You are that man on the City Circle tram, my first reader that ‘came out’ in person, holding my arm so I didn’t fall as the tram jerked around the corner, telling me you’ve been reading since you saw me on Business Chic.
You are the stranger on Facebook who told me you relate to my stories of Ichthyosis because you also have the condition, and had not spoken about it much until my article.
You are the stylish corporate who strutted across the tram tracks, telling me you love my blog as we passed each other in the peak hour crowd.
You are the colleague in the lift who made my other colleagues realise there’s more to me than my day job.
You are the musician’s manager, encouraging his support act to read my work.
You are the diner in the restaurant, telling me you’d hope you’d meet me there after seeing my pictures from the next room on Instagram.
You are the stranger my parents gave my card to – a Miss Australia Winner – emailing me out of the blue.
You are the senior manager who told me you’ve been reading my blog over the long weekend, and I should look to be published more widely.
You are the boy who teased me at school, reading and then apologising, and who would later become a lover.
You are one of my favourite singers, sharing my work as I’ve told the world about your perfect voice and lyrics.
You are the shopper in Borough Market who excitedly called my name with that broad Australian accent, making me forget I was in London for a minute.
You got to know me through my words, and now you’re one of my very best friends. There’s many of you.
You are my blog reader.
Thank you for doing and saying so.
I was at an event the other night and someone I had just met asked me what I do. I’m a writer, I told them. “That’s right”, they said, “I’ve read your writing before”. And the night continued with similar conversations. A fellow public servant told me she has used my writing as a resource in her department’s diversity policy (a big compliment!). A young woman asked me for advice on becoming confident in despite of her chronic illness. And I don’t want to seem arrogant, but I want to share this with you:
I met a teenager studying year 12. She told me she was “a big fan” of me after reading my article in Frankie. The level of excitement she showed upon meeting me was about the same as when I’ve met Darren Hayes. She was extremely excited! So cute! She told me she wanted to be a journalist when she finishes school. I encouraged her to start a blog.
Though these were brief meetings, I took some time to ask these people about themselves. I wanted to know about them. What brought them to the event? What are they hoping to do in their lives? Will they let me know about their journeys after the event?
I was saying, there’s a strange power imbalance in being a blogger. People know a lot about me because of my online presence, and when I meet them, I know nothing about them. Often the meetings are so fleeting. They excitedly tell me they read my blog, I thank them, and most of the time they rush off when I’d really love to stop and chat. I want to get to know my readers.
I was also saying on twitter that I will never cease allowing anonymous commenters, because so often they leave the most golden, powerful comments. Writing a blog and enabling anonymous commenters seems to give people permission to share their personal stories. I love that. Thank you.
Blogging is like a one-way window. You see me, you know me, but I don’t often know you. And I want to know who you are.
So tell me:
Who are you? What brings you to my blog? What are your dreams? Tell me a secret. How are you going to change the world?
Be anonymous or share your name. Tell me about you.