Sunday, July 22, 2007

Doing Ourselves a Disservice

Today’s post was inspired by a couple of things. The first is my podcast, the second is MC Etcher’s statement that he wasn’t going to write a review of the new Harry Potter book because ‘there are already tons of them out there already’.

Basically, I started to wonder if we are doing ourselves a disservice by the way we look at our blogs.

When I started blogging (over two years ago now, can ya believe it?), I thought the way blogging would work is this: I’d write, people would discover my blog, read it…and I’d get myself a nice little audience.

The one major difference in the way it actually turned out is I expected a somewhat anonymous audience. Instead I discovered that the blogging community was indeed just that, a community.

People who read blogs tend to write them as well, and it stands to reason that if you’re interested in someone’s blog, you have the same sorts of interests. It’s weird, now that I think about it, because each blog I read regularly kinda represents a facet of my personality.

OzzyC is my cynical, straight talking ‘accept no bullshit’ side. Kato over at WITFITS is my geeky technophile side and MC Etcher at Etch-a-sketch attention span is my slightly skewed sense of humor.

I suppose my point is that bloggers (in most cases) don’t have a traditional writer-audience relationship. Instead, we tend to form relatively small, and dare I say it, intimate circles.

This is the part where I think we do ourselves a disservice.

I feel like I know my fellow bloggers. It’s really hard to read and comment on someone’s blog on a daily basis without ‘getting to know’ that person on some level, For example, I’ll see a news report on TV and just know that one particular blogger is going to have an absolute field day with it…but just because you know how someone thinks, doesn’t mean you actually know them.

It’s kinda a strange twilight zone. We know each other but don’t…at the same time.

Anyway, back when I started my podcast and advertised it here, the first two episodes had an audience in the single digits. Here’s what I found myself thinking:

“Well, one of those downloads was me checking everything worked. One was Sunny when she came in from work. Ozzy and Mike commented on it, so I know two of those other downloads were them…that’s four out of six…which means I only actually got two real hits.”

That’s the disservice part. We stop counting our regular readers as part of our ‘real’ audience because we ‘know’ them. It’s just like if you know a friend or relative regularly reads your blog, you feel that they ‘don’t count’ because you know them.

However, at one point, all those regulars that you feel you know started out as just another random reader or listener. They count as ‘real’ hits whatever way you look at it.

The second thing is that this works both ways, and where Etcher declining to write a Harry Potter review comes in.

Every morning when I get up, the first thing I do when I sit down at the computer is click my blogs bookmarks folder and open all in tabs. I look forward to reading them just as much as I look forward to seeing a TV show or my other favorite websites.

My point is, and this is directed at MC Etcher…I don’t really want to know what some random dude on the internet thinks about the new HP book. I want to know what MC Etcher thinks about it.

In the same way that if movie critics completely and totally pan a movie, but my friends say it’s awesome…I’m going to go and see it anyway.

So, long story short…write a bloody review, Etcher!


MC Etcher said...


Chief Slacker said...

My usual disservice to myself is writing without thinking about who's actually reading.

Just like in small towns, even in the blog community word will travel. Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes... well yeah.