Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Are you my audience?

Every so often I have an idea or thought that might be worth sharing. But then I think of all the ways in which it could be misinterpreted or disputed, and then I think about how to better explain or justify myself, and then I'm just tired of all that thinking and so I don't actually write anything.

In an attempt to avoid that trap, and to clarify my own thinking, I've decided to write for a very limited audience: me, and people who might be similar to me.

My fear is that I will get drawn into some dumb debate or end up arguing with fools, which is no way to live. To avoid this, I'll probably just delete all comments that seem trollish, smell anything like spam, or are just hopelessly annoying.

Also, I'd like to preface everything I'll ever say with this: I don't actually know anything. (and neither do you)


Elliot said...

That's a good idea. It's just too bad that I like comments so much that I let nearly all of the non-spam ones on my blog to slide. Maybe as I get more comments, I'll start being more restrictive. Still, it takes time to delete that stuff. I'd rather let my readers decide which comments are worthwhile, but there's no easy way to do this yet.

Bennett said...

You may find one day that your audience is larger than you'd intended or expected. And you'll be able to attribute it to your honesty. In a blogosphere that is mostly a BS-ophere, your comment about what you - and the rest of us - actually know and don't know is refreshing and greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Unknown said...

So you want to only talk to people who agree with everything you say? Seems limiting to me.

Paul Buchheit said...

Where does it say that I "only want to talk to people who agree with everything I say?"

I don't even agree with everything I say.

Me said...

Man, I don't know that I could carry on a conversation very long with someone who agreed with everything I had to say. While flattering, it'd get boring pretty quickly. And I have to agree...when I go back and read old posts I've made, I frequently find myself thinking "why the hell did I write that? It's so obviously wrong". Anyhow, just getting started on your blog Paul (cuz I just realized it existed), so I suppose I am now a part of your audience. Maybe I'll even comment now and again.

Skronk said...

I like your final remark. The philosopher Karl Popper said "We may differ in what little we know but we are all equal in the infinitude of our ignorance". You can learn a lot by exposing your ideas to criticism
but it can be tough to deal with people who doggedly insist on misinterpreting you or resort to ad-hominem tactics. You are sticking your neck out. I respect that and I am grateful for it from the point of view of what I can learn.

Unknown said...

"...then I think of all the ways..."

That's how creative people turn into incredible procrastinators. Every time they consider a course of action, they start imagining lots of different outcomes, most of them bad. People that aren't as creative can just jump into stuff and find out the real outcome later. At least I think they do. I wouldn't know.

Script Uncle said...

I was really moved by your last paragraph;

"Also, I'd like to preface everything I'll ever say with this: I don't actually know anything. (and neither do you)"

In my teens I realized (regarding religion at the time) that the only thing I know is that I don't, most probably including everyone who has ever lived or lives.

It sounds silly when you say it, but for my it was a kind of almost religious (yes, I know) epiphany.

I've lived with that provable kernel since then, and the see you writing offhand something along the same lines, and I'm just stunned.

I also like Steve, by the way. He's a Good Person.

Jorah said...

Yeah, I might be part of your audience. I'll try it for a few weeks and we'll see.

chaosgone said...

My motto on my blog is: "Sometimes interesting, never relevant." It think that covers anything silly I might write. :)

SG said...

Hey Paul,
Nice to find your blog.
I couldnt find a way to talk to you because your email Id is not available anywhere.
Anyway, I really respect the things you created and hence your view will matter to me a lot.
I have been wondering about this idea:
Ad motivated video blog

Do you think this will work?

gold coast said...

hi paul
i like to chat to you,about the next step!!!!! i lost a lot of money ,i want to recover soon.pls give me a e-mail.

Christophe-Marie said...

The idea is good. You are writing to your audience, and you want to choose your audience. You are not interested in the quantity, but in the quality. You want your audience to be people like you, people who will be able to leave great, clever comments, because they understand what you are speaking about. Actually, you are not interested in everyone's opinion, but only in the opinion of people that you find interesting too.

Like matt says, don't you fear that, if you only let people like you publish comments on your blog, it will be like kind of limiting? It might become - I exagerate - you publishing comments by you on your own blog. In fact the persons you are writing for, might be only you.

The original idea is good, but I think it could get better. Starting from what you said, you should not be the only one to choose who is your audience. I mean, let's imagine someone leave a great comment on your blog, a comment that you like and that you think to reflect what you're thinking. Then you'll know he's part of your audience. What if this person was now able to moderate and tell if this comment is interesting or not? You'd be able to build a kind of community of quality people that understand you, without fearing to be close-minded each time you delete a comment, because they would help you to do it. I guess it would be fun to imagine a system like that...

sashika said...

Regarding your audience: may I broaden it a bit by translating some of your posts into Russian? I couldn't find any copyright information on your blog and decided to ask here.

Paul Buchheit said...

tof, I very rarely delete any comments (generally only spam).

sasha, feel free to translate any of my posts.

Jan said...

Why don't you make your picture available for wikipedia. Would give the article about you a personal note :)


Paul Buchheit said...

Jan, feel free to use my picture.


SexySEO said...

If "everyone is unique" then "who might be similar to me" -> 0

Steve said...

Well said. My thoughts exactly!

tryingthingsout said...

Your audience is much larger that you think Paul. Your honesty and no BS is welcome and much appreciated. Keep the fantastic writing up! You have a fan from Buffalo for good!