Prosumers, or Who Helps Tell Your Story
We had a good albeit quiet Memorial Day weekend. May has been an exhausting month, so we wanted to take it easy. We played outside, planted flowers and did some cleaning. And I can’t tell you more than that. I really, really, really want to share something the toddler is doing, but I can’t because it is one of those stories that will humiliate Daniel when he’s older, and I’m trying hard to be mindful about what I post about him. I’m a shameful tease, but I shouldn’t and won’t share even though OMG I could use some commiseration or even the knowledge that it gave you a chuckle.
Ohhh look! Pretty flowers!
So Mel has been posting a series on external validation, blogging and where to draw the line about what stories you tell and about whom. Most of her posts in this series have centered around her children, but today’s post made me think about the relationship between the blogger and the reader. Mel explains that in any post or written piece, there is the producer, the consumer and the subject. In blogging, the producer would be the writer. The consumer is the reader, and the subject could be the producer, the producer’s children or anyone. I argue that the reader, in posting comments and having dialogue with the blogger, is becoming both a content consumer AND producer. Producer + Consumer = Prosumer.
What I’m curious about is how the prosumer is interacting with your story, even becoming part of the story you put out there and dictating content. For example, one of the commenters on a post I read today called out the blogger for not addressing something the commenter thought was important to address. What shocked me was the sense of ownership the commenter’s tone implied. Like the blogger owed the commenter something in the post she published. I’ve also read other commenters telling bloggers that their content is slipping or that they’ve rehashed the same topics over and over and please move on.
Whose story is being told here? Does the ability to comment on someone’s blog imply that you have invested in them and have the right to dictate how and what they write about? Where is the line between the blogger and the commenter in the story being told?
It makes me wonder if we are starting to forget that bloggers are real people telling their (mostly) real stories instead of fictional characters in a book or story. Maybe it’s the voyeurism inherent in reading a personal blog that makes it start to seem like reality television. We watch the story unfold. If we don’t like it, we change the channel. Except with a blog, we also have the ability to interact and tell the blogger what we liked and disliked about a post and maybe over time, that becomes a command to write about this, not that.
I’m still working through this thought experiment, so I don’t have any answers. A few questions for you though!
- Do your readers help co-produce your narrative on your blog?
- How do you handle demands on what you write or don’t write on your blog?
- How have you seen the relationship between blogger and reader change over the last few years?