Sunday, August 12, 2007

voices in the dark

Often on my blog I have begun with or included the phrase "and this got me thinking". I am always delighted when something unexpected comes along and I find myself exploring an issue from a new angle or thinking about a new issue altogether.

Recently the idea of assumptions came up. Twice, recently, I have made incorrect assumptions about people I've met online: the first was that an individual was male (I tend to relate with and converse more easily with men), and the second was that another individual was my age (what in the world is a respectable older person doing reading my blog????) ;-)

This got me thinking (see there I go again) about who my target audience is.

I worked in radio sales selling radio ads for awhile and had been exposed to massive amounts of sales literature prior to that. I knew all about target audience and key age ranges for sales and marketing (the 18-24 age range is huge). But I've never before thought about that in conjunction with my blog- who my target audience is, how that effects what I write, and how the imagined audience effects my assumptions about who comments on my blog.

When I sit down in front of my laptop, and open up the New Post window...who am I writing for? Who am I talking to? Have I ever consciously thought about who my imagined audience of my blog is?

No, I guess I haven't consciously thought of that answer. Then the question becomes, who am I subconsciously writing to?

Am I writing to the person who has read my blog the longest (BigTex), to friends I have made along the way (Ginny, Poodles, Gramomster), to hot studly Aussies who like what I write (you know who you are), to people who share my philosophical ideas (Richard, JohnGalt666), to the people who disagree with me but continue to read in spite of our differences :-) (Janice, reg golb). I know there are other people who poke in from time to time (King Aardvark, Tommy) and others that stopped in once or twice and that I have no idea if they have ever come back (XO, Reed, Jacob, Stinkbait Boucher and more). I also know there is at least one lurker who has never commented (*waves hello*).

My blog would not be the same without any of these people.

If you didn't show up and read it and comment on my blog, then it is a soliloquy heard by no one. A tree in the forest that falls alone, whether or not it made a sound, would be irrelevant because no one was there to note its passing.

I write because there are thoughts in my mind that I want to formalize. Thoughts that burn within me crying out for a voice lest they fade into nothingness and vanish. If my thoughts fade away, what am I left with? Thoughts unshared are wisps of fog that vanish with the dawn.

Through writing I can reveal more about myself then is possible in a spoken conversation, which, if left to rattle on this long uninterrupted, would be hideously boring for the listener.

But a reader can skip ahead to the punch line, or jump back and re-read for clarity. And the commenter can add their own thoughts on the subject, call the person on errors, ask questions, provide answers, etc...

I think...that when I write my blog... that I write to capture snapshots of myself and share them with others.

And thanks for reading :-D


Poodles Rule said...

One of the fun things about the Sitemeter program is that you can see sometimes how people end up at your blog. What they typed into google or any other search engine that brought them there.

On my personal blog (not the atheist one) the most frequent search that leads to my blog...wait for it, it's really good... "Man-O-Lantern." Seriously, a post I made about seeing the 40 year old virgin several years ago is still my biggest draw.

Attila The Mom said...

I really enjoy your blog. :-)

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...


Your post has got me thinking ; )

I will return with a longer post when I have taken my thoughts to their furthest extreme (hat tip to Richard)

Tommy said...

I don't really think of myself as having a target demographic.

Generally, I see my blog as (1) a place of interest to fellow atheists, and (2) a place for theists to see for themselves how someone can make a rational and intelligent conclusion that the God of the Bible does not exist.

Interestingly, a good chunk of the hits to my blog result from people googline Santhosh Paul, an Indian-American man here on Long Island who was arrested for trying to hire a hitman to kill his wife but the wife refused to believe it was true.

I am also pleased to see that a number of Malaysians are visitign my blog after googling "Malaysia Sucks" thanks to the several posts I did about how the government discriminates against Malaysians who seek to officially change their religious identity from Islam to another faith.

Fiery said...


You are eerily perceptive. How did you know that it was Richard who got me thinking this time? I don't recall mentioning him by name.

Plus- don't keep me waiting to long on the longer post either.....

I'm with Inigo Montoya on this one..."I hate waiting".

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Beware the six fingered man. The hat tip was actually me stiring Richard about his post on longer responses, but I'll claim I have supernatural powers instead.

Look into my eyes, my eyes, not around the eyes...(Kenny Craig)

Fiery said...


Yeah, I figured I'd fucked the translation on what you'd said about 15 minutes after writing it while trying to get back to sleep. My mind wouldn't let it go and then I figured out why. I was planning on deleting it when I woke up this morning hoping no one would notice.

Just me assuming wrong again.

So do I come across looking naive or stupid?

Richard said...

Writing one's thoughts requires more careful use of words, which invites clearer thinking and brings better conclusions. That is a legitimate accomplishment and is its own reward, regardless of whether it is read by others or not.

Years ago I could not wrap my head around the moral and legal issues associated with abortion. (Let's NOT discuss abortion unless Fiery chooses to) I sat down at my IBM 8086 and started writing out points as they came to me. When I took the dog on his walk I'd ask myself about what each point implied and where it came from (I was grasping context). Then, I set about turning my carefully considered points into a tight two page essay. At six pages, I realized how much I had added to my understanding by trying to explain those points clearly. Wow. Then I realized that I had not thought of the role of the father! More points!

A few days later I tacked on the father bit, and then printed it out and highlighted what counted. Then I got it to a rather packed two pages. My points were all there but often I was counting on all a word pointed to, and not just the definition.

What that exercise taught me about abortion has enabled me to clearly agree with, or reject (by seeing what context is dropped or violated), every argument on the topic I have seen or heard since.

Words 'hold' our concepts, and if we keep our definitions clear, our thinking well be better. Though the definition identifies the most essential features of the concept the definition is not enough.

E.g. the definition of Man, as "the rational animal", does not mention upright posture, opposable thumbs, the appendix, plantigrade feet, watches, books, cooking or computers. "animal" covers the first four details, and "rational" covers the last four. Yet observe the incredible range of facts and ideas in "cooking" alone. They all apply to Man! Are we cooking a loaf of bread? That flour came to via combine harvester, and before that a farmer's seed drill. What did the seed cost the farmer? He had to consider the "economics" of wheat verses, say, oats. On and on the connections grow.

When we read we are shown such connections. When we write, we explore them for ourselves, and we are more careful to examine parts that don't quite make sense to us. Writing is more active than reading.

Writing helps us structure our own ideas more and more properly (provided we are honest about what we do and don't know). It is often said that one can learn more by teaching a subject than by learning it on our own or from someone else. Writing serves a similar function and if we are sufficiently thoughtful in what we write, rather than simply parroting (common to many blogs) then it is rewarding indeed.

Fiery likes to think things through, and writing rewards her with the concrete expression of her thoughts. Writing to a blog offers more. Visitors point out contradictions, bring new connections and new facts. One site I visit names the point nicely: "Noodlefood". Man, the rational animal, does not live by bread alone.

Blogging just to be social, or to stroke one's ego over how many visitors one gets, or to rant like an intellectual vandal, is comparable to printing a cheap tabloid. But I imagine even those bloggers experience intellectual gain.

Fiery readily moves from the concrete (Demo-Derbys) to the abstract (why write), and is interested in doing so. That makes her all the more interesting

Richard said...

Darn, that was way longer than I meant it to be. Too many connections :-)

Xavier Onassis said...

I drop in on an almost daily basis and enjoy it very much.

So apparently part of your target audience includes, white, 50+ year old, godless, baby-eatin' satanists.

Fiery said...

XO you are flat out good for my ego.

I had no idea you stopped in so often.

Thanks for poppin' up to say hi!

It's good for the next generation of baby-eaters to learn from the previous generation.

BigTex71 said...

[ass-kissing mode:on]Yet another post that shows how well you can write and 'play' with a subject. I really enjoy your writings and hope I can one day get close to the great prose that you and Tommy throw out there on your respective blogs. :)
[ass-kissing mode:off]

Fiery said...

Atilla the Mom- :-D Thank you!!!!!
I'm flattered you enjoy it.

BigTex, ya might as well leave the ass kissing mode on my "ego" needs the attention. :-)

*hugs* thanks for stopping in BigTex always nice to see you again.

Telmeimrong said...

While our musings are important to write down, I feel the more important aspect in the blog is connectedness. Our internet world is a very isolated one. Most humans, admitted or not, need interaction, fellowship, and affirmation. Unfortunately, the blog offers very little of these in a meaningful way. But it is better that nothing.