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.

Post a Comment

  1. Sue, you are stuck with me! If you ever find me missing, know it is somehow accidental! However, I know what you mean about the following..... I HAD to do some major unfollowing last summer, and I felt bad about it. But if we really read all of the wonderful blogs we know about (and that's just the ones we know about!), we'd never have any time to write a word on our OWN! My followers gadget (which I just had on one blog anyway) kept appearing and disappearing from the sidebar (which I understand is a problem with other Blogger blogs at times), so I finally just removed it. I think most of those who "follow" me do so by e-mail anyway, and I don't even know how to find out how many there are - and that's probably just as well! So I go along blissfully unaware. But here I am. Baaaaaaaaa...

    1. Nancy,

      Oh I'm not the only person who feels bad about unfollowing! Yes, you are right. Sensible as usual. If we read everything we'd never post anything of our own. Sometimes I get so far behind with blog reading, I think I shouldn't post anything more until I've caught up. But then a 'wonderful' blogging idea occurs to me and I forget my good resolution! I am hopeless.

      Followers gadgets... Mine have been in and out of my side-bars depending on my mood. If I had lots of followers I could show off with my gadget. "Look how many followers I've got!" But I haven't, so I can't!

      Blissfully unaware of numbers of followers... I think that's the perfect situation.

      So grateful you want to follow because you always make me smile. Love the baaaaa!

    2. Sigh,. I feel the same way that the 2 of you feel. It is so hard to keep up isnt it? And I dont like to unfollow either.
      Came here to wish you a Merry Christmas in case I dont get back here before next week!

    3. Colleen,

      It seems we're all having the same blogging problem and there's no easy answer.

      I am so glad you stopped by today. Thank you! I hope you have a very happy Christmas too!

      May God bless you and your family.

  2. Sue,

    I have just followed you! Heehee!
    I love your blog! If fact almost whenever I'm on the computer I hop on to your blog to see if you have done a new post or I might check out some of your really old posts! They are super interesting and funny too!
    Maybe the person didn't mean to un-follow you. Maybe something happened to their computer, or they made a mistake. I have no idea!!! But please keep your blog! I really enjoy reading it!

    God Bless

    1. Gemma,

      You have made me laugh. I expected the number of my followers to decrease, not increase. Thank you! It's always lovely to see you've visited my blog.

      It really doesn't matter why the person unfolowed my blog. Actually a few people have done that recently. If they aren't interested, then it's only right they unfollow. But I do appreciate your kind words.

      God bless you too!

  3. Oh my goodness, this post was too funny. I had the same thing happen to me a couple of months ago. I had no idea who left me and it was killing me. I ended up figuring it out. It was a blogger who seemed to fall off the face of the earth in the summer and her blog is no longer around, so it was fine. But oh, the horror I felt!!
    I have so many questions of my own regarding etiquette, so I am not the person to ask. But I will be checking back to see what advice you get!

    1. Kathleen,

      It was a fun post to write!

      Not knowing who unfollowed... oh yes! I always wonder about that too. "It was killing me." hehe. Can you imagine a message from Google? Instead of "You have a new blog follower", they'd say, "Sue Elvis has unfollowed your blog." No, maybe that's not such a good idea. Perhaps it's better no one knows!

  4. Now maybe you should discuss "follow privately" or "follow publicly"! That is another "wide" field :)!

    1. Eva,

      I think I have followed some blogs privately. Of course I could unfollow these without offending anyone (if I could remember which blogs they are!) but maybe I offended those bloggers anyway by choosing not to follow publicly. As you said, this is another wide field. It's all very complicated!

  5. I follow a lot of blogs just by having them in my bookmarks and then popping in when I have a minute or two to spare. I'll never know if I missed a post, they do not beckon and stress me, but they're there, safe, not disappearing due to my bad memory. Only the blogs I really want to read the minute they're out (and yours is included here - even if the time difference mostly makes your blog appear in the middle of my night) appear on my blogroll even if I also get some of the notifications via e-mail.
    And I agree with Kathleen in so far as this is a new land for me, so I'll be following this discussion to become wiser.

    1. Uglemor,

      I feel honoured my blog is in your side-bar. I was so surprised to see it there when I first visited your blog. Yes, I have some blogs bookmarked too. It's sometimes hard to find a blog again if you can't remember its name. Have you ever fed likely words into Google hoping it will point you to the right blog?

      I don't know if we've come to any wise conclusions yet. Don't get stressed out about it all?

      I should schedule my posts to appear during my night but your day. Then I'd wake up to the delight of a comment from you! Always good to hear from you regardless of the time of day.

    2. I also feel honoured by being in your side bar. When I god a new computer as the old broke down, I lost quite a few blogs, I want to read, one or two are still lost, an yesI've been googling on and off, but never found them again. Wis conclusions, no, I think I'll just keep on blogging for myself, my mother, you, my Norwegian friend, and my two Danish readers :)
      I must admit that I hve turned on my computer earlier than usually these last days to check if you had written a new post. So far I've been disappointed, but it's a nice way to start the day - no pressure intended.
      Have a blessed Advent, what's left of it.

    3. Uglemor,

      I am sure you have many more dedicated readers than 6, but I do like how you singled me out. Thank you!

      Oh it's lovely to be missed! Yes, I haven't written anything new for this blog for a while. I have been busy writing about parenting on my unschooling blog. I might post a Midnight Mass story for Christmas. But right at this moment, I am off to sew Sophie a new Christmas dress. I hope it turns out okay. She is so excited!

      God bless!

  6. It was me ... it was me ... no wait, it wasn't me ... I LOVE YOU! You actually thought about stopping your blog once and I was quite upset and worried - don't do that to a girl!

    Do you know I have no idea if anyone follows me or not. In regards to my blog that is; I am hoping I would catch on if I was being followed like in a stalker situation ... man they would have the slowest job, I take such small little steps you see. But I digress, I do not look to see who follows me on my blog on purpose ... the loss of my one and only follower would possibly cripple me for life. I would wallow in self-pity for days. I would be in the "depths of despair" as my dear Anne of Green Gables would say. I really have no idea where my girls get their over dramatic personalities from ... hmmm

  7. Lisa,

    You don't have to look to see who your one and only follower is. It's me! It's me! And you don't have to worry about wallowing in self pity. I'm not going anywhere. I love your blog. I wouldn't unfollow you. I need my regular dose of fun. Actually I’m pretty certain you have a lot more followers than one. Your blog is a very friendly place. Must be lots of people who love stopping by. Thank you so much for your kind words. You have this knack for making me smile!

  8. I have to echo Nancy...you're stuck with me too, kiddo.
    BUT if you ever want to unfollow me, it's ok...we're all over soc media and sometimes it's just easier to see someone's post on FB, G_+, etc and click over.
    BTW I fixed my feedburner issue and my subscribers will actually be getting regular posts! YAY!

    Havea great day Sue!

    1. Chris,

      I won't be unfollowing you. Anabelle is right: we can't unfollow people we have meaningful friendships with. I'd miss you if I did that. I like how you are 'all over the social media'. Lots of ways to find you!

      I've had a few problems with feedburner too. I subscribed to one of my own blogs to check out what happens. Emails with new posts take a long time to arrive in inboxes. I'm receiving your posts though!

      I'm having a busy day learning something new. I'm trying to work out how to turn a real paper book into epub and Kindle books. I think I've found a way though maybe my method could be improved. Anyway, I hope you have a great day too!

  9. Sue, I too have unfollowed through email and followed through blog login. It helps me control my reading because I just read 2 days out of the week and pick the ones whose headlines I feel inspired to read. If I haven't read a blog in a long time,a I unfollow but I never unfollow those with whom I have a meaningful friendship with. I have been wondering if I should continue to blog everytime I am unfollowed but Jesus said he only had 12 so the minute my number goes below his, I have his permission to stop. I am slowing down blogging though and sharing more posts to catholic sites. A advent to you!

    1. Anabelle,

      I must have a look at Bloglovin. That sounds a much better way to keep up with everyone's blogs. You sound very organised. If I only read blogs at certain times I'd have more time for other things. I seem to waste a lot of time...

      Oh I do like what you said about yours and Jesus' number of followers! I shall remember that.

      I have already quoted your words about not unfollowing those readers with whom we have meaningful friendships. You are so sensible, Anabelle. I am very glad you stopped to share with me today.

      A blessed Advent to you too!

  10. Hi! I am Hannah or Margo's brother Nodd:)

    1. Hi Nodd,

      I love your blog! It sounds like you have lots of interests. I like writing, reading and drawing too. I'm not very good at drawing though.

      Thank you for visiting my blog and stopping to say hello!

  11. Of course I am happy about every follower and I will look at everyone's blog who is following mine, but I won't follow back if I'm not interested in what they are posting.
    None of us is going to be happy if I'll never comment because I simply cannot relate and if I'm flooded with uninteresting blog posts...
    And I tend to find it easier to unfollow someone who has never reacted to comments etc. when I'm no longer interested in their blog.
    Most often, when a person reacts to you, their posts are going to be more interesting to you, anyway :)

    1. Miu,

      Oh yes! I like what you said. What is the point of following a blog you just can't relate to? I guess it's quite okay not to follow back after all.

      If someone responds to my comments I feel she is listening to me. But if my comments are never acknowledged in any way I do tend to think that blogger wouldn't even notice if I unfollowed her blog. I suppose that could lead into a whole new post about commenting...

      Should bloggers respond to comment? Is that correct blogging etiquette? Maybe that's a post for another day!

      Thank you so much Miu for your comment!

  12. Sue, what a great post! It especially made me laugh tonight, because I checked my dashboard a little while ago and GASP...I lost a follower too. That hadn't happened in a while, so I wondered what I did wrong as well. But, I am recovering :) Just hope it wasn't you! Hah! I'd still follow you anyway! I find people drop off if I don't post new material for a few weeks. I follow many more blogs than I read. I would like to read them all, but just don't have time. I am more inclined to read the ones on my blogroll, but I really need to update that as well. I always read my friends' blogs..even if I fall behind, but I try to catch up when I have time.

    Comments? I feel odd when people ignore comments. I think that's okay now and then. We all have times when family or illness or vacations, etc., make it impossible to respond to comments. But, for the most part, I think if people are kind enough to read your post and leave a comment, they should be acknowledged. It's a great way to get to know your readers as well. I guess if you have thousands of followers..lol, then you could be excused from answering all comments :) I'd love to read what others think about the comment issue.
    What a great picture you chose for this post!!! Nancy said it all: Baaaaa! xoxo

    1. Patricia,

      You lost a follower too? (Of course it wasn't me!) I recommend you lie down for a while while you adjust to the situation. Don't rush. Losing a follower is serious!

      "... if you don't post new material for weeks..." I've been thinking about this. All the blogging 'experts' say we should blog frequently, even every day. But I reckon readers would soon get fed up with daily posts from me. They would probably say, "Oh no! Not another post. I haven't read the last one or the one before that or the one before the one before that... yet!" I don't think I should flood everyone's feed with too many posts. But then again, maybe there are blogs, more popular than mine, where everyone is hanging out for the next post.

      I love the way you answer comments so generously. Do you remember when we first started exchanging comments? We were apologising to each other for writing 'letters' in each other's comments box! I bet we'd talk and talk and talk if we ever happened to meet up face to face!

      Sometimes I stop on a new (to me) blog and leave a few comments. If the blogger doesn't reply I usually creep away feeling like an intruder. I know some people don't have time to answer their comments but replies sure help make a reader feel welcome, and that leads to friendships. At least that's how it appears to me! Maybe I will write a comments post.

      When I saw the photo of the shaggy sheep I just had to use it! I'm glad you like it. xxxx

  13. Whenever someone unfollows me, I just tell myself that they probably just deleted their account. Maybe it was someone who hasn't blogged in ages and doesn't intend on coming back. It might not be true .. But it makes me feel a heck of a lot better!

    1. Kellie,

      You could be quite right about your unfollower having deleted their account, and if it makes you feel better, I say that's an excellent suggestion! You have so many more followers than me I am guessing you could lose a few and not even notice!

      I hope you have a very happy Christmas! Thanks for stopping by.

  14. I would never unfollow you! I don't get much time to read lately, but when I do, yours is the first I go to! You are such a gifted story teller & you inspire me!

    1. Dana,

      Thank you for your kind words. I'm hoping you've decided to keep blogging. I can imagine how busy you are, but you amaze me with how you still manage to share regularly on your blog. You must be very organised and not waste time like me!

      I hope you are enjoying Christmas with your family. May God bless you all!


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