Blog Science: Why People Quit on Blogs, RESULTS

Howdy Gang! Hope you all navigated the week of made up holidays without issue. Yes, I love loving people as much as anyone (check out my posts from last week if you don't believe me), but that doesn't change the fact that Valentine's Day is a fabricated money muncher foisted upon us by retailers the world over. Hey, I buy the chocolate, cards and flowers too--not judging anyone here. Just calling a sheep a sheep.


"Wanna hear a joke?" credit
A U.S. specific phenomenon is President's Day. Which, unless my memory fails, never used to be a big deal unless you were an employee of the United States government, a political prisoner or a kid in school. Now the holiday, originally concocted in the 1960s, has apparently gone mainstream Seems these days everyone is off work and/or having a sale of some kind.


While it wasn't originally intended to replace the respective birthday celebrations of two of our nation's finest men (Washington and Lincoln) that happen to be a week apart in February, it has taken on that significance for many. A day of great patriotism, as it were. I still think it's just an excuse to sell mattresses, cars and other big ticket items that beg for our hard-earned tax rebates. Whatever the case, I enjoyed having a rare breakfast meal with my wife on Monday nonetheless.


The grindstone returned Tuesday for many, and we've all got sore noses to show for it. Right? Right! (Just nod and agree even if you're still being a sloth. We'll never know...) As such, I thought it time to get back to the business of why people hate quit following our blogs.


If you'll recall, a couple of weeks back I had a two-part post on the subject (here and here) complete with fancy-schmancy survey. The votes are in, and frankly I'm a little surprised by the results.


There were 14 options to choose from (listed below) with an 'Other' category that allowed write-ins. You could vote for more than one category and as many times as you'd like, so this sucker is far from scientific. However, I tend to believe the votes are mostly genuine as 1) Why would anyone care enough about this to slant the votes? and, 2) I got an e-mail each time someone updated the survey and almost all coincided with a unique individual posting a comment as well.


Conclusion? This is at least as valid as a Florida election. (Probably more so.)


The premise was simple: Figure out why people quit following blogs. The choices were as follows:


1. Overall content isn't useful
2. Overal content is offensive
3. Don't want to be professionally associated with the themes or message of the blog
4. The blogger doesn't follow me back, or reciprocate my activity on my own blog
5. The blog is boring
6. Too few posts
7. Too many posts
8. Specific post offended me
9. Frequent mistakes in grammar, information, etc.
10. Formatting stinks (blog isn't attractive or simply cumbersome to navigate)
11. Consistent technical difficulties (pages won't load, videos won't play, etc.)
12. The blogger doesn't interact with followers
13. All of the above
14. Other


Here's how the votes came in:



Observations


- Don't be offensive or boring


By far the most common grievances. Both of these are tricky, because of their highly subjective natures. Me, for example. I'm easily entertained (LOL CATS FTW!), so you're not likely to put me off in that way. I also have a broad (crude?) sense of humor and am generally easygoing, so you could probably only offend me by being mean or stupid or both--with regularity.


There was a variation on the 'offensive' line as there was a choice for jumping ship if a specific post ruffled your feathers. It got a good number of votes, but I'd suspect that post would have to be pretty over the top in most cases. Could be wrong ... I read a blog a few weeks back where the blogger admitted to dropping people from Twitter, etc. because the talked about drinking alcohol. From my POV that'd be the equivalent of dropping someone because they like Lebron James. I think they're both issues of dubious moral logic. Valid, yes, but dubious. 


- Momma said to choose your friends wisely. You listened.


This one is interesting. Tied for 3rd most checked, it seems many people are cautious when it comes to the blog company they keep. Not sure if I'm surprised, as I've said many a time on this blog that folks aren't lying when they say the blog, writing and publishing worlds are punchbowl-small. I've read many, many agents say they are aware of what bloggers are saying--or at least check before taking on clients. I know author-bloggers talk a ton amongst themselves, and news travels fast.


Personally? It's a little disappointing. So long as you aren't vulgar and/or threatening I think you should share your opinions and be able (as professionals) to agree to disagree. That doesn't seem to be the case. 


This is one reason I can't advocate book reviews (some of you do awesome ones, btw) if you're an author (aspiring or otherwise). Seems like a lose-lose proposition unless you genuinely love the book. And if you're only 'reviewing' books you love, they aren't reviews, they're recommendations. I digress.


- Surprises


More folks are put off by too many posts as opposed to too few. Who knew?


- Reciprocity is king


If you combine them, by far the thing that you'll get you bounced the most for is ignoring your followers. I consider Doesn't Follow Back and Blogger Doesn't Interact to be branches on the same tree. Both got a lot of votes. The lesson? Love your followers, and they shall love you. Shun them and they'll kick you to the curb.


- Touchy!


Whomever voted 'All' has probably already quit following me. 


- Bug free is the choice for me


Another area that, if combined, generated a lot of hits was issues in formatting, technical aspects and overall user interface. Guess the lesson here is to occasionally go to your blog as a user would (through the browser, not the blogger dashboard) and make sure it looks and behaves correctly. Also, do it right after a post goes up. Check your links, videos, etc. to make sure they're behaving. A little probably goes a long way here. 


- The 'other' write-ins, because they were good


If the blog is a veiled advertisement or the content is idiotic; my interests have changed (IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S ME!); posts are too long (GULP)


So what do you think? Do you disagree with the majority? Anything we missed?


~EJW~

16 comments:

  1. Hah. I learned a lot and yet I learned nothing. It's basically just how people are. You will never not offend or not bore all people. It's impossible. So in my opinion, write what you want to write and you will find an audience.

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    1. AMEN Michael. I think I Tweeted something along the lines, "You'll never please all of the people some of the time, nor some of the people all the time. So why not just do it for you?"

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  2. I think the only person who ever offended me was the one who said she hated people. I'm sorry, but that was so over the top. I mean blogs are written by people not vampires or whatever life-form she enjoyed communicating with.
    As far as my own blog--well I'm sure I bore the heck out of some people, but like my friend Michael above is saying, you can't please everyone. Great post E.J. and by the way, YOU are NEVER boring!

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  3. Yes, I guess I can relate. I think what happens sometimes is that early on, we follow a lot in the hopes of reciprocation. And we don't necessarily choose to follow blogs we love -or else we don't know we don't love them yet! We're just trying to get started. It's true for me, and I'm sure it's true for folks who followed me earlier and realized later that I wasn't their cup of tea. I think though, that it's OK! Like books, everyone doesn't like the same thing!

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    1. You're so very right, Melissa. We'll never all enjoy the same things. I do think there is probably a 'neutral' position that a blog can fall into that'll resonate with the most people, but I'm not sure that's something we can truly manipulate to an great effect.

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  4. Laughed out loud at the one about the person checking 'all' no longer follow you!
    Think I'm safe on offensive thing - now to remember to be interesting.
    I would've thought 'doesn't follow back' or 'doesn't interact' would both be higher. If you're not blogging to be social, why are you blogging?
    And I'm sure your poll is more accurate than a Florida election!

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    1. I was surprised that neither of those were the top vote 'getters' too, Alex. However, I do think they might've split votes. I agree that the social aspect is probably paramount.

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  5. I think a boring blog would be my number one complaint (along with really loooooooong posts), but I would never unfollow someone because of it. I just might not click on their blog every time they post. Really, the only reason I've unfollowed is because they didn't follow back and I couldn't establish a relationship with them. Not even to wave and say hello as we pass in the hallway. :-/

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  6. I sometimes worry about being offensive because I tend to have strong opinions. I suppose the unfollow most of the time because I'm just not interested in the blog's content.

    By the way, interesting new blog look.

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  7. Overall, it's just plain good that you conducted this experiment. We can all use reminders on how to improve our bloggy-selves. Thanks!

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  8. I would have to agree with those who voted for Posts Too Often. Writers have to read, sure...but if they're spending too much time reading, they're not going to do any writing. As much as I would love to be able to read and comment on all of the blogs on my blogroll, I've had to curtail my online time so I can finally finish my next book...which means I can't read every blog every day. I've cut back my own posts to once a week for the same reason.

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  9. Who on earth would drop a follower on blogs or twitter just because they happen to speak about alcohol? No logic there at all....

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  10. The Japanese have fine-tuned the commercialism of Valentine's Day even better. On Feb 14, girls give guys chocolates. On "White Day," March 14, guys give girls presents!

    This is interesting to know. I never mention posting too often when I do blog workshops. I guess that's because I think once a day is fine, and I don't know anyone who posts more often than that unless it was some kind of special announcement.

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  11. I cracked up that someone voted "All of the above." LOL LOL. I honestly don't think I've ever unfollowed a blog, but it is really hard to keep up with all of them the longer I'm blogging.

    This was really interesting to read. Thanks for doing the poll, EJ!

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“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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