At the recent Social Slam conference, there was a ton of inspiring content from some of the greatest marketing minds around. And yet to me, the sentence from the day-long conference that has lingered in my mind came from the least-known speaker of the day.  She is not a marketer. She is not a social media expert. In fact, Social Slam was the first social media conference she had ever attended.

I invited Dr. Alice Ackerman, a pediatrician and college educator from Virginia Tech University, to relate her inspiring story of how she was connecting to her community through social media. She told the audience of her introduction to the social web through The Tao of Twitter and of her struggles to get approval to blog from the university medical community. She persevered and eventually got the go-ahead, but finding an audience for her blog posts was another matter.

Much of her first blogging efforts were aimed at educating the community on the importance of childhood vaccinations. But she had some doubt as to whether she was making an impact.  She displayed a chart displaying the lowly results of her blogging efforts.  For more than a year, her posts limped along.  In fact, she averaged 4.5 readers a day.

And then something magical happened when she received this tweet:

Dr. Ackerman is the person who changed my mind once I read her blog and her links. I had no idea that info existed.

And it was at this point that Dr. Ackerman delivered the line at the conference that received a thunderous applause from all the hard-working bloggers in attendance:

“Yes, I only had 4.5 readers a day on my blog … but I had an impact on one of them.”

I thought this was a profound lesson on many levels.

  • “Citizen Influencers” are using the power of online publishing tools to make a difference in unexpected ways
  • You never know when your words are making an impact
  • Tenacity, commitment, and patience make the difference in social media success

I think this is an inspiring message for any blogger out there. What do you think? Are you making a difference in big and small ways?

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