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When It Gets Away From You

For an uber-introvert, I do an awful lot of things in public. During Nanowrimo, I noveled in public at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Now that I'm podcasting, I'm taking it on the road at every opportunity, getting as many people as I can into the mix.

Here's the thing. Obviously, as a writer, blogger and podcaster, I have things to say that I want other people to hear about. Most of my words are public and open for comment and input.

When I started my podcast, I immediately started obsessing about my statistics. I've seen other people posting in podcasting forums with this, so I know I'm not alone in my need to watch the number of people downloading my podcast go up and up and up.

It took almost ten days for my show to receive a hundred downloads. It was the aggregate total of both shows, but it was still one hundred downloads. It took about another five days to get the second hundred. It took two for the third hundred (that was yesterday). I got my four hundredth today.

I was elated, until it occured to me that I don't know that many people. That meant that there were people I didn't even know listening to my podcast. Listening, judging me, putting their own layers of interpretation on the things that my guests and I say.

On the one hand, I am excited that so many people are downloading it and listening. A few are even commenting (although, since I put an email button on the home page, I hope that more will comment) and telling me that they like what they're hearing.

On the other hand, it's really scary. This isn't so small anymore. This is people listening and telling their friends to listen and coming back and listening again. This is people judging not me, but my work in my absence.

That's really scary.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 11th, 2005 10:28 pm (UTC)
Judge not, lest ye be flamed on PodcastAlley Forums
Podcasting is just like any other audio communication. You are trying to make a connection with your audience, whether that connection is shared laughter, tears, anger, understanding, or knowledge. The choices you make when you produce a show affect how well you can communicate your ideas to someone else, just as the painter's choices affect how well received or understood a painting might be.

But even wrong or "less good" choices will not destroy the message you are attempting to communicate. As long as you can stand behind what you are trying to communicate and work from your creative heart, others will listen and partake of what you offer. Whether your audience is one or one thousand, I think the key is taking your ideas and getting them across to someone else. It doesn't have to be technically perfect, and it doesn't have to be constantly engaging, but it does have to be genuine. Others can see the message through the noise of any "imperfections".

But, yeah, I watch my numbers daily, too, and wish for more feedback. It's a sickness we podcasters have. It gives us another reason to get up in the morning, in addition to coffee.
Jul. 11th, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Judge not, lest ye be flamed on PodcastAlley Forums

I don't even have COFFEE!

I was talking to my husband about this, though, and came to this realization: it's not that I am worried about other people judging me. It's actually the fact that it's not a two-way street. If I meet you in person (or in some other medium) and we have an exchange, we form opinions about each other. If you don't like what I have to say, I can decide, based on what I know of you, how much that matters to me. If you're really important to me, I might change how I express myself in order to reach you better.

In this medium, that's just not possible. I do my best and I don't have a second chance. I don't know most of the people who are hearing me, and I can't form any opinion about them. That just sort of weirds me out.

And as far as feedback is concerned: I love your show. It's cute. I was going to pimp you last week, but I flaked (I was in such a hurry to get it done). I won't forget this week.
Jul. 12th, 2005 02:08 am (UTC)
Re: Judge not, lest ye be flamed on PodcastAlley Forums
I don't even have COFFEE!

The ultimate nightmare situation.

it's not that I am worried about other people judging me. It's actually the fact that it's not a two-way street...I do my best and I don't have a second chance.

True, but, through the glory of the Internet, for every person who "doesn't get it", there will be others who do. Hopefully, you will get enough feedback for you to get an idea of what people like and don't like, and that will help you evolve to be more inclusive. Then again, you have to do what makes you happy and proud. If someone doesn't like the example you give, it's their loss for not enjoying your work.

God, this sounds like dating advice. Ew.

Ew, but it is similar. Relationships are give and take, not only give. Same is true for the performer-audience relationship. Not everyone likes everything, which is why there are different channels and different shows. Eventually, your audience will find you and you they.

Thanks for the props on my show. I'm very glad you enjoy it. w00!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )