I don’t have any links to back this up, but I remember reading a few different articles suggesting that the “power” or influence of a blog is primarily based on its readership. This certainly seems to fit with the many reader-stats tools that are available these days, but I’ve never really subscribed to that view. While I do agree that a blog is nothing without its readers, I don’t believe readership alone is a good indicator of the influence of a blog.
In real life, a speaker who can successfully motivate a small group of people to act — or at least respond — quickly and with passion has certainly achieved greater influence than one who speaks to a larger audience, all of whom simply walk away as if they had never heard anything. If the reactions of those audience members, in turn, prompt a reaction from still other people, I would count that as a mark of continuing influence of the original speaker. It’s like setting off a chain reaction or knocking over a line of dominoes.
I believe influence has more to do with invoking a reaction than just disseminating information. Of course, more readers generally translates to more possibility for reactions, but ultimately it’s a combination of author and reader that formulate the equation. Unfortunately, that’s far more difficult to measure, but sometimes there are signs that indicate what’s really going on.
Recently, I posted a controversial article out of frustration, knowing full well that I’d receive differing opinions on the subject. However, I was very surprised today, when I looked around a bit and saw the ripples my stone had created.
One way of judging reactions in the “blogosphere” is to look for direct responses to an article. I was notified of a few responses to that article, and those in turn incited other responses. I don’t have all the information available, so I might be missing some posts on the subject, but here’s a basic rundown of how it all played out, at least as far as basic HTML can represent it.
So that’s five total reactions, including one of my own, and another is three blogs removed from mine, having nothing to do with either of the languages mentioned in my original post! Sure, in the grand scheme of things, this is probably a small chain to document, but for me, it marks yet another step in my evolution as a more active member of the self-publishing community.