No Buzz on Buzz? You Have My Sympathies, Jeff.

What’s it like when you put out your “best stuff” and its greeted with not much? Jeff Cann brings this up in his latest post, Buzz, revisited. He loves Buzz, spent a lot of time and energy on it, and when he posted it last week, there was little response, far less than for others of his pieces that are less significant to him.

I’m only 7 months into this blogging adventure, and I’ve had this happen more than once. I work on something and get it so I really like it, I feel like I’m communicating what I want to communicate; a piece of my heart and soul is out there on the page. And the response from the blogosphere is a collective yawn. I don’t know what that’s about, but I have a few ideas.

For me, when I read a deeper piece, I often want to ponder it for a while before I write a more thoughtful response, which leads to a time delay. Today illustrates this well. I was writing this post in my mind as I headed to the Y for yogalates class. Once set up in the yoga room, I jogged around the track a bit, and started dictating this post into the WP app on my phone. After class, I went to my office to see a client, thinking I would finish this post before my client’s arrival.

The internet was down, so instead of posting, I worked on getting the modem reset for the building. Then I met with my client, which went longer than anticipated. Getting home later than planned, I ate lunch and then went upstairs to work. In the interim, my rough draft had disappeared from my phone. A pretty long winded way of saying life sometimes gets in the way. My response to Jeff’s post could have easily not happened. If I didn’t have this post in mind, it may well have died of thwarted good intentions.

Another thought I have about this is that the more specific a story is, the more some folks may not resonate with it, or as happened for me with Buzz, I read it, and while I appreciated the writing, the feeling harkened to time and experiences that are far enough in an unpleasant backwater of my life that I had an aversive reaction. Think cleaning up a room the morning after a party, with the stench of spilled beer and bong water.

Its interesting to me now to realize that’s why I didn’t respond the first time. In going back, per your request, Jeff, I’ve learned something more about myself and a depth of reaction I was unaware of at the time of first reading Buzz. Powerful writing, and I do have a response, and my limited initial response may have be due to the circumstances under which I first read it, likely while eating my lunch at work. Sometimes I’m in a reflective space then, sometimes I’m not.

This has been an interesting experience, reading and re-reading Buzz and pondering this issue. Intellectually, I am aware that responses or lack thereof to my work may have little to do with the piece, and be more reflective of the reader. Depending on how much I have invested in a piece that may be a perspective that is difficult to access. It also occurs to me that if on occasion it feels like the readers have missed the boat, reposting and asking for a second look could be an interesting approach. I certainly learned something from today’s process.

And there’s the even riskier approach of headlining something on first post: Big deal, this matters more than usual, please read!  I’m not sure I’m ready to run that experiment just yet.


11 thoughts on “No Buzz on Buzz? You Have My Sympathies, Jeff.

  1. I love this reflective piece. I think you are spot on that what a reader brings to the reading is just as important as what was written. Rosenblatt’s Reader Response Theory resonates here. In a nutshell, there is a transaction between what the reader brings to the piece and the author’s intended meaning. She talks about aesthetic and efferent reading. Aesthetic where you are concerned with more of the emotional response and how or why you have connected to it. Efferent reading, where your concern is more about taking away information.There are times that I’ll be reading a post and realize, that I need to stop and come back at another time to read it. Often it is because I’m not feeling a connection to what I am reading or my head is somewhere else and I don’t feel I am doing the writer justice. I’ll come back and read another time and quite often feel a connection and a greater appreciation of what the writer is trying to say.

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    1. I heard an author talking about this on NPR today. The interviewer was discussing what he took away from a story and the author said he didn’t intend that. But only half of the story’s meaning comes from the author. The rest comes from the reader. I like this theory. With infinite readers, there are infinite possible meanings to a story.

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  2. I agree, “I am aware that responses or lack thereof to my work may have little to do with the piece, and be more reflective of the reader” — sometimes I write a post (like the one I wrote today) and it really strikes a chord with someone, intensely.

    There’s no way to know which is one reason I don’t write specifically to please readers. I’ve been doing this for I think maybe almost 5 years and I don’t have a lot of followers. Some of the followers I have have long fallen off the WordPress train. BUT after 35+ years teaching college and university and trying to make a random assortment of bosses happy with me, I’m done with that. 🙂

    I think my most read post is the one where I alluded to the absurd modern practice of injecting fat into one’s posterior so as to create a more baboonlike derriere.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. yes, I noticed the intense dialogue on your post today, and was happy to see that your conversation appeared to make a difference for that reader. I remind myself often of my purpose in writing is to write, learn and grow, and not to do so for others approval. fine if it happens, but its not the point.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. and it made a difference to your reader. I’ve had a number of experiences where something I said in passing I found out years later was transformational for a listener. It keeps me a bit more aware of my tongue, which can get sarcastic at times.

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  3. Steph, I love it when I read a blog post and I immediately run off and write one of my own. I think it’s equally awesome to be inspired and an inspiration. Many of the comments on Buzz, revisited touched on the subject matter as a barrier to liking or commenting on Buzz. It left me with a similar uncomfortable feeling which is what prompted me to spend so much time on it. The more real it seemed, the more visceral my reaction became. Thank you for not only taking the time to think about and comment on my story, but also to write so much about it. I’m honored.

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