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.