Lonely Writer, Anonymous Reader

In February I taught a series of MoneyWays classes to a school on behalf of Diversion. During these lessons we discuss money with pupils and students, where as a peer-educator, as my position is called, I am open about my own money matters. One of the things we share with the students is our stumbling blocks, in other words, everything that does not always go well in, in this case, the financial area. One of my stumbling blocks is that I never look at my money when a band or artist announces a concert; if I want to go, I immediately buy a ticket, without looking at the money in my account. A number of students thought that was strange; why should I go to concerts when I might as well watch live streams or recordings of old concerts on the internet? Meanwhile I am actually at home watching those live streams and old concert recordings. After all, all concerts have been cancelled. I eventually followed the advice of the students.

What is particularly striking about the live streams of musicians is that they miss the interaction with the audience. After all, once they’ve played a song, there’s no applause or reaction from the audience. Rea Garvey has solved this by doing his weekly live sessions on Thursday evening together with his wife, so that at least she can cheer and applaud after every song, which she always does. John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls has livestreamed with guests on Instagram several times; after all, Instagram offers the possibility to live stream together with two accounts. They are then talking to each other, while the audience watches the conversation and sees both people through a split screen. That way John Rzeznik gets a little direct reaction to his music. But there are also plenty of artists who, despite these possibilities, still miss the reaction of the audience, no matter how often the viewers send an applause emoticon in the chat.

Frankly, I recognized myself quite well in this situation, especially under the current circumstances where you don’t physically meet and speak to anyone on a regular basis. I publish several articles per month, but the substantive extensive responses to them are sometimes minimal. And I don’t even mean the number of views, because that’s fine. No, I mean the really substantive responses. Opinions and thoughts that are shared, and from which I can also learn. Fortunately I have some very fanatical followers who often have a substantive response, which is very nice, but which can certainly be expanded. With that I mean the number of responses, not the length.

But don’t get me wrong at all. This isn’t a criticism on the reader, but more of an objective for myself. As I have written before I want to add an interactive element to the website. A place where as a write I and the hitherto anonymous reader can meet. Give and take. I don’t want to focus on visitor numbers and website statistics. For me this only indicates whether my articles are being read. But more is needed to know whether they actually arrive.

That’s why I am looking for a form of feedback, a form of interaction. I don’t need to receive an external confirmation that I am doing well or not. I do get that confirmation from myself by looking critically at myself. Rather it’s to accomplish one of the underlying goals of this website. I considered putting a like button at the bottom of my articles, or any other way that readers can rate the article, for example by giving a number of stars as a review. But this completely goes against what I intended this website for.

My goal is to be anything but superficial. An example is the coverart challenge, where I have tried to turn a superficial event into a more in-depth article in which I have explained a bit more and challenge readers to think about it themselves. That was certainly successful, although it’s not visible on the website, since many friends sent their comments via WhatsApp. For me that’s the place where I spam all my friends with links to articles on my website. And as long as they haven’t all subscribed to my newsletter, I will continue to do so. It’s still tolerated for the time being.

Nevertheless, there are certainly nice and interesting reactions, which also provide some interactivity with readers. For example, a friend challenged me to participate in the 30 Day Song Challenge, but because of its superficial content I decided to make one myself, which I am still busy with. In addition, my cousin responded to the article about Sherlock and he recommended me the series Lie To Me, of which I happened to watch the 48th and final episode tonight. An interesting, funny, beautiful and in-depth series of a high level. If this series is all that this website has brought me, then it was definitely worth setting up this website. It has changed my own world a little bit, by generating new interests and offering me new knowledge.

I think many of us would like to change the world, something that recently became visible once again with the anti-racism movement among others. But the world doesn’t just let itself be changed. At least, not the world for everyone as a whole. I believe that it is possible to change the world for one person. By sharing things with each other, by talking to each other. My question to you is therefore; do you want to change my world? I am convinced that I can learn a lot from you. But that’s not going to happen by means of a like button. No, it takes a little more effort. And also some more time. Not wanting to make an effort and not wanting to invest time; aren’t those the reasons that superficiality exists?

I don’t think a superficial life would suit me. Ironically, given that the Netherlands, where I live, is one of the flattest countries in the world; no mountains, just a few hills, nothing else. Largely even below sea level. But if you don’t feel like the superficial, then you have to create mountains and dig mines yourself, to allow any kind of depth. Get rid of the superficial like buttons that just need to be pressed without thinking. Get rid of a rating based on an emoticon or a number of stars to just say what you think of something, without sharing any reason behind that opinion.

I challenge the anonymous reader to get rid of their anonymity.


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