Did you read the blog yesterday? Our blog statistics showed that there were a number of you who clicked the link and read it, which I appreciate tremendously. We also received a number of comments on Twitter, which we were grateful for. On Facebook, it appeared to be a pretty popular post as it reached over 900 people, had over 20 people like it and over 20 comments. Some of these comments had to do with the premise of the blog, which was that as much as any fan thinks s/he knows the personality of the band members, s/he does not. It takes a lot more than reading/watching interviews, a ten minute meet and greet experience or even a few lengthy conversations. I explained by giving an example from my own life and how my colleagues don’t really know all of me despite working side-by-side in an intense job for a year and a half together. Other comments, though, focused on the first line of the blog, “How long have you been a fan?” Those responses included either the year that they became fans or how many years since they first became Duranies. Others wanted to share their meet and greet stories to explain how the band member(s) in question were or were not like what they thought they would be.
I have to be honest here. I was disheartened that it seemed so many only read the first sentence as opposed to clicking on the link on reading the entire 800 words. While it is true that Rhonda and I write for ourselves, it is also true that we have hopes that others will read what we write. I welcome the dialogue, the discussion in hopes of getting a greater understanding of myself, others, fandom, etc. Yet, that dialogue can only happen when people read it. Writing the blog is a commitment that I take seriously. I ensure that it is included in my list of things to do. My schedule is pretty full (which is probably an understatement since teaching requires about 60-70 hours of work a week and Rhonda and I are starting on a new book project.) It means that I will sacrifice working on those tasks as well as some of the basic necessities of life like relaxing and/or sleep. Thus, it hurt a little when people chose not to read the entire blog yesterday. Yet, as with so many other things, I learned from the experience.
First, I learned a little bit about writing yesterday. While the first sentence was definitely a hook that got people’s attention, it was always too good of a hook. I didn’t provide enough of an enticement to keep reading, I guess. People didn’t have a reason to go beyond what they saw in the little blurb. Thus, I learned a little about how to write better for my specific task of this blog. It is funny because I always teach my students that it is important to take my audience into consideration when writing. For example, my students just finished an assignment in which they were activists trying to convince the American public to do something for a specific cause during the Progressive Era (women’s suffrage, civil rights for African-Americans, working conditions, etc.) That writing is different than the essay they will write later in the month on U.S. Imperialism in the 1890s. Therefore, their writing must be different based on the task. I need to always remember that, too.
The second thing I learned has to do with our fandom. It was clear by the number of responses just how many fans REALLY want to talk about their fandom story and their stories of when they met the band. All they needed was a very simple question to just start talking. This leads me to wonder what Rhonda and I could do to allow more of this needed conversation to happen. Right now, we have the following means:
- Guest blogs in which people could share their stories of when and why they became fans
- Guest blogs in which people could share their meet and greet stories
- Our message board which could include discussion on both fan histories and meet and greet stories
What else should or could we do? I just wonder if people had the opportunity to talk about their own experiences, perhaps, they would be more willing to look at what Rhonda and I are saying with our blogs. Of course, it is possible that people still would not want to go beyond the opening snippets of our blogs for whatever reason. Perhaps, it is the teacher in me that wonders if there isn’t a better way to reach fans. What do you think?