We do measure the success of any creative work by the response it elicits from an audience/readership. But are all successful works produced to win applause from the public? Is it possible for a creative artist to immerse himself in his work without worrying about the reaction of an audience?
Imagine what it would be like for a trained dancer to perform to an empty auditorium. Would you care to perform or paint if no one was ever there to appreciate what you were doing? Can there be any satisfaction in that at all?
On the other hand, can an artist compromise his art to find favour with an audience? Can an artist, if he were not worrying about his survival, be happy to take his audience as his master, pander to its taste and alter his own accordingly?
Admittedly, I love to keep a count of comments on blog posts. I write for the reader even while I write for myself. While I never, with a capital N, write what I don’t want to, I do often write what I think others might like to read. And since I’m easily bored, I like variety to spice up my blog. Which is why:
#I do photo posts and since I love photography, those posts are after my heart.
#I try to keep posts a readable length because I’m not too good at reading unwieldy word counts and because I’m used to writing within given word limits as a journo.
#I do tags – because they break the monotony of things.
#I try to intersperse the posts on feminist issues with posts on non-feminist issues so that there isn’t too much of the same thing on my blog.
These things come naturally to me and I never feel like I’m trying to please an audience. And I can never be sure whether any of those things does please my audience. I’m also aware that a lot of bloggers who do not take into consideration any of this have huge readerships as well. So, at the end of the day, it may really be about me and not about my readers at all!
Coming to BRPs, is that something you care for? Does it matter where your blog stands vis-à-vis others’? If I know anything about blogging, I know for sure that almost all bloggers subscribe to some or the other service to keep a track of visitors on their blog – the number and the names. So I presume BRPs do matter to almost all of us. But how far are you willing to go to shoot up your blog’s viewership? And where will you stop?
There’s the extreme example of this blogger who had a very popular blog going for her by just cooking up a really dramatic story about her fake pregnancy. And of course, we all know of bloggers who exaggerate things on their blogs to make things sound interesting. The latter may be overlooked, but I’ll still use that to make my point about how the reader is oh-so-important that the blogger manipulates facts to keep the reader interested.
And I ask again, who do you blog for – the reader or yourself? How do you choose the topic for a blog post? When you try to strike a balance between the reader and you, which side is the balance more likely to tilt?