Friday, November 11, 2005

On Audience, Redux

Someone walked by my office on Wednesday afternoon, reached down to give the dog, curled up in her usual place in the hallway just outside the door, a good scratch on the head, and asked if this was the famous brilliant yet neurotic dog, and oh, did we find a house yet? This is somebody known by me only to the eye--he works in another group on another floor, and I didn't know his name, nor had we ever had a conversation. He turned out, however, to be a manager on the Mechanical Turk project, and apparently one of the things you do if you're a manager on the Mechanical Turk project is search blogs to see what people are writing about your new product. So anyway, here was some fellow who'd figured out whom I was based on the fact that I worked peripherally on Mech Turk (which is what we cool "tech" people call it), and that I was the owner of a smart neurotic dog (who is, I might add, now utterly famous because what she does with her day is walk around the floor and wander into people's offices so that they can scratch her. Most people, apparently, have never met a dog this...personable). And, most importantly, he had read my blog.

Here in this ring of blogs we talk much meta- about what we are writing and for whom we write it, and I suppose some large portion of me hopes or imagines that I'm blogging to the masses, to people I don't know and who don't know me. A couple of weeks ago I blogged about Sam and U2 and acquired a comment from someone named Tarn, author of Matrices of Syncopation. She's at St. Mary's College, ergo a former collegue of Sam and Rebecca, and it turns out that she found me and had blogged about my blog a couple of months back (although she makes reference to me being funny, and what with our forays into intense Capitalism dragging me into glumness, I feel like I haven't written anything funny in awhile).

Anyway, it made me want more. You know, more audience. Audience is yummy. As I've said, almost the entire content of what I write is (un) secretly notes to L., or Sam & Red, or Greg, but every now and then I seem to be hitting something that worms its way into a slightly wider circle, and gives me that momentary glimpse of an idea that if I were writing slightly differently, I'd be...what? A rich and famous blogger? If I wrote about U2 or my insider view of the latest tech news all the time, I'm sure I'd find an immediate audience, but I think I'd find it pretty hard to tell my story within a context like that. And it's not at all clear what the story I'm trying to tell is, other than to write something that people want to read. Anyway, writing about U2 on the day or two after Sam and Tarn had had their transcendant experience at the D.C. show seems to me to be the closest I've come to what I'm trying to be get at. And it was kind of opportunist, and still a long way off.

By the way Mechanical Turk TPM Dude (and everyone else), we did get a house, we closed on Tuesday, I'm sitting in our new breakfast nook in our new kitchen using our new wireless broadband here at the end of a Friday night and thinking that, after all of that, it's a pretty fantastic thing.


Thom said...

Hello. I haven't much to say except that I came across your blog as one of the recently updated ones in the list provided by blogger and I very much liked it. Your writing reminds me of Italo Calvino, for whom you perhaps named your imaginary Q and A friend. I haven't laughed like this in a long time, and not to belittle your musings, but they are quite amusing. Kudos. Anyhow, just some simple praise from a traveller.

Anonymous said...

Skippy --

I'm an SDE, not a TPM ;-)


Tarn said...

Ah... I love the fact that you believed I am a former colleague of Sam & Rebecca's and not the partner of a former colleague (which happens to be the boring side of the truth). I think most bloggers have a smidgen of hope that the *real* audience extends to some degree beyond the *known* audience, and maybe we do actually write to that smidgen-hope of a readership, at least slightly so. And there's no crime in rejoicing when Technorati or StatCounter tells you so!

dan said...

Um, my name's Dan, and...uh...I don't know how to say it getting hot in here? Um, so, yeah...I'm Dan...shoot, I guess I said that already, hehehe. So anyway, I read your blog too. And, uh...I guess that's it. So...yeah.

Transient Gadfly said...

I hope you all own iPods. Otherwise my whole theory is shot.