The Acton PowerBlog, the most popular feature of Acton’s growing web presence, marked its fifth year of faith-and-policy punditry in April. Written by a diverse group of scholars, writers, clergy, and businesspeople, the blog is a forum for a wide variety of social and economic topics. To date, Acton bloggers have published almost 3,000 posts and readers – who provide their own invaluable insights – have logged about 5,500 comments to these posts.
The PowerBlog has been an essential communications tool for promoting Acton ideas, scholars, publications, events, and Acton’s writers and thinkers to news organizations and the reporters and editors looking for expert commentary. When big news breaks, the Acton blogging crew is all over the story. For example, the traffic at the PowerBlog exploded during last year’s release of Pope Benedict XVI’s first social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. It was an excellent testament to the fact that many professional commentators and individuals realize that the Acton Institute is a premiere location to find solid analysis on the encyclical.
While the blog has a primarily English-speaking audience, it is also popular with readers whose primary language is German, Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, and various dialects of Chinese. Ranked in order of importance, the most popular nations of origin for blog readership are the United States, Canada, the U.K., Australia, the Philippines, India, Italy, Germany, France, and Spain.
The growth of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter has allowed for the content on the PowerBlog—which is linked into these sites—to be read and disseminated far beyond previous capabilities. The Acton web presence on social media sites pulls in new readers who might not be exposed to the work of the institute. Today, Acton Institute has 1,950 fans on its Facebook page and 900 followers on Twitter. Individuals can readily stay connected to content from the PowerBlog through these sites. What’s more, PowerBlog posts will be linked or republished frequently on other blogs and websites.
Acton has been widely praised for its use of new media capabilities. The qual- ity of the content generated is the key to Acton’s success. The strong content is a testament to the research and work provided by staff and scholars as well as the power and relevancy of the ideas.
Kris Alan Mauren