Mormons Spread the Good Word with SEO Strategy
by Susan Leem, associate producer
Not every religious organization has an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy, but the online success of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may make them a model for public relations efforts online.
The Washington Post reports that of any religious group, LDS.org is the most-visited website. Since 2007, according to SEO consultant Justin Briggs who wrote "Breaking Down the Mormon SEO Strategy," the LDS website has been targeting religious search terms such as “church,” “scripture,” and “Jesus Christ” but also has focused on terms such as “friend” and “young women” and “chastity” — all with great success. In fact, LDS.org ranks right behind MTV.com in the total number of external links, with more than three-and-a-half million. That’s impressive to many industry experts, and it also may be one of the better ways to fulfill the Church’s mission of outreach to non-LDS members.
(photo: More Good Foundation/Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)
Google Helps People Find Survivor
by Susan Leem, associate producer
The Telegraph notes an important contribution to relief efforts in the Pacific: the Person Finder, in both English and Japanese. Google is tracking thousands of records to match information on missing people. Imagine the pang of relief to find your loved one on a safe list amid the chaos of downed communication lines.
Mapping Religion in Online Realms (or Maps of Irreverence that Tell Us Something about Our Online Selves)
Trent Gilliss, online editor
Over at Floatingsheep, Mark Graham has been rendering some superb data sets about religion as it manifests itself in various ways on the Internet. There’s some good learning to be had but they are also a lot of fun so I’m taking it a bit further by pulling maps from two discrete entries and pairing them for a bit of play.
First, my sub-dollar 2-liter bottle of soda to get you in the door — a visual analysis of “the comparative prevalence of churches (blue), bowling alleys (red), guns (green) and strip clubs (yellow)” (in-depth analysis here) in the United States as indexed on Google Maps.
A rather tongue-in-cheek way of weaving a good dose of humor into some disparate social activities that perhaps tells us something, in the context of our blog, about the online presence of churches in the South running through the Buffalo Commons in the Midwest to the Canadian border.
Now — and I realize this is a stretch, but since it’s Saturday… — compare this granular map below of Christianity in the U.S. with the one you just saw. In cyberspace, churches and Protestants seem to go hand-in-hand, dominating the landscape. What other non-scientific speculations and conclusions might you draw?
As seen in the following map, let’s zoom out and take a look at the larger world by comparing the relative number of search terms of four types of Christianity: Catholic (green), Orthodox (red), Pentecostal (gold), and Protestant (blue). Graham notes:
"Most interesting is the fact that references to "Pentecostal" are more visible than references to "Catholic" in most parts of Brazil (and large parts of South America) despite the fact that almost three-quarters of Brazilians identify as being Catholics. Part of the issue is likely down to the fact that we thus far have confined our searches to English-language terms and are therefore missing out on all the references to Catholicism in Spanish. However, it is intriguing that Pentecostalism is so visible in Brazil (perhaps because it is rapidly growing in popularity in the region).”
And then check out the next map from "Google’s Geography of Religion" that charts the relative concentration of search terms for Allah (green), Jesus (blue), Hindu (red), and Buddha (gold).
When I saw the addition of the search term “sex” to the map, the dynamic of the map changed quite dramatically, particularly in North America. Refer back to the first map and you may arrive at other conclusions or insights. Share them in the comments section so we all can conjecture and chat.
Andy Dayton, Associate Web Producer
Shortly before I dove into production on the Web site for this week’s program, Shiraz popped up in my Twitter feed with a little note:
is appreciating Jon Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness presentation at Google. I wish I had heard of him 1,000 days ago.
This is how it often works. As the production process works its way forward, the material we’re covering hits us at different times. Krista watched this video even earlier during her interview preparation, and she brought it up in her conversation with Kabat-Zinn — asking him to do a guided meditation like the one in his presentation. (We actually ended up going with a clip from the video instead, but you can download an mp3 of the unedited interview if you’d like to hear his impromptu version.)
Kind of like Seane Corn’s demonstration of “body prayer” in our yoga program, it seemed necessary to give a sampling of meditation and mindfulness in practice, not just in theory. The necessity of this was pretty well articulated in the cuts & copy session last week; we had made it about halfway through the script, and most of us were soaking up Kabbat-Zinn’s words of wisdom when Trent stepped forward as a voice of dissent. His point was worth considering, which I’ll attempt to paraphrase: What’s the point of spending all of this time talking about mindfulness, rather than just doing it? The hope is that the clip from this video in the program gives listeners at least a little taste of the doing.
We all absorb things differently here — at different times, in different ways, and to different degrees. And sometimes there’s a bit of dissonance as well. Earlier this week I found myself stressed out while writing some language for the script, and very “mindful” of the irony of my situation. What to do when you’re producing a program that discusses tools for relieving stress and anxiety, and it’s causing you to experience stress and anxiety? Well, for starters, breathe…