How I know I CAN quit you and my 100th post!

I'd like to continue my FOUR LETTER WORD theme for the week and discuss blog followers. Moreover, I'd like to discuss how we lose them.  The word QUIT came to mind, because that's typically how I'd define the termination of my keeping up with a particular blog.

First, let's take a quick look at why people might follow a blog in the first place.  I follow blogs for a handful of reasons, which include:

They provide useful and/or interesting information - I'm a writer and like to read about, and learn from, other writers.  I also enjoy reading and seek out others who do as well.

An act of reciprocity - The blog world is a community, and the 'Do unto others..." guideline definitely applies.  You must follow to be followed--especially in the beginning.  Simply put: could you make friends and build relationships by walking into Walmart, shouting your name and telling everyone to meet you in in aisle 15 of the parking lot if they want to get to know you?  Heck no.  No one is going to care if you create a blog and start posting stuff unless you make a genuine effort to get to know them too.

For entertainment - Some blogs I follow have nothing to do with writing.  I follow them because they're funny, quirky or touch on some other aspect of life I enjoy.  Sometimes I follow for purely voyeuristic purposes, meaning it's somebody who has an interesting life or (more likely) interprets their ordinary life in a unique way.

Before I get into how to run people off, I'll qualify a few things.  I don't have a ton of experience in 'unfollowing'.  I started following blogs when I started blogging (about a year ago), and in that time I've probably quit following 3-7 blogs.  That's out of the dozens I currently keep up with.  However, I have noticed a pattern in my jumping ship, and that's what I'm going to share.  Reasons I quit following:

Lack of reciprocity - I've dropped a few blogs because I continually left comments on their posts and they didn't follow me (minor offense as I'm willing to accept that not everyone I follow is going to dig my blog and some folks like to keep their lists manageable) or didn't acknowledge my comments (major offense)--ever.  I don't expect every comment I post to receive a direct response, or even be read for that matter.  However, if I comment on your blog weekly over a period of months, at some point it would be cool if you answered my questions or responded to anything I said.  Followers of my blog get a ton of slack in this area, btw.

Continued posting of things I completely disagree with - I can probably be accused of this one myself!  :)  I stopped following a couple of major writing-related blogs because the blogger continually posted offensive content. I'm not talking about nude photos or anything, they simply kept posting things that made me bristle intellectually.  Not to mention one of the blogs posted an outrageous slam of pretty much half the human race and, when commentors began to call them out for it, they disabled the comments.  If you're going to say controversial things in public, you need to be able to take your medicine.  I might delete a profane response to one of my posts, but I'd NEVER prohibit people form disagreeing with me.  As a matter of fact, I think some disagreement is healthy.

Constant pandering to the publishing gods (or being a fake, phony, fake) - We all know this is a fickle business.  It's hard to get started and even more difficult to stay once you're there (so I'm told).  Spitting in the face of conventions is probably not the best thing to do.  That being said, I've dropped blogs because they were constantly trying to mirror things the "industry" seemed to encourage as opposed to being an organic representation of the author's voice and style.  In my somewhat limited viewing, I'd say prospective YA and young reader bloggers are far worse at this than many of the other writing groups.  I don't know if it's a voice thing, a market thing--or something else entirely--but it drives me a little crazy at times.  Don't communicate what you think people want to hear, communicate what you think and what they NEED to hear.  

Again, I'm sure I've done some of these myself.  I've lost a few followers over time, and I may lose a few over this post.  I don't think committing any of the 'offenses' listed above on occasion is going to necessarily lose you followers.  Unfortunately, it might over time.

What say you?  Do you monitor your following?  Do you notice when someone drops you?  Have you quit following blogs?  Why?


PLEASE DON'T QUIT ON ME!


~EJW~  

34 comments:

  1. I wish there were an icon to click to let the blogger know I've heard his/her blog even if I don't have time to make a comment. I follow so many, there simply is not enough time to comment on every one. If I did, I'd never get any writing done. But I do read them...often on my phone.

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  2. Where's the "like" button? :) This is an awesome post, and I'm not even saying that to butter you up. Though what good that would do me anyway, I don't know.

    I feel much the same about quitting. I've stopped following several blogs in my time as a blogger. The number one reason is a lack of reciprocity. (OMG, I can't believe I spelled that right on the first try!) When someone doesn't acknowledge you in some way, what they're saying is that their time is more important than yours or they themselves are above you. I know people need time to to get back to you, and sometimes comments slip through the cracks, but if I never get anything back I'm dumping that blog. On the other hand, if someone does something nice for me I will go out of my way to help them out. I kick butt at connecting the dots in networking and word-of-mouth advertising. So it's a mistake to slight me.

    I've also had some people comment on my blog, but when I started following theirs I realized it didn't interest me in the least. I made sure to thank them for visiting and commenting, but after a few weeks I unsubscribed. I would expect nothing different from anyone who visits my blog. If you're not interested, don't waste your time. Life is short, and there are too many other blogs that will interest you.

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  3. @ Norma: I completely get that. As I mentioned, I give followers a ton of street cred when it comes to not commenting or responding back to comments I make, because I do the same thing. I follow so many blogs, I'd spend all day just trying to respond to each one. But I do try to read them all. GREAT idea about an icon or something to let people know you've seen their stuff.

    @ Lisa: No need for buttering, I'm still trying to shed holiday pounds! :) I think what you mentioned in the second paragraph is 100% appropriate, and it happens. We're just not going to love everyone's blog. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. You need to get onto me for this. I can take it. Good read.

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  5. I may not post a comment very often but I try to read all the blog posts that come out every day from everyone. I guess this a good time to say, "I'm still here!" And, I enjoy your blog tremendously.

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  6. Congrats on 100!

    Reciprocity is nice, but not essential. Sure the people who are a little more communicative and responsive are the ones I'll probably form closer bonds with, but I follow a few pretty big blogs and don't expect them to take the time to respond to everyone. Guess I'm okay with being invisible some of the time.

    Content and voice are mostly what I look for when deciding to follow a blog. I haven't unfollowed anyone yet, but a situation like the one you described could probably change that.

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  7. @ TH & Lizz: This wasn't a threat or anything! :) You all are safe!

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  8. Thanks Sarah! You bring up a great point: I think at some level true reciprocity breaks down. To be honest, once a blog has reached a following that needs a comma, I pretty much excuse them from that rule. Some blogs I follow get 50-100 comments on every post, and there just isn't any practical way to follow up on that number.

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  9. Hey, we're having a Montana Heat Wave! Our thermometer outside reads 20 degrees [F].

    Yeah, I monitor my comments. I started when a couple people kept plugging services when I first started.

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  10. Excellent post! I think it's tough- the posting everywhere thing- but I try to post especially when a topic says something to me (like yours did!). I also agree with your other two points, don't be a suck up and if you're going to dish it out, bring a spoon. Well said, E.J.!

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  11. @ Kay: You all are out of the negatives? Spring must be coming! :)

    @ Misty: Thank you! I like that 'bring a spoon' saying!

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  12. @EJ: I don't have many followers, so I notice when they disappear. And I try to be a good member of the blogging community. If someone posts on my blog, I stalk them back and then try to post something on their blog. Which is exactly how I found you!

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  13. Congrats on your 100th post. That is a great achievement. I don't think that everyone should jump ship on you for your opinions. I think you put them nicely. Everyone for some reason or another on the blogosphere is here and also has other obligations. We either meet the readers expectations or we don't.

    It's just like anything else out there that is written. Everyone is entitled to their opinion of it. If your not satisfied then it is understandable. I have times when family and work are out of control and I can't get to the blog, but I do what I can. I don't even have internet at home until next week...so I have been really struggling to keep up.

    Best wishes and look forward to the next 100.

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  14. Great post as usual.
    The reciprocity thing is funny.
    There are definitely some blogs that I commented on repeatedly, but then stopped looking at because every comment I made produced nothing but crickets chirping.
    I try to always comment back when someone takes time to drop a line on my blog. It just feels nice/respectful.

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  15. Congrats on the 100th post. Like many mentioned above, I don't always have time to comment, but I read them.

    I've been trying to make sure I return comments to those who comment on my blog. With working full time now, I am finding that a bit more difficult than it used to be!

    Keep up the good posts!

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  16. Happy 100th blog post!!!

    I read the blogs I follow, try to leave a comment on each one at least once a week. Although sometimes life catches up with me, and I find myself going MIA from the online world for a week or two at a time.

    Like you, I am amazed at the friends I have made. Without their support, I would have hung up my writing hat a long time ago!

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  17. Okay...I'm ashamed to say I try not to...but I do. I wonder if I bored them, or they are just not interested in following. Now as a New Year's cleaning, I unfollow blogs that are no longer active.

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  18. Hi E.J.
    You already know I usually have a sweet blog persona, but my comments can be well...not so sweet. I try to see both sides of the blogger's point and react to that. By the way, if you had a thousand followers like some of the writing blogs I follow, I would never comment. Something to look forward to-I guess.

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  19. Hi E.J. I agree with you.

    I have never unfollowed a blog (I now follow 307), but the things you mentioned lowers my priority to support.

    I hate when comments are disabled. It feels as if the blogger is talking at you and not with you. It comes over as pompous, because it looks as if the only opinion the blogger cares about is his/her own...

    There are a few things that I really don't like to see in blogs, but I'll rather keep mum on this, because they're common issues.

    :-)

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  20. By the way, I can't wait until your eleventy-first post.

    Definitely not going to quit on you.

    ;-)

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  21. Good points, EJ. I've "unfollowed" a few aspiring author bloggers like myself who never returned the follow. Why? Because I don't have time to invest in another blog that doesn't care to invest in mine. That may sound harsh, but unless you're a big name author, why wouldn't you want to do that? HOWEVER, I've also learned that sometimes peeps think they're following you, and then realize they're not... because let's face it, after following so many blogs, it's hard to remember. I'm guilty of this myself. There was a blog I'd read every day and comment on, who was following my blog, then I realized weeks later that I wasn't even following his! I felt horrible. I just assumed I was a follower. SO sometimes we make mistakes.
    As for the commenting feedbcak. I just don't have the time to repond to every comment on my blog. I read every one and if there's a direct question, I answer it. Otherwise, I just can't keep up. I never go back and check blogs I've commented on either., I don't have time to do it. I wish I did.
    ANyway, congrats on 100! Looking foreward to 100 more! :) Have a great weekend!

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  22. Hi E.J. I do notice when new people follow me and I try to follow them back (when Blogger will allow me to see their pages!). I'm a little behind now, so I have yet to befriend some people who have followed my blog. I also include all of my followers in Google Reader and either scroll through the hundreds new entries each day or pick some to read at random (or I do it alphabetically - All A's today, B's tomorrow, etc.). There's just no way I can read everyone's blog every day.

    I don't notice if people stop following, and it wouldn't really bother me, well, unless it was someone I had gotten to know well.

    I haven't stopped following anyone myself, and I'm definitely not going to stop following you ;)

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  23. Wow! Such great points by all. A few observations--It can be impossible to follow up on every comment all the time. Same goes for reading every blog that you follow. I'll admit (as far as reading goes) most people are at the mercy of the Google Reader feed, because I usually go through them in order of appearance. I read the most first thing in the morning, so if you're in the top 10-15 I'll read it then. Then I'll try to read a couple throughout the day as I pop on the internet.

    I really love Tessa's idea of randomly reading on occasion. I should do that more so I don't miss the folks who don't post as frequently, or at least have the same chance of catching their stuff.

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  24. I wish there were a way to know who quit when followers disappear.

    I rarely quit following a blog, especially if they are following mine. In those rare occasions that I have quit it is for the same reasons you give. I think we all have our core communities of blogs we read regularly and those who read and comment on ours. Most of us understand that. The rest of the numbers look good on the page and it's nice to know that they are still there just in case.
    So far, the only blogs I've quit following are the ones who aren't reciprocally following mine and totally ignore my comments to them and have nothing that's really unique or wonderfully different to offer.

    Did you sign up for A to Z yet? It's a good way to reach the 100 follower and beyond mark. No guarentee they'll read, but they'll be there for you--just in case.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

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  25. I thought I was following your blog already... whoops! Just corrected that!

    Awesome post, and right on. Blogging is definitely a two-way street.

    I think blogger should add like buttons. :)

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  26. Not only will I not quit, I will start following you. I thought I already was following you. Did you delete me? :)

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  27. Congratulations, EJ!!!

    I agree with you 100% about following. It should definitely be reciprocated, but only if they are interested. I do not want followers that do not care what I post. I know there are some out there that follow just to have me follow them. To me a follower is someone that has something to say about my posts. They are really interested, not just hanging on for that extra number on their GFC. I'm not saying they have to comment on every post, as I don't either if I truly cannot relate to it, but don't follow me if you are really not interested. Ok, I'm done rambling now, carry on.

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  28. Some formats of course allow you to click on something like Cool or Interesting, so there's that.

    I follow quite a lot of blogs, and like you, I at least read them all, and comment as often as possible.

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  29. Well, I just found you and I like what I see, so I'm now following! Completely agree with you about the comment thing. It irks me when I comment regularly on a blog and never ever ever get a response, either in the comments or in an email (and I learned to click on that "subscribe" button a long time ago).

    I have stopped following some blogs, but for the most part I hang in there because I tend to be an optimist. My own following is very tiny, so it's easy to monitor. One of my early followers dropped me, but I realized she had simply stopped blogging (so it wasn't me -- phew!).

    Congrats on the 100th post! That's an accomplishment.

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  30. Hey EJ, congrats on your 100 posts!!! LOL, I came to say welcome to the Crusade, and got caught up in your discussion ;) You've got some great comments here. I rarely stop following blogs, but I am in the process of sorting out my subscriptions in my Google Reader, so some blogs will be going in my "never comment and never reply" folder I suspect ;)

    I used to spend hours replying on my blog to everyone who left a comment, only to find that most people don't subscribe or check back :O So now I reply by email to those who have their email addresses showing, and include a general comment at the end of comments in a post for those who don't. Hopefully that doesn't offend anyone *holds breath* :D

    Anyway, lovely to meet you, can't wait to get to know you better.

    Rach

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  31. I'm one who likes to keep my list manageable, so I've quit a few simply because it's not easy reading 60+ people's thoughts.

    The one's I quit aren't neccesarily doing anything wrong. But their voice doesn't gel with me.

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  32. 100 posts--whoot! congrats!
    i pretty much feel exactly the same way about follower-ism and comment-ism on the blogosphere. while i dont expect to get a reply on every comment i make, and neither do i check on every comment to see if its been replied (who the heck does?), its still nice to receive some acknowledgement, right? so i deff try to do that to peoplez who comment on my blog. as for the reciprocation...i cant possibly follow EVERY blog that follows mine--well, technically i only have 46 followers so i could, but i follow lots of other blogs whose owners dont follow me, and im okay with that. you cant expect someone with 500-1000 followers to always follow you back, eh? plus, im more for following blogs with good content instead of doing it so they follow mine. thats just kind of political, if you ask me.
    oh man, i see i has rambled quite a bit. just expressing my opinion :)
    (also, on a random note, i cant believe i havent seen brokeback mountain yet! i mean, it has HEATH LEDGER and JAKE GYLLENHAAL in the same movie. must see soon.)

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  33. oh my god, YES, i have rambled--thats a freaking LONG comment! sorry about that. :D

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