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.