How Important Is Your Blog?

Those of you who read my blog may not realize it, but not many other people do. Why do I keep doing this? Well, I read a lot, I think a lot, and I have an opinion on everything. I think a blog is a good way for me to communicate what I think. Eventually, people will find it and read it. Besides, I like to think that some people like to know what I think about certain things :^)

Anyway, over at the EvangelicalOutpost, there is an article dealing with how a blog can be an important communication tool even if a small number of people read it. To read more of the article, click here.

Here is an excerpt:

Imagine that you've been provided the opportunity to hold a daily public conference. Six days a week between a dozen and a few hundred people gather together for the sole purpose of hearing what you think. Some of them find you insightful, even brilliant while others think you’re a blithering idiot. Each day, though, they come to hear you give an opinion about current events, expound upon an obscure topic of personal interest, or hear you share an amusing anecdote. A few stay thru your entire oration while others leave after only a few words. But every day someone shows up for your briefing.

Unfortunately, we bloggers rarely appreciate the power we possess. Instead of being constantly amazed at the potential influence we wield, we carp and whine (if only to ourselves) that we don’t have the links of Glenn Reynolds or the site hits of Daily Kos. We believe that since thousands of people could be reading our blogs that we should have thousands of readers. If we don’t then we judge ourselves to be inadequate.

If you have a blog that is read by more than a few dozen readers then you are making a bigger impact than you probably realize. If you have 50 people reading your blog then you have more people in your “classroom” than most professors at Harvard. If you have 90 readers then you have more people in your “pews” than most pastors have in their churches every Sunday. And if you have more than 1000 readers a month you have a larger “circulation” than most poetry and short story magazines.

But having a larger audience doesn’t necessarily translate into having more influence. As Malcolm Gladwell argues in his book The Tipping Point, the maximum number of individuals with whom we can have a genuinely social relationship is about 150. In blogging terms, this means that when your readership grows, you’re ability to have a true one-on-one relationship with them decreases significantly. This is not to say that you should attempt to limit your readership to 150 readers, turning people away when that number is reached. What it means is that if you want to maximize your personal influence you would focus on establishing strong bonds and deep interaction with at most 150 readers.

Now consider what would happen if each of these 150 readers read and thought about what you wrote on your blog for five minutes every day. Five minutes may seem insignificant but it has an exponential effect: with only 5 minutes every day, six days a week, every month, you will have the reader’s attention for more than one entire day – 26 hours – every year. With only 150 consistent readers you will have gained the equivalent “mindspace” of one person for one entire day for almost five straight months. This is what I call the "5/150 Principle": capturing the mindspace of 150 people for 5 minutes can create an astounding opportunity for influence.

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