comments 25

Why I don’t want 30,000 followers

lane

Lane – an empty one

Sherri got me thinking today. She compared her blog with another started at the same time as hers, and talked about the difference in their readership stats.

Sometimes it’s easy for me to compare myself with people who have all these followers and wonder what the point is of my blog when it’s just a drop in the ocean in comparison.

But then I always come across something from my WordPress reader that makes me smile.

Why do we like to blog?  I guess we like to talk about ourselves! But there’s more to it than that. I also like to read about other people.  And:

a) I like to see pictures from another world.

I like to see pictures from places I will never go to. I’m not a great traveller as I spend too much of my time working and if I’m not working, I want to write, or do things with friends or family. But I still like to know about other people’s worlds. I’m talking about the lives people live, as well as geographical other worlds.

I could just look at a book. But I’d rather look at some pictures of rocks that a geology buff took and know that he understands everything about them.

b) I like to look at pictures of food and drink and think – that’s a good idea. Why don’t I try that?

When I come home from a hard day at work, I’m always tired. I like to feel inspired, not like the rest of my evening is empty and I’m just waking up to the same old in the morning again.

Today I made one of these:

http://cocktail365.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/mai-tai.html

Well, mine looks nothing like the one in the picture. I did manage to float the dark rum on to the top. I suspect this is because there is so much sugar in this drink that it holds the rum up.

I made my own sugar syrup using the first recipe I find on the net, which says two parts sugar to one part water.

No! No! No! No! No! Do not do this! Look at this drink:

mai

There is 50g of sugar in it. ONE part sugar to ONE part water is the way to go.

My Mai Tai looks pretty, but it’s too sweet. I add some fizzy water. This makes for a nice but weird drink. Try again tomorrow.

c) I like to find about about good books, films, shows, music.

I have a complete backlog of good things to entertain me now. Far too many. But I like the way if I am at a loose end, I know what I want to do.

d) I like to talk to people.

And this is why I don’t want 30,000 followers. I want to talk to people. I love living where I am and the job I have and the life I lead. But this is my village at 6pm in the evening:

lane

Elsewhere, this is known as rush hour.

Now I like living in a village. I like it that everyone knows me and I know everyone and we don’t have to intrude on each other’s lives, but most of the time we just get on with things while knowing that there is a community for us out there. But it’s not the sort of life where I meet lots of people who have the same sorts of interests as me. But by blogging, I can make it so. I can talk about the things that I am interested in with people who have things in common with me, even though we have totally different life experiences.

My friend James blogs too. James is really really clever and funny and nice. We met at Uni (almost 20 years ago!!) but kind of lost touch a bit. We both work full time, we both have children, we live in different countries, and life gets in the way. But every so often I read his blog and he reads mine. And it’s nice that we can catch up with each other in this way and know what’s going on in the other person’s life.

There are people who have 30,000 follows. My friend Bob uses the term “power blogger”, to describe people who indiscriminately hit the Like button in order to get you to look and then maybe buy whatever product their blog is selling. It’s a good description. I’m not saying that all 30,000 strong bloggers are as cynical as this. I mean, if 30,000 people are interested in something, there must be something good on offer.

BUT. I like to think of myself as a micro blogger. What would I do with 30,000 followers? I can’t have conversations with 30,000 people, or really know about them. That’s what I want. To have conversations, and to know people.

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25 Comments

  1. I agree! You can often be more of an influence and help to people if you have small community. A village, if you will 🙂 That’s a good way to think of it.

    Charmed,

    Laurali Star

    • Thanks for your comment.

      It’s back to book blogging tomorrow – Swing Low by Miriam Toews. If I don’t get distracted again!

  2. Hi Denise – good to meet you – thanks for clicking the follow button which naturally brought me here out of curiosity. Your post deals with all the things I have been thinking but haven’t yet blogged about, so thank you for your thoughts – I agree with them all! I also saw Sherri’s post and was alarmed that anyone could actually deal with 30,000 followers – is it an obsession, I wonder, or are these the same people who consider all those Facebook ‘friends’ genuine?
    I began blogging to meet like minded people who liked to write, have a sense of humour and, like you, could teach me stuff about what they know, show me wonderful pictures of their part of the world and with whom I can have discourse on subjects of mutual interest. I’m not interested in other people’s stats – I’m interested in people!

    • It was the whole conversation you had with OM that sparked off the thoughts in my head. Seeded from what I was thinking but not quite articulating. So of course I had to come over and check out what you had to say!

      I only have about 20 Facebook friends and used to wonder what was wrong with me, but actually sometimes even keeping up with all of them is hard.

    • Some people want to get their work seen Jenny, I am not sure how that is hard for you to understand. Many people that are “aspiring writers” as I am, would LOVE to have 30,000 people read their stuff. Also you forget that on blogs there are “writers and there are readers.” Just because you can’t understand why someone would read another website without that writer first visiting them, doesn’t mean that everyone agrees with that. In fact, many obviously disagre with you as they add and follow larger blogs often. Perhaps those larger bloggers have better writing or better content? There is also no obligation to follow and read another person’s blog everyday, however, I visit far more blogs than any normal person does on a DAILY basis. This is because I work at a computer for 11 hours a day and that affords me the time. Again, I understand Jenny’s “differing opinion” but different doesn’t make it more right or wrong. -OM

      • It’s not hard for me to understand – we all want to get our work seen. I’m genuinely curious as to how many invites you must have to send out to reach 30,000 followers bearing in mind there will be a percentage who don’t take up your offer – it must take you ages! And of those followers, can you gauge how many actually read everything you write? I follow, with loyal interest, several blogs which I enjoy reading every time a post hits my reader – do you do that, too?
        For me, a small amount of feedback from people I have set up dialogue with and therefore have something in common with, is more valuable to me than followers who never return to see what I’ve been up to. As you say, it’s a different perspective, and no, neither way is right or wrong.

      • Yes, I follow many blogs and interact constantly with bloggers on a daily basis. That is how I saw not only your post, but also Denise’s. I browse a lot. As for how many invites? Not really sure, a lot? As I have said, which we don’t agree on, I believe I have something to offer people. Again, thanks for the response Jenny and take care. -OM

  3. Normally I would skip over a post like this, but your post seems genuine and heartfelt. I too like to connect with people which is why I have 30,000 followers. The issue is that it takes a while to sift through the sand to find people worth talking to and that want that type of connection. You have stated what your blogging ideal is, now let me share what mine is. I do not go around pressing “like” on anyone’s website. In fact, I ONLY like a post when I have read and actually do like it… which isn’t that much. I use the “follow” button as an open invite to a blogger to check out my website. If they choose to, they normally end up following. If they don’t, they don’t. “Power bloggers” is a funny term because where is the power? I make no money off my blog at ALL. I blog for numbers because it interests me to gather as many exciting people together as I can and it takes time to find those people. Generally you might run into a “nice blogger” that will communicate for a day or a week, but that isn’t the type of follower I am interested in. Without my large following I would never be able to run the current project I am. Anyways, to each their own and we do what makes us happy. Best of luck with the blog, -OM

    • Hi,
      Sorry for not being clear. While the thoughts and the specific numbers were inspired by Sherri’s blog and your conversation with Jenny, the thoughts were on my own experiences and not specifically about your blog. So Bob and I have both had experiences were people pressed Like but when your stats are low like ours, you can see that they haven’t visited the page to read the content.

      I am also thinking about people who press Like and when you go to their page, they are a professional blogger with not much to talk about apart from making money from blogging. These people always seem to have insanely high numbers of followers.

      While I don’t need thousands of followers, sometimes it would be nice to have more than the one or two readers a day I used to get at the beginning! So sometimes I did used to wonder why they got so many and I didn’t. My blogging experience is getting more to the place where I thought it would be, BUT I still have to remind myself that it isn’t a comparison.

      If you are running a project like yours yes you need many people to take part. And I think it is a very beneficial project as you can see from Sherri’s post.

      Thanks for taking the time to reply and sorry for any confusion.

      • I understood where you were coming from, but I wanted to clarify that just because someone has a “large blog” doesn’t mean they fit a “standard group” as is being labeled here. I am not a professional blogger, I make no money from my blog directly, and I also work 40 hours a week at a REAL job… so I do tend to get annoyed when I get labeled as a “power blogger” because I invested TONS of HOURS to reach my current blog stats. Thanks for the reply! -OM

      • Good luck with the project – you’ve obviously worked really hard to make it come about and that’s admirable.

  4. Help, what have I started!!!!! I have not had a chance to get back on my blog until just now. Having a couple of difficult Aspie Daughter days. I have just read my comments on my blog between Jenny and OM and now here and with you too!!! I am overwhelmed and feel like I need to reply to all but just don’t know where to start.
    Denise, I will reply to your comments you left on my blog after this but I just wanted to say that I agree with your blog post totally. I am so grateful for my very ‘small’ following and especially the new friends, like you, that I have made, especially recently. The mutual interaction, encouragement and community is something I never expected when I started blogging. I just wanted to share my writing journey with others, not even thinking many people would be that interested.
    I only have 34 ‘friends’ on Facebook having only joined last year and that only because I wanted to keep up with my close American friend and a few other friends and family. I do want to start a seperate FB page just for my posts as I do hope to be able to promote my book oneday but this is yet to come!
    I want to be able to keep up with the interaction on my blog and am so very grateful for people like you who take the time to comment and share. I can just about manage to this now, and I have always expressed my gobsmaking amazement at how OM can keep up with his followers, or at least those who ‘interest him’.
    Like you, I prefer to live in a ‘village’, although I do hope that when the time comes and I write ‘that book’ I can get the word out and social media seems to be the way to go about this. Still, I will cross that bridge when I come to it, if I ever do, and franklly, at this rate, it will be a long time coming!
    Have a good day Denise, and thanks again for your support…oh, and when you get home this evening after work, pour me one of those Mai Tais too would you? I need it… 😉

    • Opinions are great. I do appreciate that OM’s project reflects that. I’ve always been muted in my opinions and wanted to say the “right” thing for everyone. I still tend towards that. So watching two people argue a more extreme viewpoint does nothing but good for me. It shows me that as long as people respect each other, you can really get a lot of meaning out of engaging in an exchange of opinions with each other.

      I’m trying to move towards being less cautious. And maybe just throwing an opinion out there and not being afraid to be wrong and just say afterwards – I was having a daft moment. What was I thinking??

      Hang on in there with your daughter. You are a really wonderful mother.

      • Thanks Denise, that is really lovely of you to say that. I don’t feel very wonderful though much of the time, but I do appreciate your encouragement very much.
        It certainly has been a very interesting debate! I am now really glad I posted my replies, having had all day to think about things and take a step back with it all. Phew, what a day! Have a lovely evening and don’t forget that drink…oh, and I meant to say, your village looks idyllic 🙂

    • I’d buy your book, definitely. Just let me know when. (Amazed that you have the time and energy to do that too.)

      • Wow, now I wish I had written it already! The problem is that I don’t have the time and I really do need to get on with it and get much more disciplined. Synopsis and first chapter done…not touched it for months. You have really motivated me now 🙂

  5. Rick

    When someone approached me expressing their appreciation for my blog while clearly holding back tears the meaning of the whole blog reached a new level. I welcome it if I could touch a million that way. I will not let numbers drive what i write or like or who follows or reads. Exactly why I took them off my home page.

    • That’s true, we all like to communicate with others and write.

      I’m not saying that my attitude wouldn’t change over time or my outlook wouldn’t change. It’s just that at the moment, the idea of a million people (or even a few thousand) is a bit overwhelming. It’s been quite intense meeting all these people online so quickly, and then taking steps to be open.

  6. I guess bloggers who want/have 30,000 followers and those like us simply have a different objective for blogging beyond the fact that, yep, we all love to talk about ourselves!!

    I love that you love where you live 🙂 There is no better paradise than home, they say, but as much as I would love to be completely happy with what I have right now, I wish I could live in a more peaceful and less polluted suburb too.

    • I do like living here. There have been times when I wanted to get out, but now I’m happy. That and I’d have to pay tens of thousands of pounds in stamp duty if I ever moved.

  7. That’s what I want, too. “To have conversations, and to know people.” (I saw you posting on Jenny’s clothed nude statutes funny post–and popped over here to see what you were up to.)

    • It’s an interesting journey, isn’t it? I’ve discovered loads of things about human nature, and connections, and things to enjoy on other people’s blogs.

      The food on your blog and your writing about it is making me hungry. The Chinese vermicelli reminds me of Chinese restaurants and I’m talking about the proper ones tucked away in suburbs of London that Chinese people know are good.

  8. Its all about quality not quantity. I’d rather have five readers who I interact with than 5million who don’t really care! Thanks for the shout out by the way;)

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