Who do you blog for?

As most writers can tell you, you write for somebody else. You write because you want someone else to read your opinion, your knowledge or your funny stories. The problem is that many of us bloggers don't know exactly who we are writing for. A couple thousand people a day may land on your blog and despite the best analytics you may not know who they are. And who you write for may change. I originally started writing for my friends but over time I've picked up a large readership, many of whom I don't know personally. A very small percentage of readers actually leave comments so I don't really get a chance to know them.

I ask who you blog for because lately I've gotten a lot of comments about what I'm writing about, and I have to say, I've found some of them flattering, some of them funny and some insulting. I write about what I find interesting or important and I hope others find it interesting or educational, that's why I share it. I don't believe I actually write for any one audience. (Although occasionally I have an audience in mind when I write a particular post.)

So here are some comments I've gotten (I find many of them funny) and my response:

  • "You don't do much work, you're always talking about surveys or hunting or kids." Hmm, this is Stormy's Corner, not Stormy's job log. While I tend to work a lot, I do lots of other things too and I write about whatever I want to share at the moment with no thought on how much I've blogged about "work" versus "family" versus "hobbies". (You can read about my work in the Foundation blog. And see the next point.) So if you think I have too much time to write about other things, I think perhaps you should get a few hobbies of your own too. Also note that most posts take me 20-30 minutes so it's not like I'm spending hours and hours writing …
  • "You write too much about work." I actually feel kind of bad for my readers that started reading this blog before I was allowed to blog about work and now are learning much more about open source software and GNOME than they ever wanted to know. Well, guys, it is an important part of my life, and I do think it's really important you understand how important open source software is for our world. Hopefully you can tell from the title whether or not you want to read the post and skip the rest.
  • "Your posts are really different than the other posts on Planet GNOME
    and I appreciate reading about topics I wouldn't otherwise think
  • "You blog about hunting." Actually, I think I've only blogged about hunting once or twice. I understand many of my readers are vegetarians. Many of my friends and some of my family are vegetarian. My hunting posts are mostly about the people I hunt with not the nuts and bolts. Hunting is actually a highly controlled sport that is used for population control and revenue generation in the states, and I don't think it's evil but I'm not going to talk lots about it one way or the other. I don't push hunting here and I'd appreciate if you wouldn't insult my kids because you don't like the fact I hunt.
  • "Where do you find time to blog?" I usually blog about things I've been thinking about. You could say I blog when I'm walking the dog or driving the car. By the time I sit down "to blog", I can usually type up the blog post in 20 minutes or so. (And sometimes I don't have enough time to think about any one thing long enough to construct a blog post – see the last few weeks …)
  •  "Where do you get your ideas?" From everywhere, all day long. I have a list a mile long on things I could blog about. Hopefully I screen enough of them that my blog is interesting. It seems to be working for my current readers.

So who do I write for? I don't really know. I know my readers contain:

  • friends
  • family – A couple of years ago I discovered that a great-aunt I hadn't seen since I was 3 years old was reading my blog! How awesome is that? I've also gotten to know a few of my cousins better though blogging.
  • Planet GNOME readers
  • Some press folks
  • GNOME people
  • People interested in open source software
  • People whose blog I read
  • People who think my kid stories are cute (who doesn't 😉
  • People who found one or two of my posts really useful and so subscribed to the rest
  • People I've met at conferences, …

Who are you and why are you reading Stormy's Corner?

Who do you blog for?