OK, that’s an exaggeration, but I’ll explain. First, some colleagues and I have been talking about two related issues: how to continue to build readership, and what attracts or repels certain groups of readers. I love my readers and commenters, but are there things I could be doing to attract more readers? And what would I be willing to do?
For example, if I started promoting quackery, I could not only build my readership, but make ass-loads of money. This I will not do. I might also attract people to my blog who currently are turned off to it. But if promoting quackery is what it takes to bring in readers, I’m willing to stick with my current traffic.
But what might I be doing that is turning away potential allies? For example, I have walked into a roomful of doctors before, and found the conversation so alienating that I have simply walked away. In this case, alienating can be the assumption in the conversation of church-membership, or the use of terms such as “jew’d him down”. These things are like a door in the face. One of my goals is to make sure I’m not slamming my door in too many faces.
These slamming doors can be very subtle, and the “slammer” is often oblivious. I do not write racist posts, but does my failure to address race and medicine more often turn away readers? I don’t explicitly address gender issues all that often—is my content and language chasing people away? One of the reasons I avoid posting on religion or politics too often is not because I don’t have opinions, but because I don’t want to lose potential allies of other religious or political bents. Does my failure to address political and religious issues actually turn more people away than it attracts?
These are rhetorical questions. I write what I write because I know it, but I do try to reach outside my most intimate knowledge to address a wider audience. It’s hard work to reach outside your comfort zone and create a blog environment that is more widely welcoming. I don’t know if I will succeed, but all I ask is that you give me a chance.