Welcome to dpoyesac.wordpress.com; a.k.a. Singlespeed in Florida. This is my first post. I suppose it’s traditional to start with an introduction. After all, this is the opportune time to introduce myself and give you, my anonymous reader, a sense of who I am and what this blog is about. Will it be about the various minutia of my daily life? My adventures in grad school? Critical commentary on the day’s comic strips? As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression, and now is the time to charm you, enchant you, and show you what you can expect to encounter if you stick around on my little blogging adventure.
But I refuse to answer the question. I think it’s boring.
Let’s start with this: when you learned to write an essay, back in junior high or whenever, your teacher told you to first think about your audience. What you write needs to be tailored to the audience you are writing for: the language and phrasing, the terms you can use, the length and structure of your sentences, the treatment of your topic — the specifics of these all depend on knowing who you are targeting with your words. A letter to the editor of your podunk hometown newspaper decrying the effects of illegal immigration on wages will be vastly different from the elegant essay sent to The New Yorker even if the content is similar. Effective writing requires — so your teacher told you, and so you should believe — tailoring your words for your intended reader.
At first glance blogging should be different, but a moment’s deeper reflection should show that that ain’t so. To capture an audience a blog should target an audience; narrow focus allows a certain amount of freedom to explore the depths of something, and anyone with a passing interest in that something knows that they’ll get positive benefits from sticking around. Suppose this blog were about riding my bike in bicycle-unfriendly Florida. People who ride bikes, people in Florida, and especially people who ride bikes in Florida will all know that there is a good chance anything I post will be of interest to them.
But if I start adding entries about illegal immigration then all bets are off. The core audience becomes alienated. It’s a mistake to think that blogging and mainstream media are fundamentally different — it’s just the size of the fish that are caught and the size of the hook that reels ’em in that’re different. The New Yorker has a distinct voice and a distinct take on the world, and that voice and that take dictates the audience they have — people read The New Yorker because they know that whatever particular content is being addressed, it will be addressed in that distinct, The New Yorker-ey way, with that distinct The New Yorker-ey voice. If they stray from that voice and that take, they lose their core. Moreover: while The New Yorker can cover a wide range of issue, anything that can’t be covered and discussed in that distinct The New Yorker-ey voice just can’t get into the magazine. The audience dictates the content.
The same thing is true for Michelle Malkin and The Comics Curmudgeon; if either of them lose their distinct voice, their distinct focus on the small set of issues they have chosen as their own particular purview, then they lose in the same way. Old media and new media just aren’t that far apart from each other. Sure, Michelle Malkin can cover a wider range of topics than can Josh: Michelle can discuss ABC News, Guantanamo as well as today’s Pearls Before Swine (although I’m not sure she ever has mentioned Pearls Before Swine), Josh can only talk about the latter. But if Michelle ever starts interspersing her right-wing rants with restaurant reviews, her page hits are certain to go down.
I am not going to play this game. If pre-determining my audience pre-determines the content available for blogging — then I just don’t care who my audience is. If I sketch out a picture of my perfect intended blog-reader — perhaps with pasty skin and glasses, hunched over obsessively reading and responding to my acute political commentary, or maybe a hi-IQ hipster doofus dressed in vintage corduroy and being snarkily ironic about the state of moral decay in the world — then suddenly I am locked into writing only what this idealized reader wants. I will spend all my time chasing their imagined attention and desperately scratching and scrabbling for their imaginary acceptance.
Am I really starting a blog so I can jump through hoops to entertain a handful of internet dorks who happen across my blog through some random Google search? Am I really going to invest my time — time I really can’t spare to begin with, and I should be reading right now — in a project like this only to measure my success by what others think of me? Of what I write? Of how I write it?
That seems silly. Pointless. A waste of my time.
The readers and the writer of this blog are, for all purposes, anonymous. It doesn’t matter who you are and it doesn’t matter who I am.
This blog — for all I care — consists of me shouting into the wilderness. A vast fog-filled forest, high cliffs and barren wastes are my intended audience. My missives and rants will be set free to make their own way, set loose into the wild to live or die on their own. They will be brought into this world to entertain me and me alone, and if they have the legs to travel further than that it makes no difference to me.
The only things I intend to post are those things that interest me for the time I am willing to waste at the keyboard to write them. After that I shall move on to other things — or maybe the same thing again and again. I have no coherent vision for this damn thing and hope to avoid developing one at all costs. The byword is a bit of freedom, a bit of irony and a bit of sarcasm.
So, what’s this blog going to be about? I really don’t know. I really don’t care. But I’m sure I’ll come up with something.