Sunday, 4 August 2013

The impact of blogs 1.25 million hits.

Today I posted on Facebook and Twitter that my blog has received 1.25 million page views. As I write it shows me that it is now 1,251,942, so another 1942 page views in the last 8 hours. 

A former colleague and friend Mukesh Kapila wrote on twitter today in response to my claim " i clicked 10 times to make it 1.230,010. Congrats but In what way have u brought impact ? keen to learn." 

That is why I respect Mukesh because he is always the scientist,  analyzer and the advocate, and  challenges peers. Here is an answer Mukesh.

I started my blog in June 2007 while running the biggest ever disaster recovery operation, the Indian Ocean tsunami. I was seeing so many outstanding practices and models, and as many bad ones, in Indonesia, that I felt it a duty to share them and my lessons learned publicly. Sadly, international organisations in those days, were not responsive to personal and instantaneous feedback from their practitioners in the field. 

Blogging is a powerful tool for informing, promoting and persuading, and by persuading, it often means changing a person's life. In 2008 I had total knee replacements in both knees and scores of people thanked me as my personal testimony on my blog persuaded them to get their knees replaced and all feedback was positive. I thought at the time if you can persuade people to have two of their old knees carved out and replaced, what effect can blogging have upon 'changing minds?' 


Mukesh Kapila, in writing the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent's Strategy 2020 (S2020), alludes to the weakness of our generation, a lack of leadership.

S2020 says, 


Our Leadership: We show leadership and strive for excellence in our work, drawing attention to the rights, needs 
and vulnerabilities of communities and the factors that 
underlie them. It goes on to list how to do it. 
ENABLING ACTION TO PURSUE HUMANITARIAN
DIPLOMACY TO PREVENT AND REDUCE
VULNERABILITY IN A GLOBALIZED WORLD
Our humanitarian diplomacy is concerned with persuading decision-makers and opinion leaders to act, at 
all times, in the interests of vulnerable people, and with 
full respect for our Fundamental Principles.

In a nutshell, my blog was set up in 2007 to share experience and lessons learned over four decades of humanitarian work. Yes, I wanted to positively influence people.

I love my humanitarian work at all levels, and I have an equal love for people, the mountains, the polar regions, books, rugby, experiential learning, family, travel, climate change and story telling. I write about every day life and share a lot. One of my early posting is about leaving New Zealand at the tender age of 19 for South America by sea - and falling in love in Tahiti with disastrous consequences - caused some censure from family members. http://bobmckerrow.blogspot.co.nz/2008/05/beginnings-part-2.html  But I did not care about the critics for I set out to write the truth, and constructively influence people to change the world. 

So to Mukesh and my friends, " In what way have I brought impact." People give you feedback through the comments section on the blog.
I have put up 975 posts, received 19,033 comments and I am able to see the most popular stories. But more importantly, if people have a life changing experience because of your influence, they seldom comment on it publicly, but contact you personally to share and discuss further. I have kept a record of such people that are in excess of 200. Companies such as Stryker, who make high tech artificial knees, have written to me saying how I have had a strong influence on persuading people to have total knee replacements.

When I arrived in Sri lanka in 2010, we had 20,000 Swiss Francs for our IDP programme. Today we have in excess of 90 million all up. In 2010 I started a targeted campaign on my blog begging for funding and can measure the feedback I received and the influence my blog had on fundraising.

Mukesh Kapila, by running on my blog the review written by Bill Nicol on your book ' Against A Tide of Evil' I know that for 2 weeks over 60 people were viewing it daily, but it has since dropped off.

I am also able to see that the majority of followers are from the US, France, UK, NZ, Australia, India, Japan, Canada, Poland, Romania, Indonesia, China, Russia, Germany, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Pakistan and Italy. Small in number, but some of my most passionate followers are from the West Indies including Poet Laureate Patricia Hargreaves. 

Lyse Doucet and many of her colleagues from the BBC respond to comments I make and occasionally Helen Clarke, Head of UNDP give feedback. Writers such as Weston \DeWalt visit my blog and give comments, and many leading diplomats do also.  

I receive a lot of joy from the young people who visit, comment and write to me. Many are Red Cross volunteers who are inspired as are young mountaineers, explorers and wayfarers who seek guidance or advice. Way out front in popular postings is one on a 15 year old girl climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with 1749 hits and 134 comments on 14 Oct 2011.  Sarah is the daughter of my friend Rob Hall, who tragically died on the summit of Mt. Everest in 1995, one month before she was born.

An interview with Sandra D'Urzo from the IFRC shelter department in Geneva was also very popular with 199 people visiting and leaving 49 comments. She spoke on PASSA, and settlement planning.

One comment that floored me recently was from Jeff Blumenfeld who runs a leading New York PR company and is editor of  the veru popular Expedition News who wrote to me saying " I get more referrals from your blog to Expedition News than any other." Neither of us could believe it but the facts are there.

In two weeks time my local mountaineering club in Otago, New Zealand is celebrating 90 years and the article I wrote some months ago is running hot.

Mukesh and friends, I could go on until daybreak which is 2 hours away, but feel this is enough. Blogs, like well-written books, are hugely influential. Their readers are sharp and unforgiving at times, and that is why total openness and honesty is essential because readers quickly pick up insincerity and will drift away at a whiff of it.


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