Who is your Audience?

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts…” – Shakespeare (who else!)

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When you tell a story, who is the story for?

When you talk, who is your listener?

When you write, who is your reader?

When you think… who is your audience for your thoughts?

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One of the first pieces of advice which I received about blogging was to figure out who I was blogging for. Who I was talking to in my posts? Who was the reader of my writing? Who was the browser of my blog? Who was (and is) my audience?

For those of you who just read the paragraph above and are still reading even though you don’t have a blog and aren’t interested in blogging, or posts about bloggers discussing blogging – this post is not about blogging.

Bloggers can get caught up in blogging about blogging because a part of their audience is other bloggers who are interested in the blogging part of the blogosphere. If a blogger blogs about blogging, they’re likely to get more ‘hits’ from other bloggers which they can see on their post and in their stats.

Blogging is similar to other types of human interactions.  When we get a reaction which we view as positive for something we did or said, or both, we may do it again and again because we want more of the reaction which we got from it… because it feeds and nourishes us, encourages us to keep doing and/or saying what we are doing and/or saying.

Narcissistic? Please press the ‘Sigh!’ button now (dear programmers, we need a ‘Sigh!’ button).

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charlie-brown-sigh

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Sometimes in life our listener, our audience, and keeping their attention focused on us becomes more important to us than what we are saying or doing. We may stop listening to ourselves and only listen to others who are telling us who to be for them, what to say for them, what to do for them, so that they will keep liking us, following us, being interested in us.

Basically we’re only interested in them so that they’ll be interested in us (I got into trouble for saying this a while back on Twitter –  I was talking about someone else, but someone listening (should I put listening in quotes?) to my story about someone else thought I was talking about them and made it all about them and insisted that my story was all about them even when they confronted me and I explained that it wasn’t it had nothing to do with them, I wasn’t thinking about them (I had forgotten all about them in that moment – Gasp!), I was thinking about me and this story was all about me, but… – Sigh!)

This tactic of catering to an audience can be very successful if your goal is to be popular. You’re listening to what those who make people popular, the populace, want and you’re supplying their demand. That should make you popular to popular demand, right?

Maybe. It works for some…

However it doesn’t work for everyone.

The magic formula only works magic for some people, not for everyone.

I recently read that entrepreneurs who make multi-millions succeed because they think their ideas are brilliant and possible rather than focus on how impossible and stupid they may seem. They put their efforts into what is right rather than waste time=effort on what is wrong.

Another magic formula which works for some but not everyone. Is magic fickle? Does it have likes and dislikes too?

It can be a perplexing puzzle for those who try doing it the magic formula way who don’t get the expected miraculous results. They’ve followed the instructions after reading them carefully, but the thing they are using isn’t working the way it promised them that it would if they used it exactly as instructed.

You read the secrets of successful people, did exactly what they told you do to… so why aren’t you successful? Did the successful people only pretend to share their secrets with you (and became even more successful for doing so), but they kept the real secret of their success to themselves? Or is their success the result of something else? Such as selling you a pipe dream – which you bought hook, line and sinker… and now you’re angry at yourself for being naive and buying their storytelling lie. You’re so angry at yourself that you’re furious at them. The lying liars!!! The hustling hustlers!!! The successful successors… you’ve found them out but you’re still a failing failure and they’re still on top… of you, gloating and laughing about it!

So you then search for instructions on how to get revenge on those who lied to you, who sold you a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow and it was all a narcissistic way to get from you what you thought you were getting from them. The inglorious bast…tet worshippers!

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I can haz... success

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Ouch!

We’ve all been there, done that… and usually have more than one T-shirt (including scars) to prove it.

We get very angry at people who lie to us, at those who abuse our trust. But our rage at them is more about our fury at ourselves, for being naive, for trusting, for feeling foolish that we trusted, for fooling ourselves, betraying ourselves… no, no, we don’t want to hear this, we want to hear something else, where things makes us good and others bad, because we’re all a bit black or white that way!

The best and most successful liars are the ones who keep their lies simple and simply tell us what we want to hear – they sell us our dreams, wishes, hopes, and secret desires. They don’t actually need to do anything more than tap into our psyche a little bit, we’ll do the rest, we’ll do all the grunt work. We’ll take their words and turn them into a story which we’ve always wanted to hear and be true. A good salesman lets us sell whatever it is to ourselves. All they need to do is to find and push that button – which is easy because we’re always pointing at it even when we think we’ve hidden it.

I recently came across an article which claimed to investigate this phenomena… I have no idea if it did because I stopped reading after the second paragraph (just like some of those who clicked on this post and then clicked away again – perhaps only because there were too many words). I read some words which I did not want to hear, and that was it for me. I was an audience member who was lost.

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not listening

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Now, some people, myself included sometimes, actually like to read and listen to what they don’t want to hear. It depends on, many things, like which ear is listening, which side of the brain is activated and is most active in our lives, in the way we communicate and relate and are communicated with and related to… and variations of that theme. Our reasons for it may be the same or different, or the same and different. We’re all unique yet also a part of the collective – that is what joins us and separates us simultaneously.

We’re also all part audience and part ‘on stage’. To really enjoy a performance, a part of you has to relate to both sides of the equation, because then all of you is interested.

The greatest storytellers involve us in the telling of the story as much as they appeal to us in the listening to the story. We’re in all of it, immersed, an attentive listener as well as being the one who is speaking.

Think about it, when you read, the words being read are relayed to you through your own voice inside your head. You give voice to the words of others… and the tone (and other things) which you use when doing so dictates whether you’ll listen or not. Sounds like my mom… my dad… my teacher… my ex… my crush… my obsession…. So you are as much a storyteller (a story-relayer) as you are the listener to the story being told. You’re an active participant even when you consider yourself not to be.

If you can’t do that, can’t hear the words being told to you in your own voice… you probably won’t listen.

The best storytellers know this… the best liars know this too.

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betrayal... from withinand it doesn’t come from your friends… unless you consider yourself to be your friend… or enemy.

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I sometimes point out that narcissists have empathy – I have also echoed the more popular view that they lack empathy. Am I confused about this, is that why I say one thing then contradict myself? No, yes… no and yes.

Empathy – is one of those words which has so many meanings it is verging on meaning nothing at all.

Our interpretations of words change over time – often due to popular usage, which may be wrong but then it becomes right. We’re not all using the same dictionary or interpretation. The most popular storytellers use words, and ideas, in their most popular form and interpretation. The least popular storytellers use the same words, and ideas, in a way which is obscure to those who hear their stories. It may have been popular, the popular meaning, a few years ago… but things have changed. Vampires… still bloodsuckers, but now they’re sparkly and look very attractively human, whereas before they wore too much creepy make-up and were funny-weird-scary-which-became-funny-haha.

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Then-and-NowAnd this doesn’t include the ‘then’ before this version of ‘then’…nor does it include ‘now’ in the future which will look back on this version of ‘now’ and ask the same thing.

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Frankly the more I hear about what others say that empathy is (and isn’t), the more the word empathy becomes synonymous with sympathy, and the various interpretations of that. To me they are not synonymous, and sometimes I see them as possible antonyms. And in the end I really don’t know what empathy means anymore… which may be a good thing, or not.

There you go… communication interrupted and possibly disrupted. For good, for bad, for… FS!

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When I tell a story, who is it for?

When I talk, who is my listener?

When I write, who is my reader?

When I think… who is the audience for my thoughts?

Who is my audience?

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Whom do you think?

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I asked someone this question – who is your audience? – recently… can you guess what their reaction was?

Was their reaction what yours would have been?

Perhaps you need me to flesh out the story before you answer that…

When you tell a story, and someone listens to it, not only listens but remembers what you’ve said, partly because they have a good memory and are an attentive listener and partly because what you said was in writing, but you (perhaps) forget what you’ve said and that you put it in writing and can’t delete it, take a break from this listener then return and tell them the same story again only this time you’ve changed it in a manner which contradicts your original version of it (but the original version still exists in print), and the listener compares the different versions which you’ve told (in their memory and in print) and finds that the story, which is now several different stories, seem to not only contradict each other but point back to the storyteller and the storyteller’s view of their audience… and perhaps the fact that the storyteller likes telling stories but not listening to themselves but not their audience (they not interested in their audience other than for what they get from them), because if they did they would be as perplexed as their audience and as questioning as their audience is of tales told. They’re not listening to their audience or themselves, they’re just listening to a story being told, too their compulsion to tell, but not to what the story is they are telling is telling… which is telling… a story of its own, separate and conjoined.

Everything is connected… people say that quite often, it is a popular saying, but do they connect the dots, listen to those dots and their connections, or do they just like saying – Everything is connected.

Now.

Then.

Here.

There.

The past, present and future connect… sometimes earlier than expected because we live in superfast communication times where time travel is not only possible but…

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Time travel only on ThursdaysDoes that means this past Thursday or the one before that?

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ps. This Spinning Yarns prompt reminds me of Ripping Yarns – loved those stories!