The power of passive readers

Sometime back, venture capitalist Fred Wilson wrote a blog post (first this and then later, this one) on ‘The logged out user’. He goes on to explain the number of people who are logged out Twitter users and uses the famous ratio – Out of 100 people, 1% will create content, 10% will curate the content and the 90% (should ideally be 89%, I suppose!) will simply consume content. This works in blogs, Twitter, Facebook and pretty much every platform online.

Fred adds that logged out users are users just like logged in users and that we should focus more on then, build services for them and not treat them like second class citizens.

I had an epiphany last weekend, on similar lines.

Over the last 3 weeks, I have heard six different people give feedback to me about a blog post of mine or a tweet, when we met, face to face. For example, when I was talking to one of this 6, he quoted a sentence from a blog post of mine and said that he remembers me writing in context to what we were discussing.

Another recalled a tweet of mine (from an year ago, at that!) during a chat face to face, in context.

These are people that I did not know were reading my blog or tweets…enough to remember it in context at some random point in the future! One has read my posts only via my cross-posting the links on LinkedIn. Another comes across my posts via my tweets. The third reads them via RSS feeds and I have no way of knowing that they do unless they leave a comment on some platform – LinkedIn, or Twitter, or the blog’s native comments section.

If you’ve ever wondered, while blogging, or before you start blogging, ‘But who will read my thoughts?’, think about this large group of people. They are perhaps much, much more than the kind that gives out some kind of feedback! And by sheer number, they are totally worth writing for and communicating to. The same logic goes for brands who start engaging with people on social media – the key is to start and consistently create content that may be perceived appropriate and interesting for relevant target audiences…without bothering about bean counter metrics like, well…’likes’ and ‘followers’!

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  • http://twitter.com/KartikDayanand Kartik Dayanand

    Very valid points. I have faced the same situation many times and always wonder “I never knew this person was reading my posts”. Glad that you wrote about this.

  • Nikhil Pahwa

    been getting this for years man. :) blogging since 2003 

    • http://itwofs.com/beastoftraal/ Karthik Srinivasan

      I have heard very sporadically….but 6 in a stretch in 3 weeks was too much not to write about it :-)

  • Guest

    However you do have statistics on how many people visit a blog, so the ‘But who will read my thoughts?’ wont be an unknown

    • http://itwofs.com/beastoftraal/ Karthik Srinivasan

      True, but that’s just a number. When people I’m not aware that they are reading my posts come to me and quote specific lines, I make the connect that they are one among the number I’m looking at. That connection is a revelation.