Let’s examine a hypothetical situation, shall we? Let’s suppose you are a blogger and you have a pleasant, widely read blog about your life – your family, things you do, places you go, local interest stuff.
Okay? Now let’s suppose that one day someone decides to write an article about bloggers and your blog is one of the several discussed in this article. You only find out about this article by accident as it’s not in a widely-read publication. You read the article and find the author has made some devastatingly unflattering assumptions about you and your family based on what he has read in your blog.
Questions to consider:
- Are you flattered that your blog was included no matter how nasty or reductive the author was about you?
- Are you angry that you weren’t consulted about being included in this article or that the author did not seek your permission to include your blog?
- Would you feel violated in some way?
- Would it change the way you viewed your blog or what you did with it in the future?
- Would you contact the author and what would you say to him?
Some of you may recognize that this hypothetical situation is based on something that actually happened recently and will notice that I deliberately changed some of the circumstances and have not named the blog or the author/article in question. I didn’t want to make this about that situation specifically, but rather about situations like this, generally.
Over time, blogger become accustomed to their small (or large) circle of commenters who we think of as our “readers”. They are nice, normal, intelligent people (for the most part) and make us feel comfortable and make us feel like we’re part of a safe, supportive community.
But that’s not reality. The reality is that many, many more people read your blog than actually comment on it. You’ll know this, of course, if you have a stats counter.
You have no idea who these people are, why they’re reading your blog or how they even found your blog. You may never know what they’re doing with the information, ideas, photos or words they find on your blog. Maybe they’re doing something good with it. Maybe they’re doing nothing at all with it. Maybe they’re doing something not good with it.
Do you think about all these lurkers, these silent strangers, who every day become privy to the bits and pieces of your life?