Anonymity in Blogging

I had been considering whether to start up a personal newsletter. I subscribe to friends’ letters, in which they describe the various goings on in their life—family, house projects, travel, etc. As an email, it feels more intimate.

Couldn’t what I say in an email also be said on the blog? Which led me to consider a number of things…

With social media, we can see who follows us. Sure, there’s no guarantee our posts will make their way into their algorithm. Maybe they’re not online this week. Yet, we can see their names and know that they have a likelihood of seeing them.

A newsletter is quite similar. There’s a subscriber list and we can see every name that’s on it. Sure, they can be busy and archive it without reading it. The email can get caught in a spam filter. Yet, people want to fill their already busy inboxes with what you have to say and are likely to read it.

For anything impersonal, like brand marketing, promotions, or sales, it makes sense and is highly advantageous to know who your audience is. When I sold a book, it was useful to be able to market to those who bought the book to buy the workshop. It was useful to market to those to come to a conference.

Blogging feels detached from the audience. I can write knowing that nobody or anybody might be reading it. I can write for me and hope the words resonate. And having taken analytics off, I have absolutely no idea if anything resonates. It’s like putting artwork up in a museum. Each person gets to enjoy it in their own time and in their own way and the artist is likely never to know. Unless you say something to me, I have no idea if you’ve read these very words. [People would approach me at conferences and mention something going on in my life and I would briefly think, “How do you know about that?!” Only to remember that I had written about it publicly.]

What’s likely evident based on the mere title of this post is the conclusion that blogging is to an anonymous audience. I can guess who my audience is but I will never truly know. Not only will I not know who my audience is when I initially post, I won’t know who my audience might be at some point down the road.

I might still start up a newsletter but in the meantime and until then, I’m enjoying the process of writing to an unknown audience.

Published March 31, 2024
Categorized as Writing
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