George Orwell’s essay Poetry and the Microphone talks about broadcasting verse over the radio, but I think there are some internet parallels here, another way to cross distances. People who are interested can find and enjoy just as easily as those who aren’t interested can move along. That combination of distance and intimacy affects how you perceive your own work:

It is reasonable to assume that your audience is sympathetic, or at least interested, for anyone who is bored can promptly switch you off by turning a knob. But though presumably sympathetic, the audience has no power over you. It is just here that a broadcast differs from a speech or a lecture. On the platform, as anyone used to public speaking knows, it is almost impossible not to take your tone from the audience. It is always obvious within a few minutes what they will respond to and what they will not, and in practice you are almost compelled to speak for the benefit of what you estimate as the stupidest person present, and also to ingratiate yourself by means of the ballyhoo known as ‚Äúpersonality‚Äù. If you don‚Äôt do so, the result is always an atmosphere of frigid embarrassment. That grisly thing, a ‚Äúpoetry reading‚Äù, is what it is because there will always be some among the audience who are bored or all but frankly hostile and who can‚Äôt remove themselves by the simple act of turning a knob…

The poet feels that he is addressing people to whom poetry means something, and it is a fact that poets who are used to broadcasting can read into the microphone with a virtuosity they would not equal if they had a visible audience in front of them. The element of make-believe that enters here does not greatly matter. The point is that in the only way now possible the poet has been brought into a situation in which reading verse aloud seems a natural unembarrassing thing, a normal exchange between man and man: also he has been led to think of his work as sound rather than as a pattern on paper. By that much the reconciliation between poetry and the common man is nearer. It already exists at the poet’s end of the ether-waves, whatever may be happening at the other end.

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