Daily Kos and me.
The Daily Kos, is one of the world's most successful blogs. It has, according to Wikipedia, about 600,000 unique visitors, per day. That is about 2,000 times more than I get, here. The question is: why?
Well, when I look at Daily Kos - as I have now just glanced at it, for a few minutes - I am struck by what Daily Kos is not. It is not particularly well-written, for instance. No sentences leap out at me, as being fashioned with great craft. No. The well-written phrase is not something its readers appreciate. They are there for other things. The Daily Kos is not a speciality blog, like mine: the Daily Kos is an American political blog for liberal "progressive" thinking. They have many writers, not just one (it is not all written by the eponymous "Kos" Markos Moulitsas). They attract writers of some political renown, to contribute. Thus, part of their secret is that each of their writers has a built in audience, of followers and appreciators. Thus, the Daily Kos is a collaborative effort, with a cumulative audience built up of all of its contributing writers, often political types.
The Daily Kos is also rather mainstream in what it pays attention to. Its subject matter seems to be whatever is very much in the news at the time. In this way, Daily Kos is less unique than my blog. My own blog has its own concerns and its own take on the world. The Daily Kos is concerned about whatever everyone else is concerned about - with a liberal spin on it. That, basically is about it, for subject matter.
Then again, there is the presentational style of the Daily Kos. Boxes are used to bring things to reader's attention - and bullet points for easy reading. I get the impression that it is written for people who lack the ability to read text, in the manner of their forefathers. It is for an impatient generation, not given to attending to extended thought. Everything is broken down into bite size pieces. It is, therefore, somewhat of a "liberal light" in terms of presentation. Nothing is too difficult to read, or think about.
Perhaps, therefore, the incredible success of Daily Kos, reflects the ordinariness of the typical reader, these days. The modern reader, is not a deep thinker, doesn't like difficult text, is not taken by well written words, but is more interested in easily digestible snippets, that confirm their world view.
The simple reason, therefore, that the Daily Kos has 2,000 times as many readers as I have, is that my aims are higher, in some ways. I seek to write better. I seek to look at things, that others may not. I seek to bring an individual, rather than a generic perspective to things. I also have a very specialized primary topic.
It should, therefore, be no surprise that I have so many fewer readers than Daily Kos. This is so, because there are so many fewer readers who want to read anything not written in bullet points, and penned for the masses, as Daily Kos, is.
Whilst it would be good to have a Daily Kos sized audience, it would only be so, if what I wrote were meaningful for them. By this I mean, that I am happy with the size of the audience I have if it accurately reflects the proportion of people who are naturally drawn to what I write about. Only if my audience is significantly smaller than its natural niche, would I be unhappy about it. The question is: how big is the natural niche of my blog?
I have no idea...and in some way, there is no way of telling. Only if the blog audience grew for a long time, then plateaued, would I have, perhaps, a clue as to the size of that natural niche. Perhaps, in fact, that niche is already what I fully occupy. Yet, I suspect not. I think if you enjoy this blog and told others about it, its "niche" would seem to grow larger. It is all a question of word-of-mouth.
There is a lesson in the success of the Daily Kos, however. The less unique, the less original, the less well-defined a blog is - that is, the more mainstream it is in its subject, style and thinking - the larger the audience will be. This is quite simply because if you aim to be average, in any way, you will find a lot more people who like it - because they can identify with it. The lesson from my blog, is that if you go the other way, towards being different, your natural niche will shrink, because fewer people find it a good fit to them.
Yet, the truth be known, I would rather be me, in a small niche, than to be generic, with a Daily Kos sized audience. Perhaps, over time, more people can get to hear about my blog and come to enjoy reading it - but I am not going to change and do a "Daily Kos" just to get a large audience.
If you have to change yourself, to find a readership, then those readers are not worth finding - because you will have lost yourself in the process. So, I will write on, as I have been...and let Daily Kos, be Daily Kos, without ever worrying that their audience is somewhat larger than my own!
Anyway, Time magazine in 2009, listed the Daily Kos as one of the world's most over-rated blogs. I note that they didn't list me, as being one of them. So, perhaps, I am not the only one to have noticed the essential shallowness of the Daily Kos proposition...
I will never be the Daily Kos...but I shall ever be the Daily Cawley - and that is good enough for me - and a niche audience of "yous".
I am happy with that. I hope you are, too.
(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 6 and Tiarnan, 4, this month, please go to:
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