The Neapolitan Blog for Different Audiences

One of the biggest challenges of writing a good blog is the challenge of catering to different kinds of readers.

I don’t know if everyone would agree, but the act of writing a blog itself implies that the blogger is someone who believes in democratization of knowledge, especially with regard to access to reading and writing and cultural practices that are understood as important.

In other words, this means the writer cares about reaching a wider audience through their blog than simply being restricted to a select few with a taste aligned to that of their own. The blogger has respect for and aspires towards appealing to a wide audience.

If you’ve ever taught a class, in a democratic way, by which I mean not simply lectured as a person only partially aware of the sentient nature of the things sitting on benches in front of you, you’ll know what I’m talking about immediately. In a class with a wide variety of students with differing academic abilities and backgrounds, you have to adjust your teaching to suit the students and keep changing as they change.

It’s like playing squash or racquetball.

As some students get bored with simplified discussions others appreciate basics and get bored with overly intricate material that have no bearing on their own interests.

It does not seem to be that different in blogging.

In order to stay alive, a writer has to appeal to a wide variety of people. Some of them skim the surface, some of them read deeply and understand what the writer is saying from their point of view, others go a step further and connect it with what they already know.

Anyone can access a blog page. No four walls of a room restrict access to blogs. This is an opportunity for the blogger, not a drawback, enabling her to reach a far greater number of people than would have been possible otherwise.

And yet, these numbers lead to a mixed population with different tastes. One set of people are pleased with one post while other people’s expectations are thwarted. Concentrating on both modes of communication (length, tone, format) with two intended audiences might give an impression that the whole blog is getting diluted. Readers stop waiting for each post regularly because it might just be one for the other camp.

To add to this complication is the fact that a blog is not a book. A writer can write a book in one mood with one intent, finish it and move on to another book with a different tone for a different set of people. Theoretically at least, this kind of flexibility is possible.

But a blog has a beginning but no end. It stays with the blogger, grows with the blogger and so encounters different audiences at different times.

But when it encounters different audiences at the same time, it faces a challenge.

If a blog was an ice-cream, it could have many options.

It could live on as Neapolitan ice cream.

It could split into smaller tubs of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.

Or, if it was a genius, it could invent a new flavour–perhaps vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips and diced strawberries or chocolate ice cream with vanilla swirls and strawberry flakes.

It would all depend on the ice cream chef.

Block of Neapolitan ice cream.
Now I am hungry. [Block of Neapolitan ice cream. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)]
©bottledworder, 2013. https://bottledworder.wordpress.com
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32 thoughts on “The Neapolitan Blog for Different Audiences”

  1. Your current article provides established beneficial to myself.
    It’s really informative and you’re simply clearly extremely well-informed in this region. You possess popped my eyes to varying views on this particular matter together with intriquing, notable and reliable content.

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  2. I blog for myself…if others find it enjoyable, alls the better! I started it as merely an online backup (at brother-in-laws suggestion). It works for me. I’m content to post, if others like or comment, I do enjoy it, though…especially comments!

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  3. Very interesting – since I’m about to embark on a teaching practicum for my MFA, “you have to adjust your teaching to suit the students and keep changing as they change”… The one sure thing – change. I’m also reminded of something an advisor said at a recent seminar: “You are not going to appeal to all people all the time and anyway, think about it… you are probably writing for a specific demographic – even if you don’t yet know it. I always hope that I’d like to hang out with the people who read my work [she is a published author]. Would you like to hang out with the people who are hanging on every word of the Twilight series?” … And thanks for the like on The Sacred and the Decadent: Otto Dix. I’ve enjoyed discovering your blog. 🙂

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  4. Yes,I do find it’s the humour or a title with blogging in it that gets a big response… but then another blog that I simply wrote for my enjoyment just may hit the spot… It feels like an unfathomable riddle… so I write what I feel like writing that day, and enjoy what comes… and sometimes I sit down to write a post, and something entirely different to what i had intended emerges…
    And one does seem to attract a small group of people who are regular and like and comment. What happens to all the other people who’ve clicked follow but never show up.. are they reading, or have they disappeared leaving their lovely footprint, and boosting the nmbers of readers?

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  5. Your posts always get me thinking. If I thought to cater to readers at every post, I doubt I’d ever have the courage to post anything! I don’t know how diverse my writing is, or my readers are, but I’m having fun with it all 🙂

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  6. My mom always bought Neapolitan ice cream, and the chocolate was always gone first. Eventually ice crystals would form on the vanilla, then she would throw it away, and buy another box. Why she didn’t just buy chocolate… 🙂

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  7. I have a range of topics that I write about. I think people who feel comfortable with my voice stay, while those who don’t, move on. Though certainly, at this point I know there are certain subjects where one group of readers will be moved to comment, while other topics (or style, serious vs funny) will encourage a different set to join in.

    Please, though, don’t put the strawberries into the whole batch of ice cream, I’m allergic. 😉

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  8. “If you’ve ever taught a class, in a democratic way, by which I mean not simply lectured as a person only partially aware of the sentient nature of the things sitting on benches in front of you, you’ll know what I’m talking about immediately. In a class with a wide variety of students with differing academic abilities and backgrounds, you have to adjust your teaching to suit the students and keep changing as they change.”

    SO TRUE! I teach high school on the semester system, and so I have different students this semester. Already, I’ve changed several ways I approach my lessons based on what I’ve seen with these new kids. And it is hard sometimes (all the time) – – I’ll be thinking that the lesson is awesome and I look: some are looking back at me and smiling, some are trying not fall asleep, some are texting, others will listen, say something good, then zone out again. High school students are so incredibly diverse that sometimes it just blows me away.

    So your link to blogging is perfect. I have noticed that some people really read my blog; others just glance and then “like” it. Some stop by now and then, and some will give me great feedback but I have to ask them for it. It’s interesting. Some like my personal blog posts while others like my dissertation posts. And believe it or not, I wrote one random post about a few Roethke poems and got so many likes! 🙂 You never know.

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  9. There’s a happy medium somewhere between blogging for a very niche group of people and blogging for everyone, and I’m still trying to find that place. Love your metaphor comparing it to Neapolitan ice cream! 🙂

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    1. I am trying to find that medium as well. I started my blog to write about my dissertation process, but now it is turning into a mixture of personal, dissertation, teaching, and writing. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

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  10. This is so insightful. I guess I just write the way I like to write and not to ‘please all of the people all of the time’ so to speak. I find I have a specific audience and I’ve noticed other bloggers have specific followers as well. Some of the more popular (if that is possible in blogging) blogs use a lot of swearing and I find it a bit hard to read and comment on those ones. Not that I’m a prude, but it’s just not my ‘thing’ to put myself out there in the world as foul-mouthed (in the privacy of my home it’s a completely different story). I usually follow blogs that make sense to me (like yours) and are an enjoyable read and have messages I understand and that hold my interest (I’m easy distracted!) 😉

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  11. Very, very true. I have encountered this in teaching, and now in blogging, as well. To me the very time-commitment of creating a good blog has been staggering. Certainly not what I expected going into it. Glad someone else sees and understands this. Do you have any specific tips for trying to make your blog appealing to many different kinds of people at the same time?

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  12. Yes. That’s pretty much exactly how a blog works. I definitely like the beginning but no end thought. Looking back, my blog has been growing with me as I’ve grown. But just as with people, you don’t notice it as it happens,only in the hindsight, but it’s an awesome realization

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  13. I’m so new to blogging that thoughts of who I am writing for still elude me when it comes to appealing to and maintaining a wider audience. For the time being I write about the things that interest me, the general thoughts I have about the world, and how I can share my experiences whether they be riding public transit or the word prompts that inspire me to be creative.
    A blog is about extending the sharing that I want to do, but much as it is in the physical world, I know I’m not for everyone and as much as I like the exposure my work gets, in the end I still write for myself.
    Ricky Nelson said it best, ‘you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.’ Not in a selfish way, but in way that rings true.
    ~Minkee

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  14. What a great analogy…blogging for an audience of who knows how many, with tastes as varied as their numbers, to teaching a class. You must have had the experience of facing 25-30 students who were all at differing levels of academic commitment and/or achievement levels. Keep on…
    Later !

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  15. I always get a bit nervous when someone follows me after a certain post, because what I write about differs from week to week. If I post something having to do with writing, and then the next week write about sex and the single mother, that person may be taken aback. That’s why I try to spell it out in my About page. I’m not trying to achieve world domination; only sanity. I write for myself only. If someone else appreciates what I have to say, then it’s just icing on the cake.

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  16. I actually try to NOT think about my readers when I write my blog. As you mention, I have many different sorts who stop by to see each new post: writer friends, strangers from across many lands who are curious about what a rough wighter is, high school buddies who have found me via social media, potential agents, co-workers, new friends I’ve never met but ‘talk’ to me over our blog comments, and friends/relatives I see every day who say they never knew me until they discovered my blog. That’s a divergent group. So I can’t cater to what each of them might want (or expect) from me. Instead, I write what’s on my mind, what’s ‘pressing,’ what seems relevant or funny to me at the time. Like slepsnor says above, sometimes my post zings and for some reason, people really respond in comments. Sometimes it doesn’t. When I post a poem, I only get comments from a certain segment of my readeres, and not a lot. BUT, that doens’t stop me from posting poems. I guess I’m not blogging to get a huge readership, but I’m blogging to share my writing and observations, and inviting whomever wants to join me on that particular trip, for that particular day.

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  17. I can sense your frustration, and to a certain degree I feel that way myself. I have 3 blogs, and they are all meant to appeal to different audiences, although there is some crossover. And I feel that that makes sense as they are all deeply a part of who I am. I do like a variety in the blogs I read, but not too much variety as I like to know what I am getting when I read a blog by so-and-so versus one by who-she-is. Not sure I’m making any sense . . . .

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  18. I do wonder about your comment that, In order to stay alive, a writer has to appeal to a wide variety of people.’
    I am not saying you are wrong but I am not sure it is right either. Blogging is writing; it is ‘talking’ with words in an effort to convey and converse. Just as one does in books, the difference being that with blogging you can get an immediate reply.
    I feel that the best writing is when one writes in their own unique way about things which interest them and they may have a readership or they may not, but if they do not they will have fulfilled their creative expression with honour and satisfaction, and if they do, it will be the result of fate, destiny, taste or whatever else is at work in the world which has the most brilliant books or writing never get into print and the most mediocre making millions.
    Then again, perhaps blogging, like writing, means different things to different people and many people do choose to write what they believe will ‘sell’ as opposed to what they wish to convey as their own truth. There’s nothing wrong with that and some of them are very successful.
    I guess at the end of the day, blogging as writing or writing of any kind requires the writer to make up their mind as to why they are doing what they are doing and which course will take them to their ‘true’ path.

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    1. I’ll come right out and say I don’t agree that you need to appeal to a wide audience (unless that’s your goal). You need to find an audience, sure (every writer writes because they want to be heard), but I think if you keep this large, general audience in mind when you’re writing you’re destined to dilute what makes your writing special in an effort to appeal to folks who have very disparate tastes.

      The beauty of blogging and the internet a blog with a very narrow focus, or a particular writing style, to find an audience.

      And if I had to pick an ice cream, I think I’d probably be New York Superfudge Chunk. 😉

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      1. Sorry–that line should read “the beauty of blogging AND the internet is that a blog with a very narrow focus, or a particular writing style, can find an audience.”

        My editing skills were derailed by thoughts of ice cream. 😉

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  19. Very insightful and now I want ice cream. I’m still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t with blogging. It’s strange that some days, I get very little attention and the next day I’ll make a casual post that gains the attention of everyone.

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      1. I’ve found that a lot of people simply read something and either ‘like’ it or do nothing. Several of my friends have admitted that they read my posts, but don’t feel like giving any feedback, so I’ve learned to live with it and continue on. A comment might feel daunting between strangers. Personally, I’m not always sure what to say when I read a post. I do a lot of likes and try to think of a comment, but most times I just can’t think of anything.

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