How to be a Change Agent Blogger

“Can blogging be used to help others?”  The question was posed by Darren Rowse of problogging.com in a recent post titled “Come with Me To Tanzania” .  Rowse is widely considered to be one of the rockstars of the blogging world.  His blogs are read by about 4 million people a month.  That’s about a million shy of half the population of my country, Sweden.  I am impressed that Rowse is harnessing his blogging and his online reputation/name recognition to do humanitarian work.   He is flying to Tanzania in a few days to observe and report back on maternal health work done by an Australian charity.

The charity is CBM Australia, an organization that, according to its website, is “part of the world’s largest organisation working with people with a disability in the poorest places.”

Rowse’s role on the humanitarian trip is a unique one.  As far as I know, he doesn’t have any clinical skills.  But in my opinion, he is even more useful to CBM than a clinician.  The awareness he can bring to the need in Tanzania as well as the work of CBM, is huge.  A few years ago, someone like Rowse would have been seen as “great PR” or a “useful reporter”.  Although these labels are not incorrect, bloggers on Rowse’s level can be huge change agents that defy conventional attempts to categorize them.

I believe Rowse is the kind of change agent that Malcolm Gladwell talks about in his book The Tipping Point – an individual capable of bringing about great social change.   “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts,” says Gladwell.

Gladwell divides change agents into the following categories (summary courtesy of Wikipedia):

“Connectors are the people who “link us up with the world … people with a special gift for bringing the world together.” They are “a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack [… for] making friends and acquaintances”. He characterizes these individuals as having social networks of over one hundred people.

Mavens are “information specialists”, or “people we rely upon to connect us with new information.” They accumulate knowledge, especially about the marketplace, and know how to share it with others.  “Mavens are really information brokers, sharing and trading what they know”.

Salesmen are “persuaders”, charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills. They tend to have an indefinable trait that goes beyond what they say, which makes others want to agree with them.”

Rowse seems to be a combination of all of the above.  He is absurdly connected.  Four million readers a month rely on him as an information broker “maven” and he is obviously a salesman whose product people are gobbling up.

We’ll see how Rowse does in Tanzania.  If you want to follow his adventures, the bulk of his writing will be on CBM’s blog but there’s also the ProBlogger Twitter account and, of course, Rowse’s main blog – problogger.com.

I wish him the best of luck.

Bjorn Karlman

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13 thoughts on “How to be a Change Agent Blogger”

  1. This is a very interesting article. I myself had never imagined the implications of using a “famous” blogger as a way to spread PR and support for a groups cause. All of the information in this article is great but it is a little bit scattered. The shift from his work to what Rowse should be catagorized at is quite quick and distracts from the subject of his humanitarian work. Regardless i will be following up on this story.

  2. With the rapid growth of the internet and other mass communication media, a lot of ‘new-age’ writers and bloggers like Darren Rowse are gaining more and more readership and the internet enables them to reach a wider audience than ever. And when these people use their talents and the power they hold on their audience for a greater cause, that is information technology at its very best. I look forward to reading about his experiences in Tanzania and wish him the very best.

  3. Internet era has changed the world abd made this world a small village where all are living.Internet plays a vital role to communicate globally.I answer yes to Darren Rowse question “Can blogging be used to help others?”.If you are able to influence people,use this power for better cause and for humanity.I praise Darren Rowse for his nice charitable work.This will motivate other too to do some thing for society.

    1. yes, hopefully there WILL be a ripple effect… it is easy to just say someone else is doing a good job… but hopefully this kind of story will cause a physical reaction…

  4. I agree the words of Darren Rowse about “Can blogging be used to help others?” .This is very interesting article because such articles helps every person to clarify their doubts.

  5. With the continuous growth in the field of the internet i believe that he will attain more viewers and respect than other blogger. My answer to his question “Can blogging be used to help others?” is yes. I totally agree with it. Internet has reduced distance between people, now it seems like we people are living very close to each other so helping people through blogs is no big deal.It went through some of his blogs, they were so useful and intresting. I wish him best of luck for his future and thumbs up for his hard work. May God bless him. Amen!

  6. Darren Rowse seems to be the netizen reincarnation of some worldwide star as Bono (from U2). Actually, I find Rowse more honest but this is other story…

    Many people don’t think about the importance of having connections spread around the world. Ones is not ubiquitous, therefore help is needed. In my opinion, the web and the world need more people like him, able to guide millions in one (honest) direction.

    By the way, do you know Han Han? His (Chinese) blog has near 400 million hits… That’s something.

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