Blogging & the Silent Audience

Don’t get anxious about zero response to blogs & social media posts, not everyone sh*ts out likes & smilies like there’s no tomorrow.

If you read many blogs about blogging, you will often hear the importance of interacting with the audience. To build a following you should be open & friendly, curious about looking at other blogs & actively engaging with them – throw them a cyber-like, join in the conversation etc.. This is true, to some extent. It’s manners. You should take an interest, if you walked up to a group of people & just talked about yourself, showing no interest in what they had to say, you wouldn’t be too popular. (In fact I know two people in the real world who actually do this, they would both make terrible bloggers. They are self-centred children trapped in adult bodies, unable to fathom that the world is not designed precisely for them. I digress.)

However. Alongside these chatty cyber-smilies (and dry-humoured bees like me with too many opinions) the silent audience is really very important indeed. These are the viewers who will never give you a cyber-like nor comment on your posts, they may never follow you even if they visit often. But thanks to blog dashboards we know they exist & out-number the talkies in great numbers.

I have visited many blogs with a very ‘visible’ audience & I’ve visited many much better blogs without. Going back to my post on Overkill, there are plenty out there on blogs & social media who all pat each other on the back & make each other look popular. Many self-pubbers are particularly prone to this. They have thousands of followers on Twitter, but it’s mostly just sycophantic.

I’m not just bashing a selection of my blogging peers here. The point I’m making is – don’t fret about a low response rate. Social media (which is basically micro-blogging) & blogging can produce unnecessary anxiety in the author – particularly when you’re trying to promote your creative work. If you have no response it can feel like nobody is listening & nobody is bothered. This can produce a dangerous feeling of apathy which can spread to the actual lovely creative stuff you do.

There are many weird reasons for non-response even among those that often do (I’m usually fairly liberal with the ol’ thumbs up), here’s some I will admit to.

  • It feels like the wrong response because the post is too intelligent – this goes particularly for more academic or socio-political posts.
  • It was posted a while ago – I’m mega guilty of this on Facebook & I’m not the only one, if it was posted a day or so ago, I feel I’ve missed the conversation.
  • A bunch of people have already responded.
  • I don’t know the person very well (this goes for Facebook which I mostly use for fleshy friends, for some reason on Twitter & WordPress I feel more free to interact with strangers.)
  • I’ve liked that person’s posts recently & don’t want to seem like a cyber-stalker. I actually am a creative cyber stalker, I’m naturally curious if I have the time.
  • The post has inspired me to do something creative or research something further tossing the internet aside in a flurry of passion.

The most popular post on this blog, which gets into the ‘most-read’ week after week has no likes & no comments, but has been widely shared. There is much on the internet which is interesting but sadly forgettable as the next distraction occurs. The silent audience is less consumed by the rabbit hole & so more discerning. I believe they’re more likely to recommend something to friends & peers in the real world, and the most important word-of-mouth involves tongues & voice-boxes.

Have patience & keep at it. This is a magical free way to communicate with the general public, meaningful blog traffic (those that read fully & absorb) takes months or years to develop.


Note: All ‘likes’ for this blog will be gratefully accepted, but I won’t lose sleep if I get nowt.

2 thoughts on “Blogging & the Silent Audience

  1. As someone who has recently decided to take a particular kind of blogging/blog seriously and is currently fretting about how i can reach people, this helped calm my nerves. Thank you!

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