Saturday, September 22, 2007

6 Things We Learned By Doing This Blog

Hello, all.  As previously stated, this is our last day here at The Secret Diary of D. A. Carson, and though we're sad to bid you fine folks goodbye, we've also taken a lot away from the experience.  In our parting entry (the Don will have one more after this), we'd like to share with you some of the things we've learned and observed.

1.  The internet is one fast moving machine.
All four of us are somewhat tech savvy, and three of us have had our own blogs for several years.  What took us by surprise with the Secret Diary is how quickly it caught on and how quickly word of mouth spread through your blogs, your emails, and your discussions.  We never dreamed we'd have over 600 people visiting us each day, but that's exactly what has happened over these last couple of weeks.  For those of you who helped spread the word and kept coming back: thanks.  It's been a lot of work to keep this up as long as we have, but you're the reason we kept at it.

2.  TEDS administration overstepped their bounds.
Some of you will disagree with us on this, but we're going to have to just be really frank and direct here: the administration of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School went outside of their bounds to get us to shut down.  Having no idea whether they were dealing with a TEDS student or not, they worked hard to get us off the web.

Sorry, guys, but in the age of the internet and tons of personal blogs, you're just going to have to let some things go.  Why TEDS would ever concern themselves with something as silly as our little blog is beyond us: it's a waste of their time and the resources of Trinity and, frankly, it's beneath them.  Which leads us to our third point...

3.  If TEDS had let it go, we wouldn't have been nearly as popular.
That's right, we'll admit it: the controversy got people blogging and sent us WAY more traffic than we would have had under normal circumstances.  Poor judgement and incorrect assumptions turned an annoying nat into a beast.  In the future if you face a similar situation, you may not be dealing with webmasters that are as sensitive to controversy as we have been, so more care really should be taken.  We're honestly saying this for your own good.

4.  For whatever reason, age and amount of education were polarizing factors in opinions of our website.
We have, to date, received almost 300 correspondences over email and our comment system.  Over 80% (about 240) of those have been extremely positive, and only about 10% (about 30) have been from people who were seriously attempting to dissuade us from continuing with the site.  Of those 30 correspondences, most of which were sent over email, 27 were either Ph. D. students, seminary professors, or people over the age of 50.

It's difficult to determine exactly what this data means.  Without pretending to know much about this area, we'd like to put forth a few beliefs about the data.

First off, we don't believe our humor is for everyone.  Some people think The Office, The Simpsons, and The Colbert Report are hilarious.  Some people just think those shows are stupid.

Our site is no different (except for the fact that it's not as good).  We have written things that have amused us and things that we've learned over the course of seminary, pastoring, marriage and life.  We're pleased that a great many of you were also amused and even edified by some of it.  

But some of you weren't.  And that's okay.  It seems that the more degrees you hold, the more offended you were when we poked a little fun at someone with a degree.  The older you were, the less likely you were to share our sense of humor.  There seems to be a generational and education disconnect happening that we really can't fully explain.

5.  We take ourselves too seriously.
Please don't misunderstand: we're not saying that everyone who didn't like our site takes themselves too seriously.  But a lot of us do.  Not only that, but we have, in many cases, elevated men (Piper, Carson, Wright, Rob Bell, Driscoll, Ed Young, etc.) to a dangerously prominent position in our hearts and minds.

We got one email from a professed atheist who couldn't believe that anyone was making such a big deal about what he called "a harmless, tame blog."  He told us that one of the reasons he stayed away from church and Christians was because they couldn't laugh at themselves.

Folks, if anyone should be able to laugh at themselves, it should be us.  Through the word of God, we know better than anyone what huge messes we are without His guidance and empowerment.  We would do well to remember that, regardless of how old we get or how many educational degrees we obtain.

6.  We were encouraged by this little experiment.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your kind emails, your discussions, and your pleas to keep the site going.  Even though we ultimately felt that it needed to end, we were so greatly encouraged by the positive comments and emails you sent us from all over the world.  It's humbling to realize just how many of you cared about us keeping it up and how many of you checked in with us on a regular basis.

So where do we go from here?  Well, we're taking a break.  Maybe in a few months we'll revisit the idea of trying to find a great way to gather Christian community around the concepts of humility and laughter.  We'll be keeping this site up for a few more weeks and haven't decided yet how long to keep it archived; as traffic declines due to a lack of new content we'll take it down.

Thanks again to the "regulars."  You will be missed.

The Secret Diary Team


Jon Trott said...

Sigh. Honestly, all I can say is that this was the most gentle, fun-loving bit of a spoof on someone I've ever seen on the web. If someone did one of these for me -- they won't because I am even more amazingly intelligent (and less impressed with Southern Baptist former presidents) than "the Don." Actually they won't because... I do such a good job of being an idiot all by myself.

But anyway, I enjoyed your blog, am quite amazed and sorry about TEDs reaction, and hope you all walk away not feeling too badly used by the experience. And if you'd *like* to do a blog on me like this one, well, I'll send you any pertinent info you need...


Jon Trott
Jesus People USA Evangelical Covenant Church

Mike Clawson said...

Honestly, given TEDS assholish reaction to this blog, I really hope someone else picks up the torch and starts a new Fake Carson blog. They need to learn exactly what an exercise of heavy handed power will get them in this new wiki-world.

Mike Fischer said...

Pure magic. Hmm, maybe that wasn't such a 'Christian' way of putting it, but I do like your blog!

For the record, I'm a Carson fan... and if there was a fuss caused at TEDS by the stuff you've done here, well, they need to grow up and be very thankful that they don't have crew like Australia's own 'Chaser' crew running around stirring the pot.

Not that I want to give you gents amibitions at all... ;-)


Jim said...

I take it from your blog that the purpose of your blog was humility and laughing at ourselves. I do indeed believe in laughing at myself. So I was wondering (since I haven't read your entire blog)how much of your blog was devoted to laughing at yourselves (the authors of the blog.) I trust in light of your purpose there is a high percentage.

Ryan said...

#2 is not a valid reason to take down this blog. I was elated when you came out of retirement in 2011 for the two Bell posts. At the very least, a monthly post from now on is needed. What can TEDS do now to shut down the best blog online? The blogosphere needs to hear from the Dragon on a regular basis. Please come back Don.