Know thy audience

Image from Flickr User Arenamontanus

There are so many principles, best practices, and new ways of handling connectivity these days it all gets incredibly confusing unless one can dedicate hours to it each day. Since this time last year I have really started to get invested in the idea that blogging and other social media are not only fun and useful but also important for my continued development as a young professional. I like to excel at everything I do, and had I the time, I would put all my efforts into writing for the web non-stop until I felt I had a really good handle on it.

That said – I have been through several permutations of content focus in my blogging and have yet to find my niche. I really enjoy writing about tech current events, productivity, and other pseudo-geeky topics. But, I also find a lot of value writing about day-to-day work life and professional development. On top of all that, my dream job for a long time was to be a music journalist, and I still put on that hat every now and again. Lastly, my professional/academic interests in Special Collections, Emerging Technologies Librarianship, digital humanities and the history of collecting merit some of my blogtention too, right?

Sure, I could write about any and all of this, and it would still be a valuable experience and wholly representative of the “Micah Vandegrift” that I truly am. But I am starting to think about crafting a professional identity, focused and unique, with particular strengths that I can sell to an employer. When and how does one reign in so many disparate interests and start to write and become an expert in any one area? Or is it better to let a little bit of all this leak in every now and again?

What got me thinking along these lines was the fact that I have no idea who reads my blog. I am quite sure none of my friends or family do (lame!) simply because these topics are not of interest them. I have been writing to PR people because I admire their work, and to librarians because I am/will be one of them. But, who really is my audience? One thing I know for sure: as I continue on this journey my audience will change and adapt with my writing.

Do you define your audience by your writing, or vice versa? Is there a protocol for collecting data on fans, friends and followers in the blogosphere?

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One thought on “Know thy audience

  1. Pingback: Writing for the Web « The Infornado

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