I just learned that the editors of Ziff Davis Enterprise put me as #38 in their list of the ‘100 Most Influential People in IT.‘ The people putting this list together evidently considered being ‘a torchbearer for the emerging Enterprise 2.0 market’ to be noteworthy. I’m honored and flattered.
I’m also pretty sure that this blog is the main reason I made the list. My original article on Enterprise 2.0 appeared just about two years ago in Sloan Management Review and has been pretty popular in reprints and downloads. But my blog has received almost 6.5 million page hits since its launch. I’m quite confident that the total number of desks that have been crossed by my articles and papers pales in comparison to the total number of desktops that have displayed my blog.
I’ve done a lot of speaking on E2.0 at conferences, universities, think tanks, and companies, and have engaged in a couple debates on the topic, and all of these activities have helped spread the word and the ideas. But nothing works as well as this blog. It’s attracted nearly 900 non-spam comments, and I’ve met plenty of people over the last two years who know me primarily as a blogger and are surprised to hear that I’m also a traditional ‘dead tree’ author.
In addition, the best a single article can do is spark thoughts for a reader — get her to start thinking about a new topic, or to think differently about an existing one. In other words, it can initiate a conversation. I’ve found my blog to be a fantastic tool for continuing the conversation. This blog has allowed me to air ideas on E2.0 and other topics as frequently as I want, and at the length I feel is appropriate. In other words, the person determining the editorial calendar for these ideas is me, not an editor.
I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with Sloan Management Review, Harvard Business Review, and the other periodicals I’ve worked with, and I intend to keep publishing with them. But SMR and HBR have an annual ‘budget’ of IT-related articles, and only a subset of them can be about topics I’m interested in. And of course only a smaller subset of them can be authored by me. I operate under no such constraints with my blog. I put up as much as I want, and readers can consume as much as they want. And as new ideas (such as tying E2.0 to the concepts of social ties and tie strength) occur, I can use the blog to present them for consideration and discussion without having to wait for a traditional publishing opportunity.
I had the chance a little while ago to listen to Paul Levy, the CEO of Boston’s Beth Israel hospital (and my Facebook friend and fellow Red Sox fan), talk about why he blogged. He brought up the same point – that he can blog on issues he cares about as much as he wants. If the topic is of broad interest and his posts are good, they’ll continue to be read and can help shape thinking on the issue. It occurred to me that without a blog, his ability to do this is greatly reduced. Because of his position he might get to write a single opinion piece in the Boston Globe, and I guess his staff could continue to send out PR releases, but that’s about it. His blog greatly amplifies his voice.
The Berkeley economist J. Bradford DeLong got the role of academic blogging exactly right in "The Invisible College," an article he wrote for The Chronicle of Higher Education in 2006. He wrote that "[blogging] is a play in the intellectual influence game… A great university has faculty members who do a great many things — teaching undergraduates, teaching graduate students, the many things that are "research," public education, public service, and the turbocharging of the public sphere of information and debate that is a principal reason that governments finance and donors give to universities. Web logs may well be becoming an important part of that last university mission."
Hear hear, and I plan to use my blog to continue to play in the intellectual influence game. I’m gratified to see that it seems to be working so far…