How To Lose An Audience

Annoyed at all those darn people reading your blog? Sick of being poked and prodded by the John Q. Paparazzi? Tired of all that Ad Sense rolling in? Then have I got a solution for you!

In just a few easy steps, you can be rid of your audience once and for all:

1. Don’t be consistent. For years people have cultivated the habit of grabbing the newspaper off the rack, catching the news and tuning into their favorite television shows the same time each day. Even the most hardened individualist has significant habits. If your hell-bent on driving people away from your blog, the number one way to do it is to update your site sporadically or infrequently. If people know you post new content every Monday morning, there more likely to come back.

Think Pavlov. Monday rolls around, they visit your site, new content, interested reader. The following Monday they come again and find another delightful post. Ding. Bad news for those of you who don’t want readers. Kick back, have a lemonade. If you feel the urge to blog or start thinking of your life in terms of a blog post, watch some reruns of the Andy Griffith Show. A few days of slacking will surely drive them away.

2. Don’t offer anything worthwhile. Another reason your audience sticks around is because you have great ideas (or at least mediocre ideas with great words). Not surprisingly, people flock to “thought leaders” in this great, shiny Information Age. Throw them off with posts about how your life stinks or, even better, copy and paste entire song lyrics about suicide or relationships. People are busy these days, and the last thing they’re going to stick around for is how much you hate meatloaf. If you get a brilliant idea, take a walk. Go build something neat with Legos instead.

3. Don’t provoke a response. This point requires some serious work. People have a tendency to frequent articles about things they disagree with. The most read articles in the blogosphere are about controversial topics like abortion, gay rights and religion; and if you look in the comment section, most of them are arguments. So to protect yourself from the hordes (or, worse yet, the dreaded Digg effect), be sure your posts are chock-full-o-ambivalence.

Here’s a simple test to check yourself on this point: visit your local community college cafeteria and sit with the most diverse group of people you can find, preferably Bohemian-types (they love to argue). Then test it out on them; blurt it out a one-sentence summary of your post. If there’s a response; no good, rework the post. If they don’t look up from their hummus, BINGO! You’ve got yourself a winner!

4. Take yourself too seriously. There are over 300 million people blogs on the Internet at last count. A great way to lose your following is by acting like yours is more important than the other 299.999999 million. Use phrases like, “if they only knew the power I hold over their reputation with my blog, they’d have treated me better” and “I’m sooooo destroying your reputation”. Never use smilies and never, ever, ever admit you were wrong. If you apologize on your site, you might as well get a dedicated server. People respect honesty and your dreams of a miniscule audience would be shattered.

5. Hate what your writing about. This is a last ditch effort if all else fails. If you’ve tried all of the other steps and still seem to be bringing them in, shift gears. Run a week long series on the square root of imaginary numbers. Chronicle the number of intersections in New Jersey. Prove the Pythagorean Theorem. Whatever you don’t like most, make that your next project. Your disdain for your subject matter is bound to seep out to your soon-to-be-ex-readers.

Now, these aren’t magic, folks. They take some hard work. But you got yourself into this mess and you can get yourself out. Just think boring, pretentious, insipid, inconsistent thoughts and your audience will disappear (or your money back!)

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