2 min read

I work out of coffee shops. The noisier it gets the more I can concentrate.

Notice it is work OUT OF … not work OUT AT. Nobody can work out with a bagel in their mouth.

My friend who often joins me, however, can hear every conversation going on around us. He doesn’t get much done.

Dumbo Ears and Google

If you got dumbo ears, maybe we could work together – Google

He doesn’t eavesdrop … I think. Maybe God blessed or cursed him, depending on your perspective, with Dumbo Ears.

Another friend in Japan said that people who hear everything or wants to listen very carefully has ears like the Disney elephant.

I have heard quite a few stories of people talking, chatting across a physical table in a physical room – coffee shop, dinner table, followed by a search online for something and those very topics they were discussing pop up in a Google or Facebook ad.

Can You Hear Me Now, Google?

My cell phone broke. I told my wife what had happened over dinner. The next day I did a generic search for a cell phone repair shop in my area. A review popped up in search mentioning my phone, and the exact same problem I had described the night before. I could have written the review … except my phone was still broken.

Can Facebook or Google “hear” our conversations even we are not on our phones? Do these tech giants listen in? Unethical as it is, I don’t think morality will stop them.  And when/if they get caught, they can back off.

Should the Church Digital Eavesdrop?

Which brings me to my question. Should the church take advantage of digital eavesdropping?

I am digitally eavesdropping. Am I cool?

The church wants to remain relevant. What better way to remain relevant than knowing what is on people’s hearts and minds? What better way to know than to listen? Even digitally … or maybe by asking my friend who can hear every conversation going on in a coffee shop the size of a basketball court.

Some great ways to listen in digitally and legitimately online:

  • Forums
  • Facebook groups
  • LinkedIn groups
  • Twitter groups

Groups in social networks have matured. I belong to several groups that help me keep the pulse on different topics I am interested in.

Members talk, discuss, share, debate, fight, and encourage one another … and I learn what people care about.

What about Digital Eavesdropping?

As for me. No. Eavesdropping (unwanted listening) is uncool.