The Internet is People, listen instead of analyze

WordPress doesn’t blog.

Google doesn’t tell you anything.

Twitter doesn’t tweet your work.

LinkedIn doesn’t endorse you.

Pageviews don’t comment.

Facebook doesn’t like you.

Your audience is a collection of people.

I don’t write for evaluators. I write for Trina, Rhonda, Karen, Amanda, David, Stephanie, Ivan, Ann, Sheila, Alana, Pablo, Katherine, Sharon, Molly, Ray and so many others (I’m sorry that I can’t list all of you here).

The same goes for those of you that are nonprofiters, analysts, academics, researchers, communicators, designers, data visualizers, and on and on. Because you respond and follow, I can see you when I write.

You can group your audience together and place them in a category. You can use that category description when telling others about your blog or your presentation or your report. But at the end of the day, you’re not trying to reach that category, you’re trying to reach those people.

The Internet is People!

Connecting personally online is different.

It’s easier to connect with your audience when you’re presenting live.  You get the benefit of eyeballs, facial expressions, and body language.

The signs of engagement online are different.  There is no physical line forming at the back of the room after your presentation.  But the signs are there.

And it has very little to do with your analytics page.  On the web, quantitative is often both easy and of little worth.  It’s finding the qualitative that requires the hard work.

They must love my blog, "class, I want you to visit what may be the ugliest blog on the web"

Listening and Responding

When you present, do you only take questions from the most exuberant audience members?  Or do you also look for subtle hand raises.  Maybe you make yourself available after the session, because you know some audience members don’t feel comfortable asking their question during the presentation.

The web’s like that too you know.  Many of your most loyal followers will hardly ever comment, but it doesn’t mean they’re not listening.

They show it, just in different ways. Sometimes it’s a retweet.  Sometimes it’s a like.  Sometimes it’s a brief mention in a blog post.  Sometimes it’s a brief hello at a conference. Sometimes it’s an email.

If you listen to mentions, if you ask for feedback, if you acknowledge and respond to tweets and likes, if you make yourself available through email, you’ll learn more about your audience than you ever will on your analytics page.

Hi, I love your blog.  Eep my pageview is talking to me what do I do?

Reaching an audience with a network approach and Infographic first steps.

I’m in the process of writing my first two guides for my patrons.

The first guide is on an audience reaching strategy I call the network approach.  The approach really takes this whole Internet is People thing to heart.  A lot of you have reports or presentations you want to get to specific audiences, this should help you do that.

The second guide is a response to the questions I get about where to start when developing infographics.  It’s going to lay out a course for those who want an infographic but don’t know what to do first.

Both of these guides will lead into my first webinar later this month.

Possible Next Steps

  • Comment
  • Write out a list of some of your current readers (by name not category)
  • Think about the types of people you would like to reach.  Write out their names.
  • Share this post 🙂


  1. karen on February 11, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks Chris!

    I write for….A list of about 2 people on a good day lol, but this is a great exercise. I’ve done this and it’s helping me with moving in another direction. I love keeping the conversation going beyond the Annual Conference and your questions and cartoons really help.


    • Chris Lysy on February 12, 2014 at 9:53 am

      Thanks Karen,
      If you can specifically identify 2 people, I think you’re ahead of the game. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to reach the world that you can sometimes end up reaching nobody.