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Don’t Hate on Your Audience

I keep hearing this from various creators in very public spaces, and now I’m just going to get mouthy about it: don’t hate on your audience.

I am sick of hearing “gamers/readers/viewers are dumb/annoying/entitled/etc.” If you’re one of those people, here are four possible solutions to your “problem:”

Influence Your Audience to Change

If you have a problem with your audience, try to be the change you want to see. That starts with treating them like they’re worth your time and respect, and show them how to be those people. It’s a long game, but it’s not unobtainable.

Does that sounds like too much work? Bummer, but luckily for you I have other solutions!

Change Your Audience

Maybe if you change what you’re doing and start making stuff for a completely different set of people, you’ll find less frustration in your life. Now, to some degree you have the “people are people everywhere” bit, so some things won’re appear to change. But different crowds have different sets of expectations and learned behaviors, and more importantly they might not have much knowledge of what you used to do and the sort of audience issues you’ve had in the past.

Hey, it could work. But again, that’s a lot of work to shift in a dramatically different audience.

Quit

This is not a joke. If you’re constantly complaining about the people you sell to (especially if you rely on it for your livelihood), quit. Get out of it. If you’re not happy, you’re just going to keep making the people you make stuff for unhappy with you and drag down the spirits of colleagues. Don’t be that guy. Take the talents you’ve gained and apply them to some other vocation, or take some time off for yourself. Whatever you can afford to do.

Finally, if you can’t change people, move to a new audience, or quit…

Shut the Fuck Up

Bitching about your audience in public spaces just shows you have contempt for people you’re vying for the attention of, and makes those people who would otherwise be your fans or colleagues look at you as a barrel of toxicity.

I get that we all need to vent from time to time.[1] Trust me, I do often on IM or over a beer. But if you’re so bitter and filled with contempt for your audience that your personal message is inseparable from your bitterness, it’s time for a change. Because by that time, no one believes you give a shit about the people you’re making stuff for, and that means no one believes you’ll deliver something worth their time and money.

And maybe don’t drag others down into your hole of bitterness with you.

Addendum: You may find that by keeping that to yourself and to private venues, you actually start to like humanity a bit more. That happened to me.

- Ryan

[1] On one hand, this is venting (with loads of typos). On another, it’s also a plea to those people to just stop being so bitter and hateful in public.

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4 Responses to Don’t Hate on Your Audience

  1. Jared Nelson says:

    Well said. I’m always astonished by creators that think part of being ‘authentic’ online also means denigrating their audience. An audience is a privilege. It’s not for anyone’s ego, or personal search engine, or to validate every single bit of output.

  2. John Powell says:

    Where’s the +1 button? Man I hate ‘effing blogs… ;^)

  3. Wayne Coburn says:

    I love this post. It’s brillant. I think I might have stressed “quit” more because if you hate your audience to the point your perceived as a troll, you should have a heart-to-heart with yourself and ask why you’re still doing a job you hate.