The Readers You Want

Via Andrew, Conor Friedersdorf interviews Glenn Greenwald. It's a good interview, much of which I disagree with, but all of it intelligent and thought-provoking. At any rate, this quote really struck home for me:

As for blogging style, there's obviously a demand for all different types of approaches. I'm aware that my writing demands a lot from readers in terms of time and attention, and some people are not going to read what I write because of the length or complexity. That's fine. I'm happy with that. I'm aware that if I shortened and simplified what I wrote, there'd be some additional people who would become readers who aren't now (though I'd also likely lose readers as well). I don't necessarily want a readership that has a short attention span or which demands that everything be reduced to four simple sentences. Given the size of my readership, and the fact that it's grown steadily beginning with the day I began writing, there is obviously a substantial demand for the kind of writing I do, so there's no reason for me to change it.

There is a sense, on the web, that most bloggers are out to say what they want, and get as many people as possible to read it. While all of us would like to have gaudy uniques, Glenn's approach, as stated here, really captured something for me--I don't actually want anyone and everyone reading or commenting at this blog.

I think my motivations are different than Glenn's in that I suspect trying to affect political change in a way that I am not. My approach is much more selfish, and maybe even more entertainment-driven. But what it shares is an attempt to attract a particular kind of reader.

When I do my Civil War posts, I'm not really thinking about people who'd rather be watching Michael Bay's Transformers than listening to David Blight's lectures. I'm thinking about people who'd rather be listening to David Blight's lectures, but are going to see Bay's Transformers too--all the while understanding that the first one was superior.

It's one reason why I've never thought too much about banning people. I'm not trying to provide a house for everyone. I'm not running a department store. I'm running a boutique. And yes, I'm a snob. On the internet.