Thoughts and Perspectives

Finding An Audience?

I have been trying to write this particular post for a few months now and finally reached the conclusion that I should just go ahead and write some thoughts. 

One of the roots of this article–“Finding An Audience?”–was planted while listening to one of bell hooks’s lectures on YouTube. (I’ve listened to so many, I forget which one.) In this talk, hooks commented that if her books–especially her children’s books–were promoted by the powers at be in a way parallel to the promotion of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, her books could be as popular and as influential.  

What we like, don’t like. What we know about, don’t know about. What sells, what doesn’t. All of this is highly mediated. 

Like hooks, I long for a larger audience. Hopefully, that doesn’t come across as too selfish or too arrogant. If the right person tweeted or retweeted one of my articles or linked to one of my articles, I could instantly gain hundreds or thousands of followers. Expanding one’s readership independently is difficult, and it can be expensive.

Part of the problem is that we live in an era of such anti-intellectualism and intolerance that many people are not interested in learning or having their ideas challenged. And my blog is constantly challening everyday, default thoughts. Another name for my blog could be something along the line of Transgressions. There have been many times when I publish a more controversial article than usual where I instantly loose followers and subscribers.

Sometimes, on the other hand, it feels like I am mainly preaching to the choir with my various articles. For that reason, I try to focus on unique points-of-view, my own experiences, and other things that aren’t discussed elsewhere. I have this longing to be read by more people and to engage in conversations with more people. I want my writing to make a difference, to have an impact. I love teaching and do so in the classroom and outside of the classroom. 

On a similar note, sometimes I struggle to find the words needed to express a concern or thought, especially given the pervasiveness of Trumpism right now. We need to talk and write about Trumpism, but where are the words? We also don’t want to abandon other causes. All of this makes finding an audience even more challenging and more urgent.

Another factor that makes it hard for all of us to have an audience is that there are so many wonderful articles and podcasts and videos out all the time that we can’t possibly look at everything. In this way, as bell hooks also suggests, social media sometimes functions as something of a silencing mechanism – luck and popularity and money and backing from the status quo drive who has an audience more than their ideas. 

Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda

6 replies »

  1. Pervasiveness of Trumpism is wearisome. It’s almost daily in “Zippy The Pinhead.” Has it really only been 8 weeks? I have had to shut off the Trump tap. We all had lives before the latest election. I read yesterday a Greek Sage who instructs “nothing to excess.” Great advice for me! Dr. Pegoda, I look at the blog heading (some) frequent tags, happily (subjects other than Trump). Please stay fresh as ever with your frequent tag subjects, your audience is sure to build.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What you echo here, Doc, is not uncommon among bloggers, from my vantage point. It all boils down to the reason anyone of us has a blog. That runs the gamut from some level of simple literary therapy, some are trying to communicate to the outside world because they can’t do it in real time, some, like yourself, are trying to fulfill a role of teaching and informing, still others just need a political megaphone to proclaim their inherent right to free speech, I mean, the reasons are endless. Most important, every single reason is as legitimate as the next. But here’s what I generally suggest when folks are trying to gain, not only readers and followers, but people who actually reply and comment.

    I am a business guy.. owned a couple, managed many… so I default into subscribing to the idea that having a blog is like starting a business.. your customers are the readers and commenters, and like a real business, you want the return customers… and that’s the tricky part. The product you are trying to sell is yourself and what you want to say… which can be two entirely different things. I mean, what you say subject-wise may make sense to some folks and hold their attention for a post or two, but the way you say it lacks the persona some folks might find of value in an on-going way.
    But you might start in doing what you’ve expressed… establish the goal.. which for you is to educate and inform. Then try and figure out the typical target demographic for your subject. From there, visit those similar blog sites yourself and begin to leave replies all over the place. Some folks may like your replies and become curious and go to your blog. Once they are there it’s then up to you to keep them there. BUT.. and this is a big BUT… we all do this as blog readers… we are a finicky bunch. One or two posts may hold our attention but then we tend to get “bored” and move on to new blog sites. You have to accept this as the lay of the land. Plus, not everything any of us posts is a pearl of wisdom that should be inscribed in granite for future generations. I guess I am saying a lot of blogging is simple attitude in understanding this medium for what it is.

    Doc, I’ve been to blogs where you see the number of followers is like 2,000+, yet when you read the posts there’s only a few comments. I mean, in business you are lucky getting a 3%-5% response rate. With that many followers you might expect 60-100 replies for a given post. I barely see 5 to 10.
    All I might suggest is just be yourself in posting what interests you, visit other sites that have similar interests, and post there to make yourself known. My first blog, which I’ve recently let hibernate, was all about being a baby boomer and general life events. Then Trump won and now my new site is dedicated to my new purpose in life as a “political blog activist” (whatever the hell that means) in pushing to get Trump either removed from office or never gets re-elected. If I get one “fly by” reader that may follow for a post or two I consider that a success. 🙂 The followers who stay.. as you said, are like preaching to the choir… but they end up being the “anchor buddies”, and it’s nice hearing from them as well.

    Maybe in the end all we can expect from this place is that it’s another place where us humans can reach out to other humans. We pass out our resumes in the hope that we might be taken seriously in what we have to say… but the fact we are humans behind a keyboard is all the resume we need.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your thoughts, my friend. I like the business metaphor – I’ll have to think about that some more. I also know I need to do much better when it comes to commenting on other blogs. It’s just hard to have time for everything! 🙂

      Like

    • Well, seems you have a decision to make… fame and fortune in the cyber world of blogging or the mundane and boring real world of inspiring young minds and planting the seeds of success for generations to come. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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