Sunday, March 18, 2012

David'Z RantZ: "Readers," Yes. "Followers," Not So Much



So.

Someone want to explain to me what the big freakin' deal is about amassing "followers" -- not readers, as I'll explain shortly -- on your blog?

Here's a screenshot from today of my Blogger "Followers" widget. (And please notice the title I've given that widget!)




Thanks to my StatCounter, I have a pretty good idea of who my regular readers -- in other words, I'm not counting people who encounter this blog once because they're doing a Google search for Castle Dracula, the McDonald's coffee lawsuit, or even (I swear!) "mouse standing!" -- are. And frankly, at best, this blog is actually followed by somewhere between a third and one half of the 65 people currently signed up as "followers."

I have a handful of people who comment on almost every post. I also have "lurkers," people who read my blog regularly but rarely if ever comment. (That's fine, by the way. There's no law that says you have to leave a comment!)


I know for a fact that several of my "followers" used to read my blog regularly, but then, for whatever reason(s), they stopped. But when they stopped, they never bothered to stop "following" me officially.

Notice how I keep putting "followers" in quotes. Why? I think it's a misleading term. Y'see, I actually read all of the blogs I follow. I don't always comment on them, but yes, I read them! Other people... not so much.

And lately, I've noticed a disturbing trend. I frequently see comments like this: "Hi, I never saw your blog before! Following! Come follow me, too!"

"Follow me, too." Why? Just to inflate the number of official followers? Again, WHY? Is there a prize Blogger gives out when you reach some magic number of followers, and nobody told me?

So (he said again). A couple of questions here:

1. If you're one of those people whose Blogger profile says you follow 47 different blogs for every letter of the freakin' alphabet, do you really read all of them regularly? I'll bet you don't. So why don't you delete the ones you no longer read?

2. If you're one of those people who has over five hundred -- or over a thousand -- official followers, do you really think that many people are actually reading your blog on a regular basis? I'll bet they aren't.

Of course, I realize that the actual number of readers for a blog with hundreds of followers listed is still a hell of a lot more than the actual number of readers that a blog like mine -- with its crappy little list of 65 -- has. So I'm not trying to insult anyone who has a huge number of followers by suggesting no one reads them at all!

So, what's the sudden interest in inflating the follower count? Anyone know?

Anyway, I don't really have anything approaching a clever wrap-up for today's post, so I just want to share some observations with you on the subject of followers and/or regular readers.

Sometimes, the people who do follow a blog do so almost slavishly, to the point where it's almost scary. (Hence the photo of a zombie mob at the top of this post.)

A poetry blog I followed a long time ago had one reader/commenter in particular who would analyze and praise each posted poem by writing a poem about it in the comments section. And the comments were usually two or three times the length of the actual poem! Heh.

And another thing I noticed about a blog I used to follow was that an alarming number of its readers used to have an odd, disconcerting urge to want to do everything the same way that the blog's author did.

I mean, it's one thing if a Blogger-blogger has a recipe or a household cleaning suggestion that others want to try, or if he or she recommends a certain movie, or musical artist, and others want to experience these things themselves...

But I swear, this blog author could have said "I had a glass of wine yesterday, and I burped," and there'd be several comments to the effect of "Oh, [Blogger]! Please tell me what kind of wine you were drinking! I want burps that sound and smell just like yours!

I don't have any readers/followers like that, thankfully. All my readers are sane.

Helps me sleep at night.

Thanks for your time.

80 comments:

  1. hahaha many of mine are border line sane, but then the cat is already far off on the crazy train.

    I always go and delete the ones I don't read. I followback for the most part, but if they don't come I delete away. Just clogs up space and my ocd doesn't like that.

    As far as the reason goes for the people who say "great post, followed, etc." it is quite simple and the same reason they need 50,000 followers on this and that, EGO! They need to feel special.

    For normal folks it is all about one thing too, PERCEPTION. I doubt more than 200 come to mine from my followers, but perception is the key. The more of a platform you have the more people take you seriously and are willing to stay 10 seconds longer to see what all the fuss is about.

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    1. Ego, you think? Possibly, Hell, probably! But if I had a fragile ego, seeing 65 when I know less than half of them still read me would make me weep and wail saying "Why did they leave me? What did I do to lose them? Why don't they love me any more?" Haha.

      Perception? Hmm. In that case, if it really bothered me, I would make my stats public. I get well over 100 hits a day -- although only a quarter or even less than that number consists of regulars -- so on the average day, my "platform" would be twice as big, haha!

      Note I said "if it really bothered me." The nature of the David'Z RantZ posts is that I piss and moan about stuff as if it's really important to me... but most of the time, it's not. It's simply post fodder. Ha.

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    2. It's just fun to rant most times too. I couldn't care less if 50 or 2 come to view. I would much rather have a few that I like coming then 50 people saying nice post and going on their way. That is just stupid about people not coming because you have enough, like Brian said. Seems like it all is a business or something.

      For me it's just fun, when it feels like a job the cat will retire. That's not to say I can't play the game in the background too, getting a few extra lurkers here and there. But number one is just to have fun with it, if I can't do that then it isn't worth it.

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    3. I agree about the "nice post" commenters. I like intelligent discussion and/or wisecracks. Hell, look at the comments THIS post has stirred up! Often I'll read certain blogs every day, but I don't always comment. I try to say something clever or funny, but if all I can come up with is "nice post," I usually don't bother!

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  2. really never think all the folloerrs i hsve always reading me,when i follow a blog normally is cause i love this site like yours lol
    anyway is not something thst im looking :) followers is nice to bookmarked a site you lile( in my case) personally time on time i review the sites i like is all.

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    1. I agree with Gloria here that I 'follow' a blog because when I visit I like it and want to be able to come back...it's a way to bookmark it. Doesn't mean I've promised to read/comment daily...I save my blogroll on my sidebard for that.

      And the number really doesn't matter...it grows for all sorts of reasons...not because they want to read/comment daily.

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    2. agree Betsy absolutely, I have a curious history with followers, she (is a woman he) begin to follow or my followers (really was) and she copy some of my post too, make me furious but finally I think she is sick, finally the other day I was comment in a new site and I look she was again and talk with this friend like know a lot of time (lol) OMG so we find strangue people in blogs, sigh!!
      She is from here betsy, from Chile sigh!

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    3. @Gloria and Betsy: I think a lot of us follow for different reasons. In my case, my blogroll and my list of blogs I'm following are pretty much the same. I only sign up to follow those I read every day... but that's just the way I do it.

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    4. Gloria ~ I knew of someone else who found a person copying her blog...stole her photos, header, posts,..everything! Kind of creepy!

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    5. i hate this person Betsy is not nice she go every site igo :(

      fortunately onlu with recipes sites

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    6. yes, that is so bad! Tell Silver who she is and he can run over her with his car! ha. Or we'll all go pay her a visit on her blog and tell her shame on her!

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  3. you have this avatar so many times uhu??9

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    1. Think it's time for a new one?

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    2. Well, if Rebecca has the nerve to put up a photo of herself, maybe I'll put up a photo of myself!

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  4. (imagine robot voice here) Hello! I like your blog. Take me to your leader. Thank you! (end robot voice)

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    1. I like the comments that say "You have a very interesting blog," then they give you a bunch of gibberish and a link to a site that has nothing to do with your blog or your post!

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    2. that would be spam, silver. ha. At least normally.

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    3. Uhhh... yeah... I knew that, doll.

      Maybe I should do a post about people who come to a humor blog and take all the posts and comments seriously. (ducks)

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    4. well you like followers or not.
      Is good or not follow a blog fot you
      im confuss.....again

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    5. @Gloria: Maybe I should do a post about people who come to a humor blog and take all the posts and comments seriously.

      Oh, wait, I just said that... (ducks again)

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    6. are you calling this a humor blog? (chuckles...)

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    7. It must be. I just got a chuckle out of you!

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    8. ok...I'll stop with the serious comments...I can take a hint...or a very blunt suggestion. ha.

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    9. So, I made a suggestion, and you took it seriously? AUGH! Now I'm confused!!!

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    10. so this is an.humor blog?!???!ducks

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  5. i think that it def has something to do with ego...and it is nothing new...there have been blog hops to gain followers for years...for some it gains advertisers attention...for some it gains publishing attention...

    i really dont pay that much attention to followers...usually i comment back on those that actually comment and those that i have known for some time...i would much rather have a conversation than a face in the side bar you know...

    had heard at one point that GFC (the follower widget)was going away...i kinda wish it would...you know there are some people that stopped coming by because they said i had enough people already...that stings a bit...esp those that i have 'known' for some time...but then again it is an online world which changes fast and what can you expect...

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    1. Your site is one of the ones I don't always comment on. I feel I might get lost in the shuffle, haha! (Just kidding.) But it's not always easy to comment on a poetry blog. Sometimes I think poetry blogs can inspire comments from people who didn't "get" a particular poem, and so they latch onto one or two lines and try to say what they think it meant. :)

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  6. i started this conversation the other day over at theme thursday...mrsupole has resurrected it and i was trying to support her a bit but those that play now dont really visit like we used to back in the day (i totally miss that group)

    and several said they just did not have time to visit but enjoyed when people came by to comment...well of course, but who wants to hold a one sided conversation for very long...

    any way, the main thing is i miss that group we had back in the day at TT...

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    1. I totally agree with you Bri about TT. The times I've joined in lately, some of the posts were barely about the theme, some not at all, and most didn't bother to visit my entry. The fact that they say they are too busy to visit but want the comments says it all. There is a comradery missing in that group. Not sure how to get it back.

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    2. @Brian and Betsy: I agree with both of you! It's NOT the same! You're both SO right about missing the old crowd. I found so many of my current friends, contacts, & blogs I follow through TT. The two of you, Roy, Alan, AngelMay, Megan, Kate Hanley, California Girl... And these people who complain about visiting all the others? They should have been around for the glory days, when we'd have to take the phone off the hook and put a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door so we could spend our entire Thursday visiting 8 million other blogs!!!

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    3. We did have to do that, didn't we? There were so many participants...and really good quality posts, too.

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    4. As Lesley Gore once sang, "Boy, how I miss the old crowd." *sniff*

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    5. Guess that was all before the cat's time, but I'm pretty sure I could keep up.

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    6. Oh, you'd have no problem with Theme Thursday, Pat. It's just another prompt blog. Each week you have a one-word subject to write about. You can go with any interpretation of the word. For instance, if the word of the week was "flame," you could write about a fire, and old lover, or a nasty online message! :)

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    7. Or what happens to a flame when something but rhymes come out the cats ummm you know..lol...sounds like it be a grand time though, if it was still like how you guys described it back in the day

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    8. It was great, Pat. Out of around 50 participants every week, more than half of us were regular contributors who interacted with each other as sort of an extended family, following and reading each other's blogs all through the week, getting to be real friends, etc.

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    9. Well through randomness many still and do make those kind of connections now as well. It's just a bit more few and far between maybe.

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  7. I pretty much ignore my followers and pay more attention to the people who actually comment on my blog. Laughing about the wine/burp thought. I've had comments that seemed equally shallow. :)

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    1. Speaking of following, Rebecca, I started officially following yours today. :)

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    2. I noticed--maybe I lied--I don't entirely ignore my followers. I just place more importance on those who actually comment. :)

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    3. Awww, so I'm important? Heh. Only thing that bugs me about your blog is that you keep posting stuff that's so cool and serious, I don't have the heart to make my usual nasty remarks! :)

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    4. Rebecca ~ if you could find some time to change over to the new format, we could sign up for follow up comments and that would be really great!

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    5. Oooooh, Betsy! Go get her, doll! Haha!

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    6. haha...I know she doesn't have a thing to do these days but to better serve us, her readers! lol.

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    7. Exactly. She sits around the house all day, bored to tears...

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    8. Well, sometimes there's tears, but not tears of boredom.

      Oh, and I HATE the new format. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike change? I tried it and I am so brilliant on the computer that I couldn't figure out how to set up the reply thingy.

      Want to guess how long it took me to change my avitar? RRRRRRRRRRR

      Betsy, I think you've been hanging around someone too long. You're getting a little ornery. :)

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    9. @Rebecca: You're calling Betsy ornery? You seem a bit ornery yourself, haha!

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    10. Oh I am!! I just haven't seen that side of Betsy before. :) I was trying to imply that she had spent too much time around you. :)

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    11. You probably think everyone who spends time with me spends too much of it! Ha.

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    12. Not at all! I wasn't trying to be insulting just uh ornery. :)

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  8. I know someone that keeps a written list of all of their followers. When the number drops, they look at the list to determine who dropped them!

    If you know exactly how many are on your followers list, then I think it's probably more important that one might be willing to admit.

    But like I said above...the number can mean a variety of things. Some may bookmark you for future reference, like I do...some might want some reciprocation to increase their own number...and some may genuinely love your blog and come back. Others may use their blog as a money maker...getting more people there increases their chances of giveaway participants, google ad hits, etc. So when you see someone's followers, it's impossible to judge why it's low or high.

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    1. Okay, doll, you raised some good points. I'll try to answer them without being my usual smartass self.

      "I know someone that keeps a written list of all of their followers. When the number drops, they look at the list to determine who dropped them!"

      That would be me, smartie, haha... But I only do that because I know that no one ever bothers deleting blogs on their list, UNLESS they're pissed off. And I always like to know whom I've offended!

      "If you know exactly how many are on your followers list, then I think it's probably more important that one might be willing to admit."

      In my case, I'd have to say, "How can you AVOID seeing that number prominently displayed in your sidebar?" haha.

      "Others may use their blog as a money maker...getting more people there increases their chances of giveaway participants, google ad hits, etc."

      Well, good luck to those who hope to make money. In the four years I've been on Blogger, my Google AdSense ads have taken in approximately $100.00. That's an average of less than 50 lousy cents per week, and lately, my paltry earnings have drastically increased from what they used to be!

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    2. oh, and here I was trying to protect your identity! lol.

      but...just because someone drops from your follower's list doesn't necessarily mean you have offended them. Maybe you go on constant blog breaks and they got tired of waiting for your return? hahahaha. Or maybe they just didn't click with your posts...not offended... but found that they seldom visited so they cleaned up their followers like you suggested above.

      and there are other ads to post other than Google Adsense. Some really are money makers...the ones that stretch across like a header that are from well known businesses...I saw a huge ad for Lowe's across the top of a blog on home improvements. I'm sure they are paid better than the Adsense ones.... and I know BlogHer pays fairly well for their ads.

      I don't know my exactly follower number. I know approximately...but not the exact number!

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    3. "but...just because someone drops from your follower's list doesn't necessarily mean you have offended them. Maybe you go on constant blog breaks and they got tired of waiting for your return? hahahaha."

      That's almost the same thing, innit? :)

      "Or maybe they just didn't click with your posts...not offended... but found that they seldom visited so they cleaned up their followers like you suggested above."

      I think Pat's the only one who bothers to do that, haha!

      "and there are other ads to post other than Google Adsense. Some really are money makers..."

      Yeah, but I don't do this with money-making as my main aim. Like Pat, I do it cuz I enjoy it. Well, usually, haha!

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    4. Adsense can bite me, oh we'll pay you when you get to $10. Wait! Now we'll pay you when you get to $100. Wait! you're suspicious, banned!..LOL..idiots.

      My ocd makes me clean up the list, plus at 300 you can't follow anyone any more so have to at some point.

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  9. The funny part is... I know EXACTLY who you're talking about in the "I had a glass of wine and burped" example! ;)

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    1. Yes... but that particular Blogger-blogger has lost a LOT of commenters over the last couple of years. I think the readers were alienated by some of the darker goings-on.

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  10. finally silver what is your point?is bad following someone or not?

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    1. That was one of my RantZ. Who said there was a point, haha?

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  11. Replies
    1. Yeah, right. Thanks for the compliment... spambot.

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    2. Um, Silver you just responded to a spam comment. Do you need someone to talk to? :)

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    3. Well, you just replied to a comment left for a spambot, so you're just as bad as I am!

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    4. Good point. :) Does that mean we are patheticly in need of adult conversation?

      I knew a lady that would chat with telemarketers. She would ask them about the weather where they were calling from.

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    5. There's an old joke about a teenaged girl who "only" spent 45 minutes on a phone call. When her Dad commented on it, asking how she managed such a short call, she replied "Wrong number."

      My sister actually DID that once. 45 minutes with a wrong number.

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    6. I think I would like your sister. :)

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    7. You probably would. I'll bet the two of you would have some really long talks about God. (And no, that is NOT some kind of wisecrack!)

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  12. All my readers are sane...well...okay...(but I beg to differ)Only because I consider myself one of your readers...I, however, do NOT, under ANY pretense, consider myself sane. I mean...where's the fun in that...right? (and I do apologize for this comment blitz, btw...but I suddenly found some time! Yay!) :)

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  13. Don't worry about the "comment blitz," Natasha. I can handle it.

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  14. Not all your readers are sane.
    Yours sincerely,
    Alan Burnett

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  15. im agree with Alan:) anyway what id be sane??? Im not sure lol

    ReplyDelete

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