Exposure: 1. presentation to view, especially in an open or public manner. 2. appearance or presentation before the public, as in theater, on television, or in films. 3. (in photography) the intensity of light falling on a photographic film or plate, multiplied by the time for which it is exposed.
I was having dinner with friends and family last night, when the conversation turned to blogging and the internet. We discussed the challenge of finding new, meaningful subjects for online conversation. One of my companions said something that really made me stop and think.
One of the reasons people blog is to gain exposure. A fashion expert may post a style tip of the day to drew traffic to her business. A chef may blog recipes to sell cookbooks. A writer may post book reviews, articles on the craft, or discuss topics related to a current book on the market. There are devotional blogs, health and fitness blogs, humorous blogs… You name it, there’s a blog about it.
Of course, most bloggers have a genuine heart to provide valuable or helpful information to their followers. Still, getting noticed is essential to gaining those followers.
What are we willing to do to gain exposure? What gets those big audience reactions?
Sadly, it is often either the absurd or obscene.
We remember celebrities most, not for their outstanding performances, but for their outrageous behavior. Often, it is actions that are harmful to themselves or others which have photographers and news crews flocking to their doorsteps.
Just consider which YouTube videos go viral. Sometimes it’s an adorable child’s antics that catch out attention, but often, it involves the obnoxious or bizarre. (I’m not giving examples here. My purpose isn’t to pass judgement.)
Back to the question: What am I willing to do to gain exposure?
Building an audience is crucial to a writer’s career and to a blogger’s ability to provide something useful to the online community. It is an issue I’ve wrestled with for months. Do I need to make changes in my subject matter, format, or the appearance of my site? Is there something more exciting I should discuss or some event I should host? How important is exposure?
I decided to look to the ultimate Book of answers for advice. I discovered…
Jesus instructed His followers to get noticed!
“You are the light that gives light to the world. A city that is built on a hill cannot be hidden. And people don’t hide a light under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand so the light shines for all the people in the house. In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NCV)
Light doesn’t have to be “exposed”. It is the cause of exposure.
A blinding flash may arrest the attention of millions for a moment, but then it’s gone and forgotten. But, a steady light will draw the eye and hold it, simply because it never wavers and is dependable for direction.
My conclusion? Though it may not be as flashy or generate that instant, viral reaction, allowing God’s light to shine steadily through what we do will have the lasting results He called us to achieve in the first place.