Blog will eat itself (or the danger of big numbers)

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

A hotel bedroom desk in Berlin

There are many rewards to blogging, but it’s easy to get distracted by the easy one. Big numbers are a big distraction. My post on citizen journalism earlier in the week got big numbers. That obviously makes me happy.

My post on Bruce Sterling and the video of his speech at NEXT Berlin? That didn’t get big numbers. In fact, calling the numbers “small” seems, well, generous. Yet, it provoked this post in response – well, not response exactly, but it acted as a catalyst for a thought process that became that post.

That’s actually a bigger reward to me – I published something which someone I think is pretty smart used to write something pretty smart. I’m bringing insightful things to the notice of insightful people. That’s worthwhile.

I often preach the “hits stands for How Idiots Track Success” mantra – the interactive journalism MA students at City University can vouch for that – so I should remember to practice it, shouldn’t I?

After all, if I wanted the big numbers, this would be called something like “The Digital Journalism Expert” and have headlines that ran along the lines of 10 things digital journalism can learn from the Tumblr /Yahoo deal. But it’s not, and they don’t. You just have the meandering thoughts of one man on his blog, and just because my reputation built through this blog is the source of my income and my family’s financial security doesn’t mean I should let big numbers blind me to the truth: influence can be small, subtle and complicated, and often driven by small acts of generosity.

Find something cool. Pass it along. Change a couple of people’s thought processes. Who knows what might happen?


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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.