Monday, February 19, 2007

to whom do we blog?

Who do you blog to or toward? Or for? Or against?

When you write a new blog post, who is addressed? Do you have a composite persona in mind? Do you imagine an aggregation of imagined readers, based on those you know well, and those you hope will find you?

Is there a conscious target? Who is it that you hope to enlighten, engage, or enrage?

I cannot believe that you just slap some text, maybe a photo or artwork, into a post template, with total oblivion as to the intended, expected, or hoped for audience. Do you ever blog against a person or group or company or political party? Do you blog to your Future Self? Do you blog for your friends, family, boss?

Does it depend on the specific post? The general topic?

Is your blog just a mirror in which you see content that reflects the self? How does this benefit anyone else? Is your blog just a workspace that helps you improve your thinking and writing skills?

Or are you blogging to a potential romantic partner, hoping to attract a mate or spouse or "on the down low" object of gratification?

When we talk on the phone, we know to whom we're talking. Same with a letter, email, chat, speech. But what about in your blog?

I blog for many different audiences. My colleagues like Carrie Snell, CK, Paul Woodhouse, Stephan Tual, Steven Brent, Doc Searls, Krishna Bhatt, Sterling "Chip" Camden, Loren Feldman, Liz Strauss, people who comment here a lot, blogroll me, quote me, subscribe to my RSS/Atom feeds and email updates, or link to me in a blog post.

But I also blog to my Future Self, so that someday, I'll look back on past posts, and be reminded of various issues, arguments, research, opinions that I had at the time I wrote them.

I also blog for those who might navigate to this blog from some wiki or other online venue in which I work and contribute content. Or people who type in key words like "how to blog", "blogocombat", "sales pitch book", or "dangers of personal blogging" into an internet search engine.

And finally, I blog for potential clients who may need my web usability analysis or content writing or marketing skills.

To whom do you blog?


carrie said...

for me it is so much like a journal for compulsive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

when i used to keep paper journals, i wasn't really talking to someone else. it's more like sort of a catharsis of thoughts onto something solid-ish. kind of like an exercise in capturing thoughts, like one would try to remember a dream by writing it down.

it's more like a process than concern about the end result.

steven edward streight said...

You are so eloquent and thoughtful. I had completely forgotten how people interact with their diaries and journals, in a private manner.

Now a new thought: in what ways are digital journals different from paper journals?

Though you say "process, not end result", you do get comments on your blog journal entries, and you do interact, quite admirabley and diplomatically I might add, with your readers.

Still pondering...


Stephan Tual said...

Being able to answer that question would save me a few headaches.

For a while I considered opening 3 different blogs, for 3 different audiences. Then I realized I would have to open dozen of them if I wanted to really keep things on topic for each audience. I ended up blogging for all 3 on the same page. People must think I have a personality disorder or something :D

steven edward streight said...

Only 3 different nodes to your personality? You aren't anywhere near being as fragmented as you should be, friend!

But I agree that one blog is generally best.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Steven,
I blog to someone I call "that one important reader." He, I think it's usually a he, is an intelligent person who just hasn't encounter the information that I happen to be writing about.

He is someone who I would talk to over a cup of coffee in a coffee shop for a whole afternoon. :)

Humour and last laugh said...

Great question. I will try to find the answer. Hopefully I too am blogging my future self as you do.

steven edward streight said...

ME Strauss: You are a master communicator and social media adept. We would all do well to listen to you and observe your example at Successful-Blog dot com.

Humor from Katmandu, Nepal: You also are an extremely talented writer and social critic, with a deep and wondrous perspective. You certainly will treasure your archives.

I"m, on the other hand, mostly embarrassed at my older posts, though there may be two or two and a half rough gems in there somewhere, though I doubt it.

LOL...self-parody is the best defense.

Lisa Gates said...

So nice to find your site (through Liz, of course). I hope I have hit the target, but as a nascent blog I find myself tweaking as I go along. However, I always backpedal to my original idea.

So rather than tell you what it is (just in case I don't know nuthin') I wonder if we can turn your question on its head and live dangerously...What if we wiki-memed your question and got really transparent?

We here in these comments could go back to each other's blogs and answer the question from our perspective. "Who does this blog speak to? Am I invited? What questions remain unanswered? What would I love to know from this person? What is missing from this blog?"

Any takers?

Humour and last laugh said...

Thank you Steven. I liked particularly "..two or two and half rough gem...' part. self-parody has its own dignity too.
Keep well.

steven edward streight said...

Lisa: great idea. A mini-wiki on a specific topic is an interesting idea. The "Blog Audience Wiki" or something more jazzy and spiffed up, as they say.

Humor: yep. Self parody is one of the secrets of mental judo. Use the enemy's force against them by attacking yourself in a funny manner.

Laughing opponents are already converted to your friends.

I totally believe the opposite of Satanists, who proclaim total annihilation of foes.

I feel the best way to defeat the enemy is to make them your friends, not destroy them with massive retaliation.

And self-parody is one of the royal road to converting opponents into allies.

steven edward streight said...

Lisa: "tweaking as I go along in my blog" is how any real blogger should act.

If we see our blog as a done deal, it is already irrelevant.