Let me tell you a story.
In the beginning was the word... and so the good book begins. But actually, in the beginning the idea came first, the idea became a picture, a drawing, pencil-like, charcoal sketched, on a cave wall, then on flattened reeds, then on paper. The image, the imagination, the thought when it attempted to be shared ultimately became the word, and in the sharing it was good.
The storytellers, shamans, griots' voice, his and hers, developed over time, sharing images, thoughts, via words. They were listened too. They could tell the tale that held everyone's attention, held them on the edge, leaning forward, their ears ready. The storytellers' voice developed a rhythm, a cadence for the telling to help convey the moment. The rhythm developed a beat, something primal, akin to their heat beat that was quickening or slowing to the pace of the events of the moment in the story.
The storyteller tried something new, he/she used this new cadence and rhythm to change their voice to chant, and eventually sing. The story became the song. The variety of story became the variety of song. The storyteller became the singer. And the singer sang his/her song!
Step forward many years. Step forward through many advances in technology. The technology is now beyond typing and hard copy printing, advanced to virtual printing, publishing pages available to anyone anywhere with a connection and a browser for "free", technology that has been freed from the wire. The individual's voice is now capable of being put forth for anyone with a like interest to read. These individual's voices have been given a name, rightly or wrongly: bloggers or bloghers. And the blogger/blogher blogs his/her blog!
Some things have not changed over this time. There is still an individual. The individual still has a voice. There is still an audience. The population has grown. The population has spread. The world is wide, much more so that ever before. While it was easy for the storyteller/singer to gather a crowd around the campfire in the woods or savanna (where else were they going to go?), a modern blogger has to set their voice/blog forth into a sea of words hoping that it will stand out, that it will attract attention, that it will generate a gathering akin to gathering around the fire.
The audience falls into one of three parts. The first part, a large one (but hopefully smaller over time) is one that can not begin to listen for any number of reasons; they may not have a connection, or if they do, they may not have that interest. In either case, the singular voice might as well be not at all. To them, there is no voice. The second part of the audience is at least connected and aware of the voice. The read the voice maybe briefly, maybe very quickly, and lacking time or serious interest move on. To the voice, they may not exist, to the audience the voice does exist; there is just not a real acknowledgement of the audience to the voice.
The third part of the audience is nirvana to the voice. The audience in this case is connected, they are aware, they are more than aware, they do not just read and devour, and they also become engaged. They respond. The audience (individually) interacts with the voice. They exchange words. They share more than the voice has expressed. They can take this relationship to another place. The two become one (in idea) and become more powerful than one and one combined. The voice can grow in this. The individual in the audience can grow in this. The road goes ever and ever on.
The first part of the audience just is. They will be there. Don't pay attention to them. The sphere of the voice's influence is beyond getting to this audience. They are unengaged.
The second part of the audience is partially engaged. They are aware. They may read fully or partially, they just don't (or have not yet) taken the next step.
The third part is fully engaged. They are more than readers, more than aware, they are involved. They ultimately will co-create, enhance the idea, and move it to a new place.
What is the point or moral of this story?
Forget about the masses. They are lost for now; you can do nothing for them. It is not kind, it is not Christian but that is what it is. You put on your own oxygen mask first before you can help another. That is the reality. Focus on the voice and those who heed it.
Be aware of the partially engaged, toss them a word, or stray bone, or two. Someday they may come around, someday something will awaken in them and they will respond but until then, nothing more.
The voice, you the blogger or blogher, should focus your writing on the fully engaged part. Feed them as much as they can feed you in turn. There is a mutual dependence.
Know yourself. Go to the well, understand that which is you, the real you! There is no other like you.
Prepare your voice. Practice, practice, practice!
Listen to your audience, pay attention to what they tell you. They sell no mirage. They have come to you for food and sustenance. Feed them.
Feed them and you will find sustenance for yourself.
This is the circle of life, the blogger/blogher life.
What do you think?
The audio version of this posting can be found here.