Ah, Subjectivity

Subjectivity” has been the word of my week.

On Tuesday, I released a list of the top 20 youth ministry blogs.

Just like people argue incessantly about sports polls– there has been a lot of discussion about the release of my poll. Thank goodness no one gives these folks time on ESPN. I’d go nuts!

I knew it would create discussion, debate, and maybe even some sour grapes. I even warned the call center at work that they may get some calls complaining. (Which never happened) But I felt strongly about making the poll public. Transparency, right?

I knew/hoped/even prayed that by publishing the list it would make the entire genre better. At least that’s my working theory.

Like it or not, the youth ministry blog genre has been fading for the past 1-2 years. Several of the bigger names (some of which are friends of mine)  have either stopped blogging, slowed significantly, or started to morph their blog from a blog to more of a resource/ad driver site. And I thought, subjectively, that if I drew some attention to the genre it just might wake up the once vibrant community.

Of course the poll is subjective. It’s created by a human. 66% included a composite of publicly available stats, all of which are dependent on the individual blog being set up correctly and pinging those ranking sites. (More subjectivity) Additionally, the method included a 33% weighting specifically called “influence.” I took the top 50 blogs statistically and pushed out a survey asking 20 of the top 50 to rank each blog on a scale of 1-10 for who they thought had the most influence in youth ministry. (Can it get more subjective?) I even asked that group, “Who is missing from the top 50?

Only 2 new blogs were suggested, neither of great statistical influence.

So there was a bit of subjectivity in every arena. Even in the 100 or so blogs who got indexed there was subjectivity since it was limited to my ability to find the blogs in the first place.

This is the nature of any poll or rankings. There is criteria, but the creation of the criteria is subjective no matter what. My hope is, just like in sports, enough people will want to move up and the end result is that it makes the genre better.

Competition isn’t always bad, is it? Doesn’t it, on some level, make people try harder to be better?

Bottom line: I’m loving the discussion. And I love the fact that people are thinking about youth ministry blogs once again.


5 responses to “Ah, Subjectivity”

  1. Tim Schmoyer Avatar

    Woah, wait a minute! You said 33% and 66%. What about the other 1% you’re not mentioning?! I’m gonna go tweet about how non-legit this is because I don’t know what that 1% is. 😉

  2. adam mclane Avatar

    Hahahaha- that 1% is my margin of error.

  3. Jared Avatar


  4. Chris Kidd Avatar

    Just want to say again how much I appreciate what you’ve done doing this, and how I live the subjectivity of it – I think it’s led to a good list and started some great debate about what is a youth ministry blog and what isn’t – always a bit blurry.

  5. adam mclane Avatar

    @chris- it has, indeed, created a fair amount of debate. I’m really hopeful that the rankings make all YM blogging better-er.

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