Tuesday, February 20, 2007

your mentalized blog audience

Here is "To Whom Do You Blog?--Part 2".

[EDIT UPDATE: Also see Chip Camden's Jazz Writing post: blogging is jazz writing, writing that is similar to improvisation that is found in jazz music. Excellant metaphor for the art of blogging!]

I think we have a barely conscious "mentalized" blog audience as we craft each new post to our blogs. It's a good idea to ask ourselves what that internalized, conjectured, hypothetical blog audience is.

I don't think anyone blogs blindly, with no readership in mind, as they write. It's possible, as in paper diaries, but not likely. But even in paper journals, is there not some imagined reader, if only a Future Self?

As I ponder this more, amazed at how it's not a superficial question and is not easily answered, I find that I mainly, or usually, blog for a semi-fictional persona, a composite person labeled "my client".

I think: "What can I share with my client today? What do I know or believe, that might help that client succeed in business or in his or her own blog?" That client may be advanced in computing skills, or the client may be new to the digital realm or to blogging. But I feel like a teacher a little bit. Or a consultant who is casually sharing some good information, that I hope will help.

But I always hope for two-way conversation, not me being a mainstream media Know-It-All, proclaiming eternal wisdom from some exalted metaphysical sphere. In some ways, the comments are far more interesting and important than the post itself. The post is merely an ice breaker, a conversation starter.

I usually feel like I'm exploring a topic or event or principle with an ally, and we are seeking truth together.

But it's not illusory or totally imaginary. I think certain specific persons float through my mind and heart as I write a blog post.

It's a shifting persona. One sentence of a post seems directed to Liz, another sentence is directed to Jim Estill of Synnex, another sentence seems more pointed at maybe, oh, Paul Woodhouse (thinking: "he'll get a good laugh out of this description"), and so on.

Often, when I am responding to another blogger, say Dave Taylor or Robert Scoble, I have one exact person in mind, as I reinforce or rebut (is that a word? it is now...) their position.

So I think the blog audience is not necessarily a fixed entity, but swirls and shifts and fluctuates, sometimes post by post, or even sentence by sentence.

Yet it also, in my case anyway, is more often my text responding to someone else's text, it is text interacting with text, and not necessarily personalized.

Like if a MSM journalist makes a claim: "blogs, wikis, podcasts, and social media networking are assaulting our culture, economy, and values through the invasion of the amateur".

Then text pours forth from me defending the rise of Individual Voice against entrenched Domination Systems.

Though I may feel anger or passion, they are not the real source of my post, it's more the text itself, in my head, coming through my fingers into the keyboard and onto the post template.


Lisa Gates said...


Consider yourself in possession of the magic wiki-meme wand. I posted today asking readers and bloggers a few questions.

Their answers will no doubt alter what I write about.

Are you game?


Steven Brent said...

You're part of a larger community of people offering their intelligence as a Service, and as such you seem to have a pretty darn good idea of who you're writing for, even if that changes from word to word! It's kind of hard to gather up a mental audience with other kinds of material though, stuff of a more introspective stripe.

And that's the thing that always makes me second-guessy and self-deprecating in regards to my emptydrum.com posts: the "who the hell is really interested in this anyway!?" question. I've decided to skirt the problem by (incessantly) telling my family members to read it; then I can pretend I'm posting for them!