But Who's the Audience:
Reading, and writing, and being read, online

Anyone can put writing online. Create a mailing list. Set up a really good Web page. Post to Usenet. Remove your name and send it to everyone you know by email.

Getting it read remains a difficult task. We can do it the old-fashioned way: get a publisher or major Web site to distribute it for us.

Or we can do it the even older way: tell people "I wrote something" and hope they find us. After a while, you may find that your friends start saying "Hey, Vicki's got a new rant" or "Look at Teresa's new essay". Just hope they don't wind up saying "Oh, no, another email from what's-his-name, does he really think that stuff is funny?"

The trick is to create some kind of connection. It can be a one-off:

Hey, look at this!

Or it can be repeated: so-and-so's work is always at this Web site, or that Usenet page, or distributed by his email list.

That's the writer's viewpoint. For the readers, it's a little different. When I'm reading, I'm looking for interesting voices and for interesting information. There are places I look regularly, and some I stumble across.

You can visit the same few sites every day, and at least keep up with the world. You can ramble, do a bit of googling, maybe even keep a Weblog to share what you find.

You can even rely on three people's Weblogs, and just read whatever they point to.

Or, of course, you can wait for everyone to come beating at your door to show you their improved mousetraps.

But don't hold your breath. Especially if you didn't tell them you liked the new velocipede they showed you last week, or the purple cow from the month before.

This one is for Darkhawk, and for Gary.

This isn't a thorough analysis--it's a rant.

Copyright 2000 Vicki Rosenzweig

You can email me at the usual place.