Reply to Bill Ferriter on Audience

Replied to Audience Doesn’t Matter by Bill Ferriter (

Audience is a function of the content that you create, the consistency of your creation patterns, the length of time that you’ve been creating, the opportunities that you have to be in front of audiences in the real world, the relationships that you have with people who have audiences larger than you do — and, as frustrating as it may seem, serendipity.

Great reflection Bill. I think that it is easy to be distracted by clicks and likes. I remember when I first started blogging, I thought that I was going to get inundated. The shock was that I almost had to beg for my first comment. I think that in part the Blogger user interface encourages a focus on statistics. I find that the fact you have make a choice to setup Jetpack means that at the very least users are more mindful of the impact and choice. When I moved to WordPress I also made the decision to stop checking the stats. I think that I have only randomly checked Jetpack a handful of time in the last few years.

In regards to “hits’ and ‘likes’, you might enjoy reading this post from danah boyd (although I assume that you have probably stumbled upon it before). She provides a different perspective on data and numbers:

Stats have this terrible way of turning you — or, at least, me — into a zombie. I know that they don’t say anything. I know that huge chunks of my Twitter followers are bots, that I could’ve bought my way to a higher Amazon ranking, that my Medium stats say nothing about the quality of my work, and that I should not treat any number out there as a mechanism for self-evaluation of my worth as a human being.

The only thing that I am unsure about is that by my nature of ‘responding’ I often have someone in mind associated with my writing and reflection, is this though a different sort of ‘audience’?


15 responses on “Reply to Bill Ferriter on Audience”

  1. Hey Pal,

    I really dig the danah boyd bit. I hadn’t seen it before.

    But I think she’s right: Numbers say nothing about the quality of our work, but we often internalize it that way, that’s for sure. Because we expect numbers — and see other people getting numbers — we question ourselves if we don’t get numbers. That’s discouraging and destructive.

    Which has me thinking about all of the people who have kids blogging and posting to social spaces. I wonder how they are teaching kids to better balance their self perceptions with “the numbers” they are receiving.

    If that’s not a conversation happening in classrooms where posting to online spaces is the norm rather than the exception to the rule, aren’t we harming our students?


    1. Sorry Bill,

      I am not sure what happened, but I forgot to reply.

      I could not agree more with your point. What we teach is so important, as much for the adults as it is for the children.

      I really like this quote from Tarleton Gillespie:

      If video makers are rewarded based on the number of views, whether that reward is financial or just reputational, it stands to reason that some videomakers will look for ways to increase those numbers, including going bigger. But it is not clear that metrics of popularity necessarily or only lead to being over more outrageous, and there’s nothing about this tactic that is unique to social media. Media scholars have long noted that being outrageous is one tactic producers use to cut through the clutter and grab viewers, whether its blaring newspaper headlines, trashy daytime talk shows, or sexualized pop star performances. That is hardly unique to YouTube. And YouTube videomakers are pursuing a number of strategies to seek popularity and the rewards therein, outrageousness being just one. Many more seem to depend on repetition, building a sense of community or following, interacting with individual subscribers, and the attempt to be first.

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