By Neil Patrick
Today this blog reached half a million hits. Oops. How did that happen?
I'm sure you care not a bit about this. That's okay. This news is of no consequence to anyone else. Or is it? This post isn't about self-congratulation. It's about how blogs have the power to change our lives.
I remember distinctly about three years ago reading an announcement on the blog of one of my inspirations, the wonderful Stacy Donovan Zapar, that her own blog had just reached half a million hits.
This was a revelation to me. At the time and still as far as I know, Stacy is the most connected woman in the world on LinkedIn. Stacy’s blog about recruitment is in a similar field to mine. Jobs are not the most interesting topic to most people, yet Stacy had achieved something incredible I thought. My blog was new and had about 30,000 hits at that time. Stacy I am sure didn’t intend this, but she unwittingly planted the seed in my mind that this was a goal I would set myself too.
It seemed at that time to me to be an impossibly unrealistic aspiration. And quite probably a completely meaningless one. It wouldn’t make me richer, smarter, or more secure. So why bother at all?
The answer to this question is that no, I am not richer. Or smarter. Or more secure. Except in one critical way. I am much more connected with many more wonderful people all over the planet. People who care about the same things I do. People I like and who hopefully like me. And we help each other out on the basis of simple goodwill.
Academics have a term for this. They call it social capital. My bank manager might say ‘so what?’. Well here’s the answer: As the world shifts from a competitive economy to a collaborative one (for more on this, read my post about it here), connectivity, reach and goodwill are the essential ingredients for influence. And influence has value.
Influence and connections have transformed my world. Just last week I enjoyed a Skype chat with one of my newest connections. A man who has been dubbed ‘Britain’s best boss’. A man who has been CEO of some of the biggest and most valuable companies in the UK. And he made me almost choke on my coffee when he told me he reads this blog. I had no idea, because apart from subscribers whose email addresses contain their name (a minority) and some wonderful people who share my stuff on social media, I have absolutely no clue who reads my online ramblings.
The fact is that this blog has put me in touch with a huge number of brilliant people all over the planet. People who send me things. People who talk to me. People who inspire me. People who will invite me to events as a speaker or participant. And many of these people have become friends. And endorsers. And collaborators. And yes, even clients.
So to coin a phrase from my favourite movie of all time, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, what has this blog ever done for me?...Nothing!...apart from change my world.
So to everyone that has shared, commented, agreed, disagreed, challenged, contributed or just read this blog, please accept my unreserved thanks and appreciation. You have made my online existence worthwhile. You have changed my world for the better. And I hope that in a small way, I have changed yours too.