Tipping the Blogosphere
A Review of Hugh Hewitts Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation
Why is it that some ideas or behaviors or products start epidemics and others dont? Thats the question that Malcom Gladwell attempts to answer in The Tipping Point, a fascinating examination of the phenomena of social epidemics. While examining the question Gladwell introduces three types of people -- Mavens, Connectors, and Salesmen - who play a critical role in dictating trends.
Mavens are information brokers who have the knowledge and social skills to start epidemics; connectors are people who know lots of other people; and salesmen are people with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced by what we are hearing. While many of us play some of these roles, there are few truly influential mavens, connectors, or salesmen. An even few number of remarkable people are a combination of all three. Hugh Hewitt is one of those people.
As a best-selling author, national radio host, and popular blogger, Hewitt is a classic connector. And his willingness to help and encourage others, sparking in them a passion for blogging marks him as a true maven. Now, with the release of his extraordinary new book, Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation, he exhibits his persuasive skills as a salesman. Hewitt is a one-man epidemic, spreading the burgeoning trend of blogging.
While many of us might see 5 million blogs as a revolution already well on its way to maturity, Hewiit sees a vast, relatively untapped market. His book is squarely aimed at the large segment of the population who might use email and surf the Internet but still doesnt quite understand the importance of the blog thing. Hewitt explains why blogs are significant, how they are changing the world around us, and most importantly how not to get left behind in this phase of the information reformation.
With a style reminiscent of management guru Tom Peters, Blog hits the ground running. I know you are busy, Hewitt writes in the opening words of the preface and spends the next 220 pages cutting to the chase. He doesnt waste time trying to explain what isnt necessary. Like a classic maven he convinces the reader to just trust him, he knows what hes talking about and is willing to freely share his valuable knowledge.
Blog is divided into three sections, each explaining an essential aspect of blogging. Part one lays out the case for What Happened by describing the blog storms that helped bring down such powerful figures as Trent Lott and Dan Rather. Even mainstream media types will have a hard time scoffing at the power of the blogosphere after the retelling of these seminal opinion storms. And those of us who watched the events unfold in real time will be impressed by Hewitts post-mortem examination. He clearly did his homework.
In explaining the twenty-first century information reformation Hewitt compares it to the sixteenth centurys Protestant Reformation. While many others have compared blogging to the invention of the printing press, Hewitt delves into the history of the event and shows how a young monk named Luther used the new technology to transform Western culture. In doing so he revives an often overused metaphor and gives it new life, making a convincing case that 2005 really is 1449 and 1517, at the same moment.
While the first section of the book will be of special interest to bloggers, Parts II and III lay out the case for why leaders of business, church, government, and media should be paying attention to the new media. Even those of us who spend a considerable amount of time thinking about blogging will be impressed by the creative uses for the medium that Hewitt suggests. His recommendations, if adopted, would benefit both bloggers and the organizations that could use our unique skills to their advantage.
Throughout the book, Hewitt exhibits his typically generous linking and praise for blogs and bloggers. Instead of using the book solely as a vehicle for promoting his own brand, he shows that blogging truly is an interconnected community. As he readily admits, no blog no matter how much traffic it receives -- is as important as the blogosphere. The fact that Hewitt gets this and is able to use it to his advantage is one of the primary reasons he has become one of the foremost leaders of the new media.
When you order your copy of Blog from Amazon or buy it at your local bookstore youll want to get at least two copies - one to keep and one to give away. No matter whether you are a connector, a maven, or just a wannabe, after reading Hewitts book youll become a salesman for blogging.
connectors are people who know lots of other people;
and salesmen are people with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced by what we are hearing.