According to an article in USA Today, the new American obsession is to track everything from packages to pizza delivery, to tracking how taxpayer money is being spent. To give you an indication of the interest in tracking, in 1995, UPS had a total of 100,000 online requests for the month of December. In 2008, UPS received an average of 27.3 million requests per day for December.
In The Essential Orange, Karin Koonings says that everybody's tracking something - here are some examples:
Domino's rolled out Pizza Tracker last year which gives consumers a window into the status of their pizzas as well as Domino's a window into the online world of its customers. The Pizza Tracker is used by 75% of Domino's online customers. Besides connecting consumers to their pizzas, the tracker gives the first names of workers who make and deliver their order.
FedEx.com gets 6 million package-tracking requests daily, and according to Mark Colombo, senior vice president of digital access marketing, "tracking is one of our top drivers for customer satisfaction," "People are obsessed with it."
Some folks are big trackers of flights. That's why Daniel Baker started FlightAware in 2005. It's a free service that receives FAA information and converts it into maps that track almost all non-military flights in the USA and Canada. That's about 50,000 flights a day. The service receives 100 million flight-tracking requests a month.
Tracking feels like a way to reassure the consumer that their individual purchase or request is important. People don’t have to call a number, be put on hold or get lost in complex phone trees. And while it is an automated feature, is feels personal, allowing you to feel just a bit more in control.
All the examples above have been consumer-related, but I wonder if the same principles might be applied in a church setting?
Does this need for tracking address a human desire for control in a chaotic world?
Or is it just another characteristic of obsessive compulsive personality disorder?