I sign into my Google account and I head for my Dashboard. Then I stop. I gulp. Oh no! One of my followers is missing. Oh my! Someone no longer wants to know about my blog. A reader has deserted me. I think… What did I write? Did I offend someone? Why doesn’t he/she want to read my blog any more? Isn’t everyone hanging onto every word I write? How will they survive without Sue Elvis Writes? More to the point, how will I survive without my followers?
I am wallowing in self-pity. I feel so unloved. Will I ever recover from the pain of being abandoned? And then I remember something. The other day I unfollowed a few blogs. Could someone have noticed? Maybe they gulped too. Perhaps I made them feel unloved and abandoned. Could they have decided to unfollow me in return?
Was I cruel, heartless and uncharitable, engaging in the act of unfollowing? Oh I feel terrible just thinking about it! I didn’t mean to be so bad. You see, I had to do something. It was unavoidable. My blog reading was getting way out of control.
I follow a lot of blogs. You know how it is: It’s so easy to click ‘follow this blog’. I do it all the time. You should see my feed. Every time I look there’s a long, long line of post notifications waiting to be read. And the later notifications keep chasing the earlier ones down the line and off the page. Sometimes I fail to see posts I really would like to read. So the other day I decided to take action, get my blog reading in order.
I unfollowed a few blogs.
Sometimes I think I should unfollow every blog I read and then start again. But I didn't do this. Instead I unfollowed the ones I’m getting notifications for in more than one way. I hear about things via Facebook and Networked Blogs. I subscribe: I don't really need to follow every blog when whole posts drop into my email inbox. I also look at links in my side-bar or use other people’s links to keep in touch. Despite unfollowing, I’m still reading all my favourite blogs.
Unfollowing and being unfollowed led to some pondering…
If someone follows your blog is it correct blogging etiquette to follow back? Is this how we end up following so many blogs? Should we not follow back? But if we did this, we might not discover how great the blog is. We might miss out on some wonderful blogging friendships. There is no doubt some blogs are exceptional. I am not surprised people are lining up to follow them, regardless of whether anyone has followed them first. Are the number of followers a real indication of how popular a blog is? And does the number of followers we have really matter? Oh what a lot of following questions!
I look at my own follower numbers: 82. (I'd better hurry and publish this post before it changes.) That might sound impressive to someone who has 10 followers, but in the big scheme of things it’s not a lot at all. I wonder how many of those 82 people actually read my posts. I think many of my followers disappeared long ago, just leaving their number behind. Then I have some followers who very cleverly followed me twice. Members of my family kindly boosted my numbers. So when it comes down to it, I don’t have that many followers at all. I don’t suppose it would matter much if I lost a few more. So…
Perhaps you’re one of my followers who’s too kind hearted to tell me in a public way you no longer want to read my posts. They’re not relevant to you any more. You haven’t the time to read a lot of blogs. I just haven’t anything interesting to say. I know how it is. I understand. My blog has to go.
I hereby declare it’s quite okay to unfollow my blog. I might gulp. I might cry a few tears. I might feel a little unloved. It could be touch and go for a short time. But I will pull through. I won’t be crushed forever. Life will go on. I guess I'll keep writing regardless.
Why is following and unfollowing such a tricky business?
It seems I have come to the end of this post. A few more words to read then you'll be free to do something else. You could go check your followers to see if anyone is missing. Perhaps I should go check mine too. That was rather a reckless unfollowing invitation.
And if anyone has some good tips for keeping blog reading under control without offending anyone, I'd be grateful for some advice.
Image: I rather like this photo of some very shaggy sheep. Sheep do a lot of following... just like me.
PS: I used the word 'follow' 38 times in one post. No wonder this post is so confusing.