I got some feedback in the past week that led to an email conversation that leads me to this blog.
In most newsletters and magazines I put out into the world, I ask for reader feedback. “Please tell me if you like what you read – but especially if you don’t”.
One email I got this week was along the lines, “It seems to me as though you have confidence issues, and I find it annoying that every time I open the magazine, there it is again – ‘give me feedback’. Stress less mate, you are like a child that needs continual reassurance. Mate it is fine. Here’s a pat on the back mate. Soldier on, and fuck what the multitudes think. You’re doing ok.”
I knew this man meant well, but, his feedback deserved a response. So this is what I said…
“You are a very perceptive chappie. I do, to some extent, suffer from confidence issues. But, I think it’s a bit more deep-rooted than simply just confidence in what I produce. I am and have always been very proud of what I produce, especially when I go back and review older stuff that’s been flushed out of my editorial system after a couple of years, I think, “Damn, that’s not half bad”.
“My lack of confidence is probably more to do with the fact that, 12 years in, I still can’t earn a living off this thing. That said, my new plan of building bigger and better web sites etc is looking promising.
“But here’s a thing – I’ve been learning a lot about how to make on-line communities work properly (from podcast ‘experts’) and they all agree that ‘audience engagement’ is a key element.
“Apparently I have to open dialogue with my audience – interact with them – ask for feedback and answer their emails when they come etc etc
“It all makes perfect sense too.
“Essentially, what I’m trying to do is build a community and get people involved. And having a one-way conversation, where I pump good stuff out but get no feedback – good or bad – is anti that. I need people to send me feedback (good or bad) and need people to comment on web-site posts and Facebook posts etc etc
“I need – and want – to engage my audience in conversation.
“That’s why I am actually very grateful for your feedback – which I will take on board and, maybe, instead of just endlessly asking for feedback, I should explain why it’s important to me.”
And the man (his name was Joe) wrote back…
“How uninformed and ignorant of me. I had no idea of your intentions, regarding engaging your audience. I think that it is a great idea to inform your readers of your plans and intentions, to engage in conversation.
“And on the subject of making a living, I don’t perceive that you are really in this to make big bucks. I would be more inclined to believe that you are very passionate, about your interest in military journalism.
“In saying that, I hope that you strike gold soon enough. All the best mate.”
So, Joe displayed superior perception again. Yes, CONTACT is a passion for me. If it wasn’t I would have (and probably should have) walked away from it years ago.
But, I didn’t. I rode the ups and downs and I’m still here.
But I will add that no matter how passionate I am about CONTACT, I can only continue doing it because Mrs CONTACT is 100% supportive.
And so are our fans – even if you don’t send feedback, good or bad!
But, I need your feedback, your conversation, your support.
So please – if you want us (i.e. CONTACT) to succeed – especially in our new and growing on-line domain – you must engage with us either here on the web site or on Facebook or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org