Gawd, all these great discussions from last weekend continued right over there on the WoolfCamp blog! This is great!! Now I don't even feel so bad that I missed out on a few conversations, because I still get to hear what went on, and can add my twelve cents (I always have more than two).
I think quite a lot about who my audience is and how it changes what I write and what I leave off.
I write openly under my own name, and there is no other Elke Sisco anywhere in sight on the interwebs, so I am easily enough googled by friends and exes and employers. So I try not to be a different person on my blog than I am in "meatspace", although I am very clear about the fact that my blog is just a smallish part of me. In the discussion we had at WoolfCamp, I said that one of my rules for blogging is that I won't blog anything that I wouldn't say out loud in a crowded marketplace where I don't know who overhears me. I don't know who overhears my blog, and unlike the marketplace, it is not fleeting. Once it is on the net, there it stays, courtesy of the Wayback Machine and other divine/devilish tools.
Later, it occurred to me that although my marketplace rule still holds true, there are more things now I would say openly - my repertoire is expanding. I am much less concerned about what people think of me, because I assume they have already seen me, warts and all, heard me swear, seen me on a bad day - it feels to me as though living my life in the semi-public space on the web has made me a more ... what's the right word .. cohesive person.
Now, what was I saying?
Oh yes ... audience. Of course I don't know who my audience is, because anyone can find my blog. And since I use song lyrics for entry titles, I get a lot of hits from lyrics searches.
But who do I write for? Sometimes I think that I write for myself (because I try not to skew my writing for an audience; if you don't like my blog, don't read it), but that is not really true. I started blogging on Blogger's blogspot, when comments were still an add-on that you had to install, and I remember I was quite reluctant to add them. I was worried about being flamed and spammed, and I didn't really want to know other people's opinions about my thoughts and feelings. Now I wouldn't want to miss the dialogue any more. Being able to interact with others on my blog, and with other bloggers on theirs, rather than just speaking into silence and listening quietly elsewhere, is one of the reasons that keep me here.
And so Liz hits it on the head when she opines:
We were the missing audience in our discussion. We read each other, and blog for each other. We blog for the people whose blogs we admire, for the people who inspire us. When we start paying attention to each other, and blogging for each other, we become a literary movement and a powerful force. We don't write just for each other, but we write knowing that particular other writers are looking.
I think it's true ... and I have become part of that group like I have any other in my life: by starting out on the sidelines, playing contentedly by myself, but paying attention to the others around me, and open to interaction with them, making connections along the way.