Dissing your audience

One of my pet peeves of blog reading – or more accurately RSS-reading since 90 percent of my blog reading is actually done on my Google Reader – is when people who have low traffic blogs diss their audiences by saying something like, “To all two people who read this blog” or “to the two people who aren’t my mom reading this” or “to nobody because nobody is reading.”

When I read comments like this I immediately feel dissed and put off. I don’t like being considered part of the only. To me, it’s like saying “I had this really awesome thing to say but only Matt Ralph showed up so it must really not be so awesome.”

I used to see it happen all the time in the non-digital world too back when I went to see a lot of bands play really small shows. The band would be upset because there weren’t a lot of people at the show so the guy or gal with access to the microphone would say something like “where is everybody?” or “since there aren’t many people here we’re just going to play a few songs.” What bands or performers who say this are essentially communicating is: “You in the audience who showed up, I care more about the people who didn’t show up than I do about you” and “You mean nothing to me because you didn’t bring enough friends with you to pack this place.” Forget that I paid money for your music, paid a cover charge and was planning on maybe even buying one of your T-shirts.

The reality of the situation, whether it’s in the hard knock world of trying to make it as a performer or in the digital world where it’s easy to pay more attention to page views and analytics than to the individuals who make up your audience large or small is that the ones who show up probably don’t need or want to be lectured. And if you do, they might not want to come back.

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