To Follow, Or Not To Follow

A post from the Hamlet series*

So many blogs, so little time. And everyone wants followers and likes. So do I.

When, in the course of a recent #wpad blog challenge,  I increased my blogging frequency, I was thrilled to see that the number of my readers went up significantly. (Okay, that was from five to forty-five, but hey.) But then I began to be suspicious.

Some likes and follows hit my inbox within two minutes of posting. Not only did this seem too short for anyone to have actually read the post. But some of the likes came from halfway around the globe, time-zones where it was 3 a.m. at the time of my posting. Now there are many night-owls out there, and I do apologize to my “serious readers”. But I began to wonder whether, just like in twitter, these were automatic follows. You know, some sort of set-up that trawls blogs for keywords and hits the “follow” button without reading the actual post. (I am fairly ignorant about the mechanics and tricks of social media – there probably is a proper term for this.)

That wouldn’t matter so much – other than deflate my recently puffed-up blogger’s ego – but herein lies the rub: it is netiquette to like or follow back, right? Well, I always go to the pages of my new followers and I read some of their stuff, and I am happy to write “thanks for posting / liking / following”. But I will only follow back if I intend to read their blogs on a more or less regular basis. No offense, but I simply do not have the time to read all, and I find it dishonest to hit “follow” just for the sake of netiquette. I do not want to receive dozens of notifications about new posts every day, because I will feel obliged to follow up, and there aren’t enough hours in the week to do my “professional” reading and my own writing to start with.

So I will not always follow back if you follow me.

Have I just lost half of my readership? I hope not. (And if my theory is correct, they don’t read this anyway, he he.) Rather, I hope that people will engage with me. Comment if and when they have actually read my post, which will always prompt me to go to their blog and check it out – and perhaps to follow. Or not. Honestly.

*This post is the first of a series where I plan to use bits and pieces from Hamlet – and perhaps other Shakespeare plays – as prompts.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “To Follow, Or Not To Follow

  1. Good post. I agree with you. I only follow those I will regularly read and I have noticed those ‘automatic hits’ too. Yes, it’s great to have loads of followers but if they aren’t reading posts then it’s pointless. They only want you to follow them back because they think it looks great to have a high number of followers. I’d rather have less and know they read what I write.

  2. Good points. 🙂 I’ve managed to keep my followers in single digits by not bothering with keywords. And maybe by sucking? Or a combination of the two? Either (or both) way(s), I’m not bothered by it. I think of blogging as a diary left at a busy airport. There’s a possibility it might get read, but not a probability.

    Netiquette schmetiquette. Follow your heart.

    (You got me with keyword “Shakespeare,” btw.)

    • I do want followers (hence the keywords) but real ones. If you like, I leave my diary lying around on purpose hoping the “right” people will pick it up.
      Just had a look at your blog – we seem to have at least one thing in common, the love for Shakespeare! 🙂

  3. I know only a fraction of my “followers” actually read my posts. They’re the ones who leave thoughtful comments on a regular basis. Then there are some that push the “like” button. That feels good, but I don’t know if they really read anything I’ve written. And then there are others who after that initial “follow” I never see again.

    I always check out a new follower’s blog. I never follow anyone trying to sell something. Or those who claim they can make my blog more successful.

    Anyone else, I typically follow and I do try to keep up on their posts. What I’ve found is while their post might not be the most mind blowing thing I’ve read, I often end up having great conversations in the comments section. Kind of like on Twitter, I follow and just see what happens. And right now my blog is small, so I can keep up…

    Just my two cents 🙂

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