427 reads, 29 likes, 18 shares, 1 comment. Numbers. I am a content provider on the Internet. Numbers are a main source of feedback to tell me whether what I am producing resonates with my audience. In fact, it tells me whether or not I actually have an audience. It’s actually a bit like being on stage behind a closed curtain – you hope that someone out there enjoys what you do but you have no way to know for sure.
The dog world has so many facets that it can be a challenge to know what topics to take on in my articles. To make things a bit more complicated, I have to decide who I’m talking to; the training professionals or the people trying to teach their first dogs. Add to that the word count restrictions I work with in writing for Life As A Human and you can see that it can sometimes be a struggle to sit down and produce Canine Nation.
What has gotten me to the keyboard for the past 5 years was the belief that my experience with a new way of working with my dogs could make a difference in the lives of others. More than a dozen years ago I opened a door on a world of science based animal training. The journey that set in motion has taken me to amazing places and introduced me to amazing people. Most importantly it has given me a wealth of incredible experiences with my dogs including remarkable achievements in performance sports like agility and watching a dog respond to me in ways I never thought possible.
But the world changes fast, particularly on the Internet. When I started Canine Nation, there were a few other places to read about dogs and training. Now, 5 years later, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs, websites, podcasts, and other online forums dedicated to dogs and training. It can be hard to know how relevant Canine Nation is these days; whether it is even necessary when so much content is available.
Last week I received a wonderful, heartfelt email from a woman thanking me for an article I had written 4 years ago. It was both gratifying and humbling to know that my writing can be so important in helping someone to deal with something regarding their dogs. But those emails are few and far between. Feedback is important. Facebook, while it can be unnecessarily combative at times, also gives me some idea about how my writing is being received. But staying away from the nastiness on Facebook groups also cuts me off from that feedback. It’s hard to balance.
So I try to see past the numbers. You are the audience on the other side of that curtain. Sometimes you applaud and sometimes you don’t. That’s fair enough. But I wonder if you know how important your voice is to people like me. The number of reads or shares or likes can tell me a little about how peopleenjoy what I do but there is nothing like hearing from real people and getting their thoughts. Do I need to talk more about some things or less? Is there another point of view that I should consider? Are there things I can learn from the people who read my stuff?
I appreciate more than you know the time you give to read and listen to what I write for Canine Nation. I’m grateful that you consider what I have to say. I’m honoured and humbled that you think my work is worth your time. Know that the time you take to leave me comments or send email is even more precious and important because that is how I get better. What you have to say tells me what I’m doing right and what I should try to do better.
Your voice matters. Thank you for supporting me and Canine Nation.