Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mormon Mission World: New Missionary/Mission Aggregator

This past year my sidebar has become somewhat cluttered with all my missionary peeps.  I developed a problem in the Mormon Blogosphere with it getting too large and not loading due to the high volume of missionary blogs which had some feed errors.  I  had over one thousand missionary blogs so I decided that I needed to do something to make all the missionary blogs that I had found usable.  As a result I decided to make a new aggregator Mormon Mission World.

My wife Cheryl (Bored in Vernal) helped with the design of the blog including making its template and design.  We used a picture of a missionary that we found on the Internet which was quite attractive and symbolic.

I decided to let Emily Jensen of the Deseret News in her Backbench Column on Blogs have the initial scoop. She has featured Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord around twenty times in the last two years of its existence.  On 9 December 2010 she wrote in the Mormon Times:
Mission World: Dr. B has done it again, producing a new aggregator dedicated to organizing the Mormon Missionary World of mission-related blogs. He has sorted many of the now nearly one thousand missionary blogs into the following categories: "Sisters Mission Blogs," "Elders Mission Blogs -- Europe, Russia, Africa," "Elders Mission Blogs -- Asia, The Pacific," "Elders Mission Blogs -- The Americas," "Senior (Couples) Mission Blogs" and "Missions and Mission Presidents Blogs."

He explains, "When I started two years ago there were less than 30 blogs so it is growing exponentially. With 53,000 missionaries it is no wonder it is catching on. I want to make it clear that no missionary posts to these blogs but family members." Although missionary presidents and their wives as well as senior couples can blog, if I am not mistaken. Dr. B. also explains that "If a person doesn't want to be included (in his aggregator) then they need to make sure their blog is private since I consider anything on the Internet as a resource that should be included." It is truly his labor of love, showcasing his support for the many missionary families who are blogging about their missionary's experiences and testimonies.

I have been told that there has been some friction in the Archipelago and that many people had been removed.  I am toying with the idea of starting a series of smaller aggregators that are specialized.  I need to finish Mormon Mission World which will take at least a month or two.  After that I might tackle the bigger problem with a series of aggregators designed like Mormon Mission World such as Mormon Theology World, Mormon Writer World, etc.

It is getting difficult to keep up with all the new missionary blogs coming on each week.  It used to be there were only five or ten but now there are probably closer to twenty-five to fifty depending on the week.  I tried to find them all using tools like Blog Pulse or Google but its is becoming harder to find them all.  I even track every follower and find several new ones.  It is taking me around thirty hours a week to keep up with them.  It really is hard work.  In addition some of them resent my listing them so I have given up trying to appease them and put them all up.  If a person doesn't like it they can redact the information or go private.  A couple blogs redact by sanitizing all mentions of names down to a Single letter i.e. Elder S. or Brother P.  The Internet is protected under the 4th Amendment so if you don't want it up there don't put it on the WorldWideWeb.

I am a librarian so I consider that sharing all viewpoints a valuable thing.  My own personal blog and those of my three daughters who serve mission are not sanitized at all.  My daughters knew when they write me each week that I am posting them so you can all not worry I am doing something inappropriate.  In a very few cases they told me not to post something when it was of a personal nature otherwise it was put out to help others.  We learn about missionary work by seeing what really goes on out there.  I for one find every missionaries words a learning experience and for the most part faith-promoting.  It is standard mission practice for missionaries not to share negative things with parents.  If they are they are violating missionary instruction from the Church and their mission presidents.  A caution when putting stuff up is to edit the stuff for good grammar and to take out culturally sensitive pictures such as Buddhas etc. 

I have left general missionary themed blogs under the Mormon Blogosphere.  I am also slowly removing the individual blogs each day but I can only do about fifty to sixty a day so it will take a month or two to get them transferred over to Mormon Mission World.

I have a few General Authorities read the blogs from time to time as well as prospective elders.  The service I provide is making the blogs more accessible in one place.  If you think Google isn't finding them or Blog Pulse guess again.  Blog Pulse is the ultimate place to finding anything dealing with blogs.  Google you might have to dig down 20-30 pages.  The beauty of my aggregator is that you can find the world at your finger tips.  So rest assure that if I find you so can any other person.

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