Welcome Marketplace listeners!
That’s right, I had a commentary run on the widely broadcast public radio show Marketplace tonight. I’m pretty pleased about that (even though I haven’t actually listened to it yet; I only know it ran tonight because I just got email from a detractor about it), because I’m a longtime listener to the show.
Anyway, if you look at blogs often, and I’m sure you do, you’ve probably had occasion to encounter a “Welcome!” post, like this one. This occurs when a blog is, say, mentioned in The Times, or on some other superblog (BoingBoing), or the blog’s author has been on television. So the post will say something like: “Welcome New York Times readers!” and the premise is that there are a flood of newcomers showing up as a result of the outside attention, and they need to be greeted in some way.
This isn’t something I’d thought about a whole lot, since this particular site tends not to have to deal with a lot of attention from media outlets or superbloggers. But now that Murketing is — or might be — getting some outside attention, it’s made me wonder: What are those “Welcome!” posts really about? Do these new readers need a welcome? Is a welcome likely to rope them in as regulars?
Possibly. But I think the real function of the “Welcome!” post is status signaling, in the economics sense. That is, it’s meant to signal the importance of the blog by making public mention of the attention it has received from some authority or other.
Again I haven’t listened to the show yet, so the truth is I don’t even know if they mentioned this site. But I know what I said, and it was about the death of conspicuous consumption and the rise of “the invisible badge,” concepts more thoroughly explored in Buying In.
But still: Welcome new readers (if there are any), I think with this post you now have a very good sense of I how I look at the world.
And as for you regulars: Now you know that — or maybe I’ve just tricked you into believing — others are interested, too!