I got a call last week from a friend of mine whom I had not heard from since the Clinton administration.
‚ÄúHey Jim, did you see that video of you on You Tube?‚ÄĚ
A video of me.¬† On You Tube.
I did not put it there, I did not ask to have it put there, nor did I give anyone permission to put it there.
Never the less, it was there.
Information, they say, is power.¬† A long time ago, before the sun rose over the internet horizon, organizations controlled their own information. ¬†They controlled how it was presented, to whom it was presented, and when the presentation would take place.
That day is long passed.¬†
All it takes is one individual with a wifi connection and a laptop and data, regardless of the format, can be blown into the public domain for universal consumption.
The control of institutional data is now beyond the control of the institution.
The dark side of this phenomenon was seen during the sexual abuse crisis of the past decade.¬† Like mushrooms, websites cropped up all over the electronic landscape with the details of each scandal, including the picture of the offender, the court documents, and the statement of victims.¬† Stories of perhaps local significance were blown out onto the national stage.
This certainly did not help diocesan development directors in their fund raising efforts.
Yet, there is bright side to this growing process of informational decentralization.
There is information, organizational information, that our donors and those considering making a donation, find important.
Why not take, for example, the Diocesan financials that is most often published behind the legal announcements in the diocesan newspaper, and let them go viral for projection into the electronic cosmos.¬† Perhaps a video could even be developed with the diocesan CFO explaining the year end position of the diocese, demonstrating good stewardship of finances.
You may not be able to control the flow of information, but you can give it a nudge once in a while.