WIP: Reflections on audience building

Here are a few reflections after building two separate online audiences with 1000+ followers (comfort and offlinemark).

Audiences require active maintenance .

  • If you don’t actively maintain the audience by regularly posting content, the actual effective audience size declines over time (despite the concrete number staying the same) as audience members become inactive on the platform.

They grow in fits in bursts.

  • In my experience, the audience growth was not linear, but occurred in fits and bursts of about a hundred followers for major events or releases. Sometimes things just pop off. For offlinemark there were a few major events that got me several hundreds of followers each time. Plus, these tweets sometimes get retweeted and have second lives on the internet, getting me a bunch of new followers for free.
    • Demand paging blog post
    • /proc/self/mem blog post
    • Git tweet about referencing commits by commit message
    • Thread about forking being unsafe in real-time contexts due to page faults
    • A few other tweets.

Audiences grow within some specific context where you’ve established reputation, and do not engage with content that’s outside that context.

  • offlinemark is within the technical context and other kinds of content like about my music or other thinking is not engaged with nearly as much.

Releasing content to a large audience can be very distracting.

  • It’s extremely difficult to have content being going viral and not be glued to your notifications.
  • What if you’re wrong in a major way? What if you’re getting cancelled somehow for something you said?
  • At the very least, it’s an incredible amount of dopamine and affirmation that takes immense self control to not bask in.

Any thoughts?