014 @ 10:14 am

  51. “I think they do give a general feel for how supportive each blog and their respective readership is of the Q15″

    Wait, someone has to like a general authority on Facebook in order to show that they are supportive of the Q15?

    Comment by Steve Smith — August 8, 2014 @ 11:11 am

  52. I mean apostle, not GA.

    Comment by Steve Smith — August 8, 2014 @ 11:12 am

  53. Jeff G is grasping at justifications again to condemn blogs he disagrees with. The crusade and the inquisition live on!

    Comment by Steve Smith — August 8, 2014 @ 11:13 am

  54. The most casual reader of LDS themed blogs can read the various blogs referenced and tell whether they are conservative or progressive, authority liking or authority disliking. It doesn’t matter to me what the “likes” indicate. The posts, permas and commenters speak for themselves. The distance– and difference — between M* and fMh should be obvious to anyone.

    Comment by IDIAT — August 8, 2014 @ 11:51 am

  55. Depends on the metrics. They aren’t so different in other ways.

    Comment by SilverRain — August 8, 2014 @ 11:52 am

  56. I agree with anonymous #27. In looking at the percentages within the blogs themselves, it’s interesting to note that Uchtdorf received more likes than Pres. Monson among the followers of 8 blogs (ZD, fMH, Exponent, BCC, W&T, RF, D&S, OW). Holland additionally beat out Monson in two of those blogs (W&T, D&S). The only other Q15 members who got equal to Monson were Oaks (M*) and Scott (BCC).

    Suggesting that faithfulness can be calculated from these numbers is questionable at best. These numbers are people who willingly liked Q15 members on their facebook pages — obviously these people aren’t afraid to publicly link themselves to the organizational structure of the church. You’d have slightly more ground if you compared the relative percentage of how many followers of each blog had any sort of Q15 likes vs. those who didn’t. Even then, I consider myself pretty faithful, and I only recently finally “liked” one of the Q15 members.

    Comment by Mary Ann — August 8, 2014 @ 11:54 am

  57. BREAKING: Numbers Support the Dominant Narrative of NCT that the Bloggernacle Is Evil.

    Phew. I am glad this is now settled. I am glad the Jettboy has your back. He doesn’t take time away from book burnings for just anyone.

    “Certainly, Jeff’s formulation is more informative than the other one by Ziff.”

    Yeah, that could be because Ziff’s was intended as humorous satire.

    Will NCT return to posts about BYU football soon? I miss those days.

    Comment by Chris Henrichsen — August 8, 2014 @ 12:12 pm

  58. Mary Ann,

    Could you elaborate a bit for me? I’m pretty sure I completely agree with you, but I’m not sure.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 8, 2014 @ 12:39 pm

  59. At this point I’m surprised that nobody has accused me of padding the data somehow. For the record, I’ve never liked a Q15 on FB so maybe my intentions aren’t all that hostile and judgmental.

    All I did was take someone else’s data and reframe it to answer a question that I had. This hardly seems like shoehorning anything to my own devious ends.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 8, 2014 @ 12:43 pm

  60. While clearly this is not any type of perfect measurement, is anyone really surprised by the general pattern of the results?

    If faithfulness is defined as faithfulness to the Q15 (maybe that’s where people are taking issue?), I don’t see how the results on the extreme ends cannot be taken as at least suggestive.

    If we had a way to actually measure true faithfulness to the Brethren, would it be any surprise to discover that those who like M* or Meridian enough to like them on Facebook, are more likely to be supportive of the Brethren than those who like OW or FMH enough to like them on Facebook?

    I visit, read, and occasionally comment on most of these sites. Based on my experience with frequency of commenters in open support of the Brethren, the results are not surprising to me at all.

    Why all the hate on Jeff for pointing out the obvious? Is the truth leaking through the numbers too hard to bear?

    Comment by SteveF — August 8, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

  61. You’re right, Steve, about my interpretation of “faithfulness” is. First, and foremost, the title was deliberately provocative, as the very sentence makes clear. I guess that means I don’t get to gripe too much about the hate.

    I was playing off the dual meaning of at least two words: “like” and “faithful”. The most level headed interpretation is that those who do not “like” the Q15 in the FB sense probably aren’t all that “iron roddy” when it comes to following the brethren. But I also deliberately facilitated the interpretation – as a good bit of fun – that those blogs do not like the Q15 in any sense at all and thus are not faithful or worthy members of the church.

    Only a fool would think that not FB liking the Q15 just is the equivalent of being unworthy in any meaningful sense. It is only slightly less foolish to think that somebody else actually believes that nonsense as well.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 8, 2014 @ 2:33 pm

  62. I think the objection is more along the lines of Facebook “likes” being an accurate representing of anyone’s level of faithfulness.

    Even among the Jeff’s “most faithful” blog (Meridian), you can really only prove that a minimum of 22% of the followers actually “like” any of the Q15 members. Any one person can like multiple Q15 members, so you can only really do a general indication based on the most popular Q15 member. The “least” faithful blog (OW) had a minimum of 3% individual followers who liked any of the Q15 members. So among a supposed range of faithfulness, our low end of the scale is 3% and the upper end is 22%.

    At the low end – fMh with 5.6%. In the middle are the vast majority of the blogs at 8.4%-13.7%. At the upper end is M* at 20%. Several of the blogs have only 150-200 followers though, so their percentages are less reliable in my opinion(M*, D&S, W&T, ZD). If you take out these less-followed blogs, the remaining blogs become even more uniform in their middle ground percentages at 9.3%-11.6%. fMh is the obvious exception at the lower end.

    Comment by Mary Ann — August 8, 2014 @ 2:46 pm

  63. I might be interesting to includes likes for other public figures (Obama, etc.) and see what we get.

    Comment by Jeff G — August 8, 2014 @ 2:56 pm

  64. Likes for other public figures as you say Jeff, as well as the number of shares of posts, would also be interesting.

    I’m coming at this late, but given many large corporate organisations measure the success of their marketing campaigns on the number of “likes” and “shares” of their adverts on FB and other social media, to suggest the data is meaningless just doesn’t hold any water for me.

    On the other hand, there are also so many variables that it makes interpreting the data very difficult.

    The scientist in me would say, “further research is needed”….

    Comment by JeffC — August 9, 2014 @ 1:29 am

  65. I am absolutely disgusted.

    First off, Blair, WWF isn’t even the correct acronym. It is “WWE.”

    Second, and most importantly, WWE is not dumb – it is awesome.

    Comment by Riley — August 10, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

  66. Both Kristine and Blair cite the lack of “liking” by themselves or people they know as evidence that aggregate likes from people who do like things on FB are meaningless. For otherwise very smart people, this is a perplexing response. Then Ardis, who I love, takes a pot shot out the window without slowing the car. Orwell, very funny guy, says Jeff G is the only one coming off poorly. Not from where I am sitting. Where is the love? Do we really form such personal animosity towards each other so easily? I am beginning to think Rodney King was onto something.

    Riley, I’m sorry, WWE is terrible.

    Comment by Jacob J — August 11, 2014 @ 12:22 am

  67. Not fully sure of what we can make of the data, but perhaps something like this:
    1. M* people are more likely to hit “like”, while OW and FMH apparently don’t use the like button
    2. If we correlate with other data, such as posts on each blog on how supportive they are/aren’t of the Q15, we may find that Jeff G’s numbers do mean something. In the case of OW and M*, M* was virulently supportive of the Church, while OW’s blog posts were on the attack against patriarchy.
    3. As I’ve gotten to know both conservative and liberal bloggers, I’ve noted that conservatives tend to embrace the official message more, while liberals tend to seek personal identity more. This data only seems to support what is basically visible in the postings at each site.
    4. I personally am proud to be a perma at M*, and I guarantee that we are all firmly supportive of the Q15, although we also have our favorites….

    Comment by rameumptom — August 11, 2014 @ 6:23 am

  68. I thought I’d add my two cents. The technique Jeff G is using is for certain a ‘noisy’ set of data. But then most data we work with in real life is.

    To put this in perspective, Jeff G is effectively using the same AI algorithm that is used to make suggestions for other things to buy on Amazon, other movies you’d like on Netflix, or to create a channel on Pandora that has ‘your type of music.’

    Those algorithms deal with just as noisy of data, yet they ARE meaningful enough to be worth a whole heck of a lot of money.

    In fact, this is the same technique Facebook uses for advertising (now we’re dealing with more money) and is similar to (but different) to how google ads works.

    In short, this analysis *is* sufficiently meaningful to, say, make a prediction on how much one group is “TBMs” (i.e. ‘Brethren Aligned’) compared to another. And since the blogs in question are KNOWN to be more and less TBM, with the results matching exactly what we’d all arbitrarily assign to them anyhow, this is literally just confirming what we all already knewn. M* is by far the most TBM blog, Merdian not far behind, BCC is the faithful dissenting voice, and OW is strongly not TBM.

    The margin for error on this is got to be huge. For a smaller site like Keepa, for example, I doubt the data is even meaningful. Especially because of its generally wide appeal.

    Is anyone really going to argue that this data doesn’t give pretty good info on sales potential at least to one group vs. another? That’s why data is used in this way all the time and why more to the point that it *works*.

    Also, if we put together a scientific study of people that are fans of each of these sites and then ask them in the survey the degree to which they support certain teachings of the Brethren (i.e. living apostles and prophets, not dead ones) is there REALLY anyone here that if they had to bet their own real money that FMHW is just as supportive as the teachings of the Brethren as M*? I think you’d have to be insane not to point out the obvious that this just isn’t going to turn out to be the case.

    I agree with the many commenters that these groups almost assuredly understand ‘sustain’ differently and may even understand ‘testimony’ differently. So if you’re trying to use this data to determine who sustains the brethren or has a testimony, it would be completely useless. But it is almost assurdely a strong indicator of level of agreement with the teachings of the Brethren as currently taught.

    Comment by Bruce Nielson — August 11, 2014 @ 7:41 am

  69. “Only a fool would think that not FB liking the Q15 just is the equivalent of being unworthy in any meaningful sense”

    Jeff G., given your history of advocating hero worship (which until this day you cannot seem to find any doctrinal basis for), I wouldn’t put it past you to actually be equating not FB liking with not supporting the Q15.

    Comment by Steve Smith — August 11, 2014 @ 7:59 am

  70. Interesting…

    Because of the eclectic mix of my Facebook friends, I typically don’t “like” stuff on Facebook, particularly not things related to the Church. Therefore I would be part of the 85% (1-(230%/15)) who have “liked” M*, yet have not “liked” any member of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. (The stats for OW and FMHW would be 99% and 98% who don’t “like” the leaders).

    Turning this around, it shows that the vast majority of those willing to “like” a Mormon blog are not willing to “like” a Church leader. But certain blogs are “liked” by those who are particularly unlikely to “like” a Church leader.

    Comment by Meg Stout — August 11, 2014 @ 9:37 am

  71. Jacob J,

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pWdd6_ZxX8c

    Comment by Riley — August 11, 2014 @ 9:48 pm

  72. I don’t think the data is very meaningful, either. I don’t tend to like church figures on Facebook because I kind of hate memes, and their pages are basically a flood of fuzzy memes for my feed. If the First Presidency (whom I adore) and the Q12 actually ran their own Facebook pages and posted original material like essays or even news of their travels and encounters with saints worldwide, then I would be all over that business. As it is, I am more likely to like blogs on Facebook because that puts original, thoughtful material into my feed where I can get to it. I also like LDS Newsroom for the same reason. I liked the church’s general page, which already puts more memes in my feed than I can stand. I can’t even imagine what my feed would look like if I’d liked all fifteen of the bretheren! So what you’ve got here is a good indication of which blog readers really, really like churchy memes.

    Comment by Anonnnnn — August 13, 2014 @ 5:26 pm

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