Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The etiquette of the blog-follower

The lovely GB posted recently on the question of why people stop following blogs, and I have been pondering this question.

I have my own unofficial blog-following etiquette/guidelines. I follow blogs that reflect my interests (eg writers' blogs), or which I find amusing/entertaining/informative. Blogs I enjoy reading. I also prefer blogs where the posts are fairly short (because of time), and I like bloggers who respond to comments. If a blogger never acknowledges a comment (of course, this isn't always possible) I feel as though my comment has been dropped into a void (others may disagree). I myself try always to acknowledge comments. That way, some kind of cyber relationship is formed, and I enjoy this.

However...it seems that there are people who comment on a blog just  in order to recruit followers. This happened to me recently. X posted a nice comment on my blog, and joined as a follower. He added an invitation for me to look at his blog, which I did. When he next commented, he issued an invitation to follow his blog. I thanked him, but did not join for a number of reasons, not least, that he already has hundreds of followers, and there are so many replies to each post that a visitor who wanted to keep up with them would need a great deal to time to do so. X promptly removed his name from my list of followers (which I'd been pretty sure would happen).

Now, I don't mind about this, but I'm puzzled. Is the point of following a blog just to boost your own numbers? I'm sure for most of us, the answer would be no. As for ceasing to follow a blog, I don't do this. Sometimes I drift away from a blog, but I don't take my name off the list of followers as it might leave the blogger puzzled or even hurt.

What do you think?

(Btw X, if you happen to read this, no offence taken or intended. I'm just puzzled.)

44 comments:

  1. Frances, now I spent a minute or two answering a couple of questions you sent in comments to my post . Do I take offence that there was no reply? No I carry on regardless. I know you are busy writing.
    I clear out bloggers that haven't posted for a year and those that just post a snap of flower with no writing. I always keep the annoying for they are the best.

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    1. PS, Graham is almost three hundred years old. I didn't like to tell him that folk die and can't post. I don't think Google have tapped the wealth of heaven and hell though I'm sure they would love to.

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    2. Adrian, I tend not to join the people with a flowery picture in the first place!

      Not sure about Graham being 300 years old. Does he know?

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    3. I'm back in Blogland after my absence in Ozland and catching up. Your words echo my sentiments Frances. I'm not 300 years old by the way. I think Adrian's finger slipped in an extra zero and got the number 3 wrong. Apart from that he wasn't far out.

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  2. The only blogs I've quit were by people who I knew had died. Actually I did quit one through their total lack of any sense of humour.... very important in my eyes.

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    1. I do agree about the no sense of humour, CM. They're not for me, either.

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    2. A sense of humour is an absolute essential to survival in Blogland as in life in the mortal world. I'm with you both on this one.

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  3. I am in total agreement with you. I follow shortish blogs that don't go on too much about their own achievements because that can put me off, as I am no high achiever! I also like my comments to be acknowledged, as otherwise, what is the point of commenting? I also like them to be fairly frequent - anything less frequent than once a month is not good. I gave up blogging because I didn't think I could fill my own criteria, but I do enjoy the ones I follow.

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    1. I'm glad you agree, Maggie. As for the very infrequent bloggers, I just let them drift.

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  4. I absolutely agree with all your reasons for following a blog, Frances - especially the part about replying to comments. I always do, and to every single one. To me it's only courtesy if someone has taken the trouble to write on your blog. If I have no response to comments I've left on another's blog, then I'm afraid I don't bother to leave any more as I feel as if the blog owner hasn't cared enough to read it (although of course they might have). I've never 'unfollowed' a blog - I just don't read the posts of blogs I've lost interest in. To me, part of the blogging experience is building up a 'relationship' of sorts with my reader. At the end of the day It's not the quantity of your followers that's important- it's the quality.

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    1. I think you and I feel the same, Wendy. Of course, people aren't obliged to respond to comments, but I think they probably lose support. We all do it our own way.

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  5. I like to read the dozen or so blogs that I have on my book bar, and sometimes look at people who comment on them, thus leading me to other maybe interesting writers. I have found all of them since first reading my DIL's blog a few years ago, and going from there. I have never been sure of the purpose of the " follower" . Can anyone explain please? I have clicked to " follow" on the occasional blog, but assume that my continued logging on every day gives them the knowledge that they are being read…and also I comment from time to time. I agree that bloggers who reply to comments are much more fun and one feels that a kind of relationship has been established after a while, which is nice. I prefer a blog that has varied content, not just one subject. i.e. their knitting or whatever. I don't blog myself…..too much of a boring life!…. ( though I enjoy it!)

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    1. Frances, I suppose the point of being a follower is that you receive an alert when a new post appears. I quite like that. I agree about variety. Much more interesting (and it gives you a fuller picture of the blogger).

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  6. There are basically two reasons for me to "un-follow" a blog: 1. the blog is not being updated anymore, for whatever reason, 2. the blogger writes about things I am absolutely not interested in.
    Like most of the others who have commented before me, I very much like my comments to be acknowledged by the blog owner, especially when I ask a question in my comment. On my own blog, the comments are as precious to me as the posts itself, and sometimes even more so.
    I know that I can go on quite a bit sometimes about topics that may not be hugely interesting to every one of my readers, but I also hope that my topics are varied enough to make up for a boring post every now and then.

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    1. Meikek, we all post about the things that interest us; I think that's what blogging's for. And if a particular reader doesn't like a post, they can always skip it!

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  7. Basically I agree with your 2nd paragraph. I suspect that in the long run, the blogs we keep following (I mean actively, not just as an avatar in their sidebar) are either those that either show similar etiquette and interests as our own; or/and those that challenge us (or annoy us, to quote Adrian).

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    1. Yes. I think we all have to be abit choosy, DT, don't we. Otherwise it would be possible to potter round other people's blogs all day...

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  8. I've noticed that someone who was following you has disappeared. There are a lot of bloggers who feel that when they join a site then that blogger ought to join their site in return. This doesn't bother me. I'm not offended if someone doesn't want to join my blog.
    Having said that I have joined rather a lot myself and have some trouble keeping up. This means that I don't comment on all the blogs I follow each time one turns up. I do try to comment occasionally, if I feel I have something to say.
    It would take something really vile to make me remove myself from a blog.
    Happy blogging, Frances.

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    1. Fanny, thank you. I really object to, as it were having an obligation thrust on me, which is what X tried to do. I wish him well, but...

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  9. I think some bloggers are competitive. It is off putting to me if people go soliciting for followers, but I don't get too bothered one way or the other. .

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    1. You're very sensible, Jenny. And there's no point in these people collecting reluctant followers!

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  10. I don't think I've ever 'unfollowed' a blog. I probably would if the blogger posted something horribly offensive but if it's just a question of not finding the posts terribly interesting I just wouldn't bother to visit very often.

    Bloggers not always replying to every comment doesn't bother me, especially if they get hundreds. It does seem rather rude never to reply to any though. That would make me feel it was pointless to leave any.

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    1. Patsy, I think we all occasonially have to leave a comment unacknowledged, especially when hoidays or other things intervene. But those who never acknowledge obviously don't want to know us!

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  11. It used to be easier to sign on to follow a blog. I've visited some that I liked but it was too cumbersome to link up and others where Google+ demanded access to all my contacts.
    I sometimes comment and then am presented with an illegible code that must be entered to prove I'm Human (refer to your last post on that). I don't always have time to persevere.
    I do enjoy comments and answers to same.

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    1. Those codes put me off commenting too. What's really annoying is a lot of bloggers don't even realise they have them set up as it's a default, so they're accidentally putting people off.

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    2. Oh, the dreaded Word Verification thingy. I've sometimes had to have three goes to get it right, (and I'm not a robot).

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  12. Interesting etiquette point, Frances. This newish form of sociality has yet to evolve its own set of expectations.
    Meself: I read all the blogs I follow; comment only if I have something to add or want to empathise; and am very bad at acknowledging others' comments on mine. (Which should not be taken as anything more than my personal sloppiness - I read and respond mentally to them all; it's the typing that's a bit hard at the moment).

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    1. I don't think we're obliged to comment, Tim (or, come to that, read every post). As for replying, go on. Have a go. You might even enjoy it...?

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  13. The one main thing that will stop me commenting on someone's blog after a while is if they never reply to comments. I enjoy the social aspect of blogging, which needs a response of course. The only other kind of blogs I follow are those I read fro information.

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    1. I agree, Rosemary. In fact, sometimes, comments/replies can turn into quite a lengthy discussion between several people.

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  14. I've not yet unfollowed anyone although some I haven't visited in a while and a few of them haven't blogged for ages. I think I've always replied to comments on my own blog. I know many bloggers are very busy and don't have the time to follow me so I don't expect any tit-for-tat following.

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    1. That seems a pretty sensible approach, Keith.

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  15. I am now worried about publishing my next post! I read blogs for interest (writing, gardening etc) but I also like to know what the blogger has achieved. Frances, you often pose moral questions, which make me think, humour which makes me smile and even sad topics which make me reflect. Blog on!

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    1. L, you post what you like! These are my rules, not yours.

      I'm glad you enjoy my blog. Thank you.

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  16. Hello, I read blogs because I'm interested in seeing what other people have to say about subjects I'm interested in, and also because I enjoy networking with others. I try and reply to comments on my own blog, and have got into whole conversations via comment boxes on other peoples.

    I haven't yet un-followed anyone, and have no idea if others have un-followed me. The one thing I do find difficult, is the differences between the two big platforms, Blogger and Wordpress.

    People at Wordpress have told me, offline, that they struggle to leave comments on Blogger blogs for some reason.

    I might not always follow a blog, but I do look over the fence as often as I can. I'm time poor, and have to budget writing time against roving around on the internet. I'm sure you'll understand.

    Good post, thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Maria. I know nothing about Wordpress, but I gather others have had similar problems.Good luck!

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  17. I agree with you Frances, I don't like postings beginning too long as I busy with my writing. When I had more time to read other people's blogs I always tried to leave a comment and to reply when others comment on my blog. Though, it's nice to have lots of followers, having too many means you don't have time to read them all also it doesn't mean everyone will leave comments.

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  18. I've met so many lovely people through blogging. I follow blogs for the same reasons as you and don't unfollow anyone except when a dormant blog gets taken over by someone selling cameras (it has happened!) or somesuch x

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    1. That's good to know, Teresa. I promise never to sell cameras!

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  19. I'm not the best blogger but I always respond to a comment even if I don't do it straight away. Not to do so would just be rude. I agree with you about the length of posts Frances. I find the short ones a lot more interesting - usually.

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    1. Thanks, Colette. Most people seem to agree.

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  20. Firstly, Frances, may I say that I cannot recall ever being described as 'lovely' before. I turned quite a shade of pink (well I would have done but you wouldn't have been able to see it under my rather ruddy, sunburned visage). The compliment was appreciated though. Thank you.

    As I said I think your post summarises my feelings very well indeed. I have a small Blogworld. I read and enjoy a small number of Blogs and the question of followers of my Blog probably in no way reflects the number of people who read it. I like to feel that I 'know' those with whom I trade words and thoughts and that those people know me too. To me Blogland is a world populated by people just like the 'real' world: there are people whom I like and who like me but, as in face to face relationships, we are not all compatible.

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    1. Welcome back, GB. I thought you'd agree.

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