I love sports analogies. Once I even compared blogging to baseball. If blogging is a game, I think of my readers as fitting into one of two buckets: players or spectators.
As in any game, the players are more visible. Noticed more.
We remember them more. Why? Because the players on your blog are the readers who join in the conversation. The ones who talk to you—and the rest of the community. The ones you know by name.
But just as important are the spectators. They are the ones Havi Brooks of The Fluent Self blog calls “comment mice.” They read. They may hang around and consume lots of content. Sometimes they become your biggest fans. But they are your silent supporters.
And yet spectators are a crucial part of your blog. Because without them, the stadium would be empty. Without them, you wouldn’t be pleasantly surprised at the moment you least expect it.
Blog Like Nobody is Watching—and Everybody Is
The Boston Globe reporter who read my blog and asked me for an interview was a spectator. The agent who read my blog and became familiar enough with my writing to put me on her Blog Roll was a spectator. The Emmy-winning journalist who invited me to explore an exciting collaboration with her was a spectator.
These are busy people. They are consumers of content. The fact that they don’t comment does not mean that they aren’t paying attention.
My point is this:
Blog like nobody is watching—and everybody is.
In this day of fragmented, scattered social media venues, it can feel like the readers are gone. They are not gone. They just may be hanging out in other places.
We need to start thinking about the consumers of our content in different ways. For instance, share numbers on our blog posts may be much more meaningful than our comment numbers. I’d rather have 100 tweets of my blog post than 100 comments on my site because that means that, exponentially, my content is getting seen by tons more people.
What about you?
Are you disappointed when a post you were proud of gets very few comments?
Do you have many more spectators than players at your blog?
Do you have other ways of knowing that your posts are being read and shared? Or does it not matter to you?