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The follow for follow mentality in blogging

I want to talk about something. Something which has become more and more prominent in the blogging world over the last few years. At least for me anyway – it’s probably been like this for far longer but perhaps I haven’t been paying attention. It’s something I see almost on a daily basis; on Twitter and even in blog comments on my own blog. I feel that we have a bit of a “follow for follow” problem in blogging and I wanna have… a little chat… about it today (chat = rant).

We all remember the days of MySpace (if you don’t then you’re far too young!) and PC4PC. Again, for those toddlers which don’t remember any of this, PC4PC means ‘Picture Comment for Picture Comment’. Getting comments on your MySpace photos was like a really huge deal and PC4PC was a way to exchange comments and basically get more comments on your photos so more people complimented you and you were cooler. Or something.

I’m not going to lie to you, I very much got caught up in the whole PC4PC thing. I was obsessed with getting more and more comments. This incessant need to be popular even transferred over to Instagram, when I first made an Instagram account long before I started blogging. I would frequently take part in ‘Shout out 4 shout out!’s and was consumed with getting more followers and comments on Instagram. I’m sharing this because it’s obvious that it’s very easy to get caught up in the numbers, the popularity and the need to be seen. It’s so damn easy to get sucked into all of that.

But when it comes to blogging, things are different. I started blogging over 5 years ago and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, how to gain followers or how people even found my blog. I am so proud of myself to say that my blog following has been 100% organic, gradual and without the help of anything or exchanging follows for the sake of getting another follow. And I think with a blog, a place where you showcase your work, your thoughts, opinions and feelings, that’s how it should be. I want my followers to follow me because they want to follow me and are interested in what I have to say.

I don’t want them to follow me because they feel obliged to.

More and more recently I’ve seen comments from people on my blog saying, “I’ve followed you, follow me back!” Even on Twitter I’ve had similar things said to me. And I’ve not once followed one of those people back because to me, that’s not how a following works. Nope. Nu-uh. I won’t follow someone’s blog just because they’ve followed mine and asked politely. And I’m aware that sounds a bit mean but it’s true and I’m nothing if not honest. I’ll follow a blog because I like it. Because I want to be updated on their posts. Because I’m interested in what they have to say.

Like, I feel that’s a really obvious thing to say but it’s true?

With blogging becoming more and more of a “thing” these days (and rightly so!) it’s easy to understand that a lot of new bloggers are coming into the blogging world reading already highly established blogs. But that will always be the case, there will always be someone who’s been blogging longer than you and someone with more followers than you. I get that some people might want that “quick leg up” and they think that doing these follow exchanges is the way to do that. Like I said at the beginning, it’s so easy to get caught up in the numbers game.

But at the end of the day, forced followers are going to be dead numbers. Just like when people buy followers and their followers to interaction ratio just doesn’t add up. Real, genuine and interested followers are the ones who will be commenting on your posts, tweeting you and interacting with you. They’re the ones who, over time, will make up your numbers if you continue to be totally and authentically you and grow organically and without an agenda. 

There’s nothing wrong with being motivated by numbers. There’s nothing wrong with feeling pride when you see those numbers rise, none at all. I’m totally motivated by numbers and seeing those increase gives me the biggest boost of motivation. But blogging is hard work, like really hard work sometimes and having followers which are anything by genuine just, doesn’t sit right with me. Someone who has never directly asked for a follower in their life. Let your hard work, your writing, your talents, your opinions and your uniqueness be what gets you the followers you want and deserve. 

What are your thoughts on this topic? Have you noticed a follow for follow mentality in blogging?

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Jenny in Neverland

Twenty-something lifestyle blogger from Essex. Book lover, Slytherin, organisational wizard and enjoys Motorsport, Disney and Yoga.

69 Comments

  1. Completely agree! My blog is relatively new in real terms, and I’m always offered 10k new followers for a price… I’ll never accept. I’d rather have a smaller group of engaged followers, so that if I ever do collabs, they will have actual interest 🙂 x

    1. Goodness me. I just don’t understand people who buy followers.

  2. Oh no! I was a MySpace but I’m worried I’m too old to remember PC4PC!! Damn it!

    I am a new blogger, I’m new to promoting my blog and it’s all a bit scary if I’m honest. I’d like people to follow me but more for the interaction than the actual followers. I have already lost a few on my Facebook page after they followed me a day earlier. And that’s fine if the person doesn’t find my stuff of any interest, but why hit the like/follow button before finding out.

    I want people to comment because they’ve enjoyed it, or to tell me they haven’t rather than just hit like so I’ll do the same.

    Maybe I’m getting it all wrong, time will tell, but I feel like a fish out of water at the moment!

    1. You’re not getting it all wrong, it takes time to build up a following and find out what works for you in terms of promoting your blog 😌 I’ve been blogging 6 years and still figuring it out!

      1. Thank you!

        I’m mainly just trying to read a whole host of blogs to learn from others, see what works and what doesn’t.

      2. I have an eBook which might be helpful 😌

  3. Instagram 101: Part 2 – L E L L O W B says:

    […] make networking on social media feel like less of a job, it’s a great way to stay inspired. The follow for follow blogger mindset by Jenny in Neverland is a great read to help you understand why you don’t need to follow every person that follows […]

  4. I think “get rich quick” schemes aren’t that valuable. Asking for follow backs is moreso a get rich quick scheme and if people are only out to blog to get famous and have tons of followers, Instagram is a way easier means for them to do that. Lol. I like watching people write and perhaps not grow at all. Or if their blog does grow it grows Organically.

    1. Yes! I frequently see follow trains on twitter and joined does get more followers but it doesn’t really make a difference to interaction on the blog. I get a few likes and few comments on my reviews. I would like to write more thought based posts but struggling to find the time. Also if you follow back it might not be a blog you will read so then feel rude about not following. I have more twitter followers than blog followers. I think likes and comments is more important than followers. Just need time to dedicate to the blog that I’m struggling with right now but I’m still doing it still enjoy it.

  5. I was right there with you doing PC4PC in the MySpace days & when I started my blog, I felt like I had to follow everyone back. However, it quickly became overwhelming & I realized I didn’t have to follow everyone back & I shouldn’t follow a blog that offers nothing I’m interested in reading. So I went through all the blogs I followed & unfollowed the ones I had no interest in. I felt a little bad, but now my Reader only has posts I actually want to read.
    So if someone comments on my post for me to follow their blog, I’ll check out their blog, but I won’t automatically follow them. The same goes if someone decides to follow me.

    1. I really need to do that with my WordPress reader. I followed a LOT of blogs when I first stared – mainly book blogs which I rarely read anymore. That’s going to be such a mammoth task!

      1. It did take a while but it’s worth it since you’ll only see blogs you want to read!

  6. Great post, I 100% agree that follow/unfollow can be really annoying. I can remember the days when people used to ask you to send “loves for love” on Bebo! I’ve never really been into the idea of following for a follow, I did a couple of “follow trains” at the very beginning of blogging but it was because I generally wanted to find more people to follow. I have noticed throughout the months that a few people would follow me on Twitter and Instagram and within a day they’d have unfollowed, this would happen whether or not I followed them back.

    Jess xxx || http://littlepinkduckblog.blogspot.co.uk

    1. Ah I never used Bebo but I know what you mean! Yeah follow trains can often be like that – I’ve never done one myself but I see SO many people complain about how people just unfollow them after, well what’s the point?

  7. Thank you so much for this post. I’m loving your content and honesty lately.

    I’ve only just been blogging for over a year but I want my followers and blog to be organic so, I only follow other bloggers who are either food or lifestyle related.

    I hate the idea that I might be considered rude or unfriendly because I don’t follow everyone back but my social media should be dominated by people who I can relate to and make me feel positively.

    My blog stats (particularly on Insta) might not be moving much lately but I can at least say that my blog is growing naturally and that’s something I’m proud of.

    Kate | cakeandcoast.com x

    1. Thank you so much! This post is actually from last March (?) I think but it still stands.

      You’ve totally got the right idea though – fake numbers are dead numbers. They don’t mean anything!

      1. It definitely still stands or at least I think so 🙂

        Kate x

  8. This is s great post! I hate that these tricks have become so big. When I first started blogging, I never got stuff like that. It’s crazy.

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