re: Raymond Kristiansen’s “The Audience of Ten”

Raymond M. Kristiansen wrote a post on January 11, 2007 entitled “The Audience of Ten”. He also made a post with the same name to the Yahoo Videoblogging Group. They’re both good an interesting reads if you’re planning to do a “show” on the internet.

Basically, Raymond was making a distinction between having a few viewers and having many viewers. I understood TECHNICALLY, what he was talking about, but I didn’t have any IRL experience that would have made me really empathize with his points. His focus was on the HOW and WHY of doing a show being based on WHOM you were doing the show FOR.

I’ve kept Raymond’s concept in mind over the more-than-a-year since I read it. In the last month, I’ve had reason to revisit the concept to attempt to determine the “sweet spot” of “Audience”, as it pertains to me, personally.

My third and most recent “season” of ReelSolid.TV, my interenet video show, is entitled “Delusions of Grandeur”. This isn’t a personal statement, even though everyone that actually knows me IRL will tell you that DoG fits *me* PERFECTLY! 😀 The reason for the title is that as I contemplated WHY I would do a show, the reason is for the audience. I don’t have to do a show for ME, because I’m already living my own life. I already know what’s happening. I’m already getting laughs or education from what goes on around me. I’m enjoying NYC sights and sounds every day. So it’s not for me that I would make a show….. or, is it?……

Some people just enjoy being famous or internet famous. Some people enjoy being popular, even if they have to play themselves out to gain status/notoreity/fame/infamy. That’s of no interest to me, because I’ve always BEEN popular. I had a pivotal discussion with David Karp on June 10, 2007. I know what day it was because I shot this video:

As part of the discussion that day, David brought up the concept of “popularity”, and I insisted that that had nothing to do with my doing shows. At the same time, he sparked a question for me, which was “What’s the goal? Why do it?” which correlated with Raymond’s question “Who do you do it for?”

DoG is indicative of a cycle. In order to do an internet show, you have to delude yourself into the believe that someone, ANYONE is watching your show. Otherwise, by definition, there’s no point in putting you videos or audio or text ON the internet. It’s a beacon… A message in a bottle. You don’t know WHO’S going to get the message, but you’re hoping… BELIEVING that somebody will. So in order to do a show, you pre-fabricate your audience in your own mind, then you speak to that audience, and hopefully a REAL audience catches on to what you floated out there into the stratosphere.

Some people don’t have this problem. They just love to see/listen to themselves talk. 😀 That’s great for them, because they don’t need an audience. They just need to have a camera pointed at them to feel accomplished and happy with what they’re doing. More power to them! 😀

When I decided on DoG, I wasn’t thinking about Raymond’s “Audience of Ten”. I was thinking about the audience at large. I was thinking about the people that randomly land on my site because of google searches. I was thinking about the people that happen to be looking for a topic that I happen to have had something to say about and just dropped in. I was NOT thinking about “core viewers” or “passionate viewers”. I wrote “Are You A Tech Elitist?” from the standpoint of someone that was focusing on the non-core and recognized a deficiency in my own core relations. With more and more Twitter followers and more and more Facebook and LinkedIn contacts, my time was being spent managing the social media masses instead of relating to the core. This is what brought me back to Raymond’s concept.

When I returned, however, I wasn’t focusing on the numbers being the difference. I was focusing on RELATIONSHIPS being the difference. The perfect example for me is my iTunes feed.

I receive stats on how many times each of my videos is pulled through iTunes. That number has never been higher than 30 within, say, 3 hours of a video release, and it’s currently sitting around 6 within the first hour. iTunes doesn’t give you any feedback about WHO IT IS that’s downloading your videos. Another thing is that when people use iTunes, they can take your show with them on their iPods or iPhones, so all you understand as the content creator is that there was one download of your video. That doesn’t mean that that person didn’t watch it 18 times and show it to their friends. So… In the mindset of focusing on the social media masses, I completely neglected my iTunes feed, meaning that as I redesigned, mentally catalyzed by Tyme White, I broke my link from my video category to my iTunes feed and didn’t bother to check it because “in the grand scheme of things”, it was only 6 people anyway, right?

I received my wake-up call when my friend Adrienne Brawley asked me “So… what happened to your iTunes feed?”

All of a sudden…. And I mean *ALL* of a sudden, I completely, fully and POSITIVELY understood WHY I needed to fix my feed, and WAY MORE IMPORTANTLY, I recognized the sector of the audience that’s important TO ME when I make videos or write posts. I suddenly realized that amongst the random hits I receive from people looking for dating advice or footage of snow in Manhattan, NYC, I have a few, VERY IMPORTANT hits that I get that are from people that are ACTUALLY INTERESTED in what I’ve said or done now. Interestingly enough, DoG glosses this over, because you delude yourself into believing that lots of people care, which makes everyone like fans in a stadium. It’s the opposite of not seeing the forest for the trees. It’s not seeing the individuals for the crowd.

What it’s about for me certainly isn’t “popularity”, as I told David. Popularity’s useful for people that just want to be admired by a bunch of people they have no relationship to. It’s about having a good conversation IRL with Kenyatta about a blog post we both commented on. It’s about Tim saying he enjoys my work. It’s about Lux being able to rattle off DatingGenius concepts to new people that hang out with us because she’s watched me DEMOLISH people with the DG Live Show so many times already and people always come up with the same arguments. It’s about instigating-ass Annie throwing me under the bus every chance she gets. It’s about Charles laughing with me over something I said or did on the net. It’s about Grace shaking her head when I break down “the real” to her. 😀

So, finally, I understand Raymond’s concept, and I agree with it for the most part. As I do videos going forward, I’m going to do them for the audience that I know I have and that I enjoy receiving feedback from. I might do them for individuals or I might do them for groups. I am NOT going to be focusing outside of that, however I welcome anyone who finds anything interesting to watch, give feedback or join in the fun. 🙂

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  1. Hey Bill,
    Really glad you linked your videos with itunes. Always enjoy checking out your mad FCP editing skills and your shots of NYC(Beautiful Day!). Almost like being there!

  2. Very nicely put Bill. You helped clear up a couple of things for me as I ponder some thoughts/ideas for a show/shows I am contemplating. Very much like the idea of visualizing the audience you hope/imagine is watching with the chance one day some of them may actually stumble across your content. It’s a great way to get me over that WHY hurdle. Because I have something valuable (IMO) to say that someone somewhere may benefit from. Considering the longtail, this could be next week or next year.

    Also, WHY I want to do this, for no money, and I imagine no reward (comments, feedback, the currency of the new social web) is to hone my skills, and for exposure, so that when the call comes for a commercial gig producing a live streamed new media show I have my ducks in a row. Sooner or later, this medium is going to become mainstream and bankable (I believe) Considering this point its almost irrelevant if one has an audience or not.


  3. Thanks for the comment and the props, Adam. 🙂

    The “Why” Hurdle is a large one, for sure. I’m going to have to do another post revisiting my own “why”, because I received some intersting feedback from my cousin about my post “Fame, Popularity & Star Power”. I think that my cousin and I have different opinions on what “Fame” actually is, and I’d like to take a more in-depth shot at an explanation of why I post to the net and what I personally get out of it.

    Basically, it’s just like you said. “Just in case”. Your website or whatever is your own personal resume. Anyone from here to Japan that wants to find out more about you, at least the amount that you broadcast to the world, can find out… All Day, Every Day.

    With as many new people as I meet every single week, it’s fantastic to not have to go over what I do again and again and again and again and again. I just tell them to google “Bill”, and my site comes right up. They can find out what they want and ignore the rest.

    As far as people I completely don’t know at all, and haven’t met, IRL or virtually, I really would have to have Delusions of Grandeur to believe that they were tuning in to watch something I did. Mostly, people land here from google searches for some topic they’re interested in, and they bounce right back out without checking out any other content. If I didn’t PRETEND that I have an audience, I would post videos for myself only. It would be a different type of ‘show’. I already know what I can do as an editor, so I have nothing to prove to myself by creating content. I already know all my dating advice, so I don’t have to post that either.

    The other good thing about posting content to the net is that like-minded people or people that do what you do or admire what you do have the chance to learn about you and eventually meet you one way or another. They also can see who you hang out with and react positively or negatively to that. 🙂

    Business-wise, honing skills and getting exposure and being prepared for business opportunities are all great reasons to create and post content. Fortunately for me, what I do for fun is also what I do for work, so it’s the best of both worlds. 🙂

    Cheers! 😀

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