The Theory of Everything Online

Jason Stoddard draws some very interesting conclusions about who forms the core audience for certain types of online sf sites:

From the amount of related magazines, online pubs, review sites, and market sites like Ralans, it is increasingly evident who the primary audience for short SF is today: other writers. This is true for both Analog and Strange Horizons

Jonathan McCalmont adds, in a comment, that “the audience for review sites appears to be reviewers.”

I wonder if Stoddard’s and McCalmont’s analysis can be extended to the internet at large. Perhaps it’s true that the most dedicated audience for much of what appears online are people with the ambition to do something similar.

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4 thoughts on “The Theory of Everything Online

  1. Surely the crucial difference is:
    Are you reading these sites because
    a) what you like to read correlates with what you like to write; or
    b) for career purposes to keep up with the market and the competition?
    If the former, the coincidence is trivial and almost tautological (indeed, I doubt there’s often much value in fiction by writers who don’t like to read it); only if the readership is dominated by the latter case is there much Cause for Alarm. Even then, though, for many people I doubt the reasons can be completely separated.

  2. Before we reach the tautology, consider this. The people who subscribe/read paper magazines for recreation are assumed to greatly outnumber the people who aspire to write something for the publication. Stoddard and McCalmont allege the case in not the same for online publications.

  3. Now that I’ve looked at the article, I don’t see how the conclusion is reached, at least for Analog. Most of the related sites to the Analog sites are either other SF magazine sites – OK, aspiring writers would read those, but so would readers – but they also include Ansible, which is not a market report, and the British Fanzine Bibliography. Fans read those, not aspiring writers with no interest in fandom.

  4. I’m an sf fan. The first blog I started to read regularly was the F770 blog. Most of the other blogs I follow these days are related to astronomy, astrophysics, or physics. I also follow one blog that relates to local politics. I have no idea what this means other than those are the things that interest me. I’m not reading any other sf-related blog.

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