An Audience of One

A new direction was needed. It was bollocks. It was becoming a – or already was – a pretentious attempt to intellectualise and blow a simple-yet-pretty-good idea out of all proportion. Thinking about it makes me angry and a bit silly; it’s funny, it’s actually really funny.

*deep breath*

I became the self-appointed King of of absolutely fucking nothing, and in my desperate attempt not to lose my crown into the chasm of no appreciation I over-reached and over-sold. I started playing up to my vision of who I wanted my subjects to be. A square peg in a round hole. No-one cares.

In making myself believe that there was actual, real interest in an poorly-written and actual quite boring Bachelor project I wrote back in 2005 was just ridiculous. The same goes for my Obama thesis, which in fairness is much better and quite an enjoyment to re-edit and add pictures. The Kerouac thing’s a chore, and doesn’t make sense, and isn’t about what I initially say it is in the opening section. Still, they’re mine, I spent a lot of time on them, I’m kind of proud of them, so I’m going to do it. That was the initial thought behind it. That’s what had become completely lost.

However, stats start rolling in. Who’s been reading, what country they’re from, what stories they’ve read etc. Someone out there “likes” it! Someone left a comment! Someone favourites it on Twitter and you ejaculate so much you at first begin to choke on it, then you develop gills and start to immerse yourself in your own sticky, fluids on a daily basis. One thing lead to another and I started writing about myself in third person like a cunt. Like I’m some big-shot someone who someone else has written a short bio of to give an impression of importance, like there’s a team involved and I’m the LEADER. Christ.

Then the Facebook page gets created and daydreams of thousands of likes and contributions and comments and me, there, naked, erect, important, waving a flag with my face on it with the pole shoved firmly up my backside. Hoards of lovers loving me and what I have to say, my call for understand and appreciation had finally been answered – the internet, what a fucking joke.

It gets worse. I begged.

I begged people to like the Facebook page. Why? Because they didn’t. They didn’t like it. So I told them to. If they did, then they would have clicked “Like.” I’ve got a few Facebook “friends” over 100. 28 of them like the Page. Over 50% of those I made do it. I didn’t get it. They didn’t like it, that’s why they didn’t ‘Like’ it. So why fucking ask them? That wasn’t enough though. My actual, real friends that know me and to some degree actually, really like me, weren’t interested and I still didn’t get the message. I wasn’t getting enough love. The spotlight was whizzing past and I was leaping tall buildings in a single bound in order to catch up to it. It continued to elude me, so I begged again. This time, I begged the internet.

Reddit and N4G – If I could just get a few people interested there, then that, of course, would build some kind of following. A following, like Jesus of Nazareth. Thousands of disciples a could perform word-miracles for. Word miracles in the form of a dry, academic study of one man’s motivation to be a weirdo or an analysis of a comic absolutely no-one’s interested in. “If you build it, he will come,” the voice promised. So I tried to go one better and and tried to go out and actually kidnap the fucking people and bring them to my house bound and gagged. “READ IT! READ IT! IT’S FUCKING GOOD! TELL ME IT’S FUCKING GOOD AND THAT YOU*LL READ THE NEXT ONE AND I’LL LET YOU GO!” etc. At knife point. With a picture of their kids in my hand, salty tears making tracks down my unappreciated, fat cheeks. Unbelievable.

The inevitable happened there too, of course. No-one fucking liked any of it. Loads of Reddit down-votes and N4G, let’s face it, is without a shadow of doubt the largest barrel of monkeys on the internet. They only made it worse. They clicked on it out of some knee-jerk reaction. One story gave me nearly 500 hits. FIVE HUNDRED. Electricity pylons in Denmark wiled under the added server pressure, cats and dogs, people started buying gallons of water and shotguns. Then it all trails off, the alarms stop ringing. Wasteland. Nothingness. No-one’s looking and those that did weren’t really that interested.

You’re not unique, you’re not saying anything anyone cares about. No-one has asked you, you are not filling a niche, you will not making a living out of it.

Put your clothes on. Take that flag pole out of your arse. Go home. Write something worthwhile. Something you care about Write as though no-one’s watching. That should be the challenge. That’s real work. Getting people to read it comes much, much later – maybe never. Writing for me – the audience of one – that’s the goal.

So it all had to stop.

So I’ve stopped it.

Nothing’s really changed on the outside, and not much will change in terms of output, either.. I’m going to continue to post whatever I feel like posting – just without the audience. The alt Twitter account is deleted, the Tumblr gone, the FB page is going to go too. All of it. People follow Mike Bowden on Twitter and people “like” Mike Bowden on Facebook. I’ll share what I do with them, and if they read it, it’s up to them. But I’m not going to write for them. I’m going to write and post because I want to.

I’m an English teacher who desperately wants tot be able to write his thoughts down in some capacity. That’s what this blog is for and hopefully, even when there’s 0 readers for weeks on end, I won’t even notice or care.

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