Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Give and Take?

I posted this on Twitter last week and had some interesting responses.

So I'd like to hear your thoughts as well.

Here's what I wrote on Twitter after a back and forth email with a bloggy friend.

"Interesting email convo b/w me and a frustrated blogger/twitterer who's considering throwing in the towel. "

"The question she asked, 'Who do people beg you to follow them or read their latest post but have no intention of returning the favor?' "

"Interesting perspective she has. I don't think she's referring to agents (or bloggers who made it to the big time) b/c it would impossible given the # 's."

"Just other bloggers/twitterers/writers. Thoughts?"

Fellow blogger Ally said,

"Who ISN'T like that? Need to write 1st for you, then for loyal followers, even if it's only 2 of them. Crowds will come. :) Blog readers are smart and know when a blog is just for SEO/$ and when it is written with passion. It just takes time. "

Writer friend Leah said,

"Because I follow for content, not favors. I don't read blogs much and rarely comment. And why are they begging? They should want readers who are genuinely interested. Comments/visitors are great but it's the interaction and friendships that rule.
Meaning she/he should be less concerned about numbers and more 'is this post interesting.' "


So there you have it.
I have been blogging for over two years. I began as a style blog (to coincide with my shopping column at the newspaper), but then made the switch to more general topics. Now I consider it a lifestyle blog. I like to talk about everything under the sun, including my writing. I think my followers consist of writers and moms and some fashionsitas, and I like that mix.

Two years ago, there wasn't a FOLLOWERS button. You just listed the blogs you liked on your sidebar and that was that. So things are definitely different, and I resisted putting my followers button up for a long time. Hey, change is hard ;--)

There IS unspoken blogging etiquette that if someone leaves a comment on your post, you should comment back.

Some people do it by email or in the comments section of their own blog. I visit the other person's blog and comment if they have a new post up that I haven't already commented on.

BUT, what if I had 50-100 comments everyday? THAT would be hard to pull off. I try to give my blog one hour of attention every day. If it goes above that it would be too hard to keep up with!

If you follow me, I more than likely follow back UNLESS Google limits the number of blogs I follow. When that happens, I re-evaluate who I'm following and sometimes unfollow others who I don't have a relationship with or I haven't visited in long while (because let's face it, interests change).

And I'm all right if someone does the same to me. No biggie. I don't want to be a numbers watcher. It becomes a drag!

WHAT SAY YOU? I want to know!



Adam Heine said...

Ha. I just wrote a post about this, though it won't be up until tomorrow. Short version: pimping for followers works, but only a little. (Hm, I guess it's like spamming in that way). And for those of us with nothing to sell, the time it takes to make it work is not worth it.

Jules - Big Girl Bombshell said...

Interesting question....But I think it all depends on why you write, as to how you feel about the comments..followers...etc. I love comments on my blog because it builds the relationships...I just get a little annoyed with those that say they write to build relationships but then don't take the time to find out who they are building the relationship with. and lastly...I think it should be give and ACCEPT there is a difference within taking and accepting...more food for thought

Unknown said...

Perfect post this week, it seems that this week has become all about blogging etiquette and how to get the most out of your blog.

I have several comments to reach each day and that does not always include my favorite bloggers (those awesome posts I can't live without). I started in January and have done my best searching around the blogging world for something new, fresh and inviting. Each time I come across one I comment, and those who comment on my blog I do my best to comment back. It may not be that day (after all sometimes it's overloaded) but I certainly do my best to reach everyone and let them know I appreciate and care.

As far as begging, it makes me less likely to visit. I don't like people who beg to have me follow, because chances are, they aren't going to come back, they're just looking to up their numbers and at the end of the day it should be about you and your writing. At least that's what it is for me.

Talei said...

Hi Christina,

Gosh, I usually follow blogs I find interesting, entertaining and I connect with them in way,shape or form. I've never actually had someone beg me to come follow them on blogger. ( Pfft, come to think of it, maybe its me?) If I follow and someone follows back, thats great. If someone follows purely with the expectation of a follow back, then they are setting themselves up for disappointment (sometimes).

I remember Jens post recently about how to have a successful blog - and she included returning comments. I try my best to do that - even if I can't get back that day, I try to follow up during the week when I can get to my blog. When someone posts on my blog, it usually gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, I'll admit it - I get excited at times and it does spur my quest for writing onwards. So I always try to return comments.

In terms of the follow me tweets, I'm a little tough on them as I think most are a variety of spam. o_O

okay - I think I've waffled too long now.

Have a lovely week!

I do get the 'Follow me' tweets from random folks, who I think are purely interested in numbers.

Christine Fonseca said...

Interesting convo - I trry to follow back, hit as many blogs as I can everyday. And yeah, I limit my time - cause I have very little of it! Wordpress has no followers button...probably a good thing, since I tend to obsess!

Lindsay said...

I always hope people come to my blog and like what they read, but I'd never beg them to follow me. If they like what they see, they will. If they just visit once in a while, that's fine too. Although I do love the friendships I've developed with my ellow bloggers, so I'm always happy to say hi to new people too. Todays newbies are tomorrows friends :)

I email reply to people who comment on my blog, and I try to read everyone's posts.

(Btw, when I email reply you, for some reason, it sends the email back with an error. But I always try to reply to you. Didn't want you to think I was radio fuzz. lol.)

Cheyanne said...

I've been blogging for less than a year, but it's always been my self-inflicted rule that when someone comments on my blog, I go comment on theirs. And if they make a good point, I'll reply back to them on my own blog too.

I think when you're just getting started in the blogging world, it's very exciting just to GET a comment! It means someone's reading your stuff and cares enough to comment. I ALWAYS return the favor.

The same thing goes for following.. I try to follow everyone who also follows me.

Of course, if I were getting 50-100 comments there's just no way to respond to all of them, and I doubt people expect it then anyway.

Summer Ross said...

I tend to comment if I like the post or have something to say...I read almost all my followers though every day. It takes my about two hours to get through one session of reading.

I don't beg for people to follow- I think if they enjoy my writing or post that day, hopefully they will again. I've honestly been most annoyed with the church bloggers. Don't get me wrong- I do follow one or two of them, but recently they have tried to pull me over to their blogs and Thats been a bit redundant.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. I comment on blogs when I can. Time is a big factor with me. I blog to blog not for followers.

Erica Mitchell said...

*taps chin*
Well I guess for me it's just been a test of the back and forth and the give and take. The longer I've been a follower of someones blog the more of a relationship I build with that person and I try to make sure those are the blogs I reply to first and then to my newer followers as they come I follow them back and see if the relationship works out.
I can't always comment on every post but I do the best I can because yes there is that unspoken rule of I follow you, you follow me and comment when we can.
Interesting post today and I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Pamela Gold said...

I have taken part in the "You follow me, I'll follow you" memes but it's become cumbersome. I will read the blog posts I visit via these memes and leave a genuine comment based on the post. If I feel the blog is something I could read everyday and enjoy it, I'll follow but it's been a while since I have found a blog worthy of this. I cannot stand the "Hey I'm here from xx and following you... Love for you to follow back!" This is annoying. Read my blog and comment on the content or don't take the time to comment at all. I'm giving up on these memes. Like your other commenters have said, follow me if you like me. I've stumbled upon some great blogs out there I visit daily, yours is one of them.

Kelly Polark said...

I like what Leah said about the subject. You want to have people visit your blog because they genuinely want to, not out of obligation. Also, I think it would be hard to comment on every post that every bloggy friend has, so I make sure I visit my blog friends at least twice a week. No one should feel overwhelmed by it. It's supposed to be fun!

Samantha VĂ©rant said...

It's a matter of both content and style for me. I follow people who "click" with my interests. Like you, it isn't a numbers game for me. Right now, I have a new blog, but I'm no stranger to blogging.

Just so you know, I might have to steal your Disney princesses image. You could say it resonates with me.

Lourie said...

Good question. I definitely will respond to a comment(provided the email is in the profile). I will visit any new guest who has happened by and return the favor. I will follow you if I like the content, or if you started to follow me first. But I don't do the "Friday Follow" thing. And if you are out there pandering for readers...well I think you are missing the point of the fun behind the blogging world. Of course that is just my HO. I started my blog officially in 2007 as a way to chronicle our move from VA-CA. I posted twice and let it collect dust for two years. Then in 2009 I cleaned up the cobwebs and entered into the blogging world. I never dreamed people would actually come and read my posts. I did, however, wish they would! hahaha.

K. M. Walton said...

I just blog because I love to write and share my thoughts and bits about my writing journey. My followers came hard earned and mostly through relationship building. The number of followers means nothing to me. I'd rather have a small band of really great readers than a huge number of "fake-followers" that never participate or comment.

I like the human interaction of it all...even if it is virtual.

Amparo Ortiz said...

*gives standing ovation* Couldn't have said any of that better myself. Begging for followers reminds me of high school. Not a good look for an aspiring author.

I totally stand by the whole do-what-you-can approach to commenting and following. I'm definitely trying to find balance between my real life and blogging, and I love switching it up.

Great post!

heather@actingbalanced.com said...

I blogged about that this week too... I think it has to do with the explosion of new blog hops and the expectations around them... I have to say that I don't tend to follow people who have no content and therefore just post blog hop after blog hop... but I will usually at least go and check out 4-5 posts of anyone who visits or follows me... and I guess I am watching numbers a little bit because they help attract better reviews and giveaways and I know that some of my followers are only in it for the swag I can send them... otherwise, I write for me, my regular 'gang' and my family, who I know are my biggest lurkers out there...

Anonymous said...

i love getting comments and i always respond back. but then i dont get any more than 20 comments or more. but i think even if i got 50 or more i would still respond back. plus is quality not quantity...

the only time i ask someone to stop by is when i have a giveaway since i want everyone to have a chance to win something fabulous :D

great post.

Anita said...

I don't beg anyone. And I post comments on other blogs whenever I've got time. I think there's too much thinking going on here...just roll with it.

Have a great day!

Unknown said...

I follow a lot of blogs and the list keeps getting longer but I don't get upset if people don't follow back especially if I see they have a lot of followers. I'm not the greatest at leaving comments because I've been reading the blogs in google reader. I blog for myself and for fun so if my mom was the only person who read my blog I'd be happy with that.

Stina said...

Oh, that's why I didn't have a follower's widget to begin with. I added one and suddenly the followers and comments came visiting. Okay, there was a lot of work on my part to begin with.

I follow blogs that entertain me *waves at Christina* or educate/inspire me. If the blog looks like everyone else's, with nothing new to share, then I don't follow it. I can't. There's not enough time to read everyone's posts and comment on my favs and still have time for my wip.

Christina Lee said...

WOW-- such great stuff being said here! THX!!

Lillie (AliseOnLife) said...

I do follow for content. I keep up with the blogs that I follow through a reader, so I don't always comment. I've actually had Twitter conversations instead of commenting, and I will RT tweets about posts, when I find them interesting, as opposed to commenting.

The one time I might feel that reciprocity is appreciated is for the two memes that I participate in, and only if I'm one of the first few commenters. And, that's really not a question of followers. I don't expect every meme participant to follow me; I don't follow every one either. But, I do feel that a blogger should make an effort to visit their own comments, if a conversation/topic starter is initiated on their own blog.

I personally have stopped commenting on several blogs because I have never once gotten a response or acknowledgment after leaving a comment on more than one post.

This is really my opinion more on commenting and interaction than followers, now that I look back over it.

Melissa said...

Interesting post Christina. I love the goofing off princess picture - totally have it on my computer because I think it's hilarious!

I really think blogging is about give an take. I had a blog for a while and only did it because my friends made me. I wasn't overtly interested but I had about 13 followers. Then one day, after almost half a year with a blog, I was super bored and started surfing around. I found a lot of interesting blogs and realized that hey, this can actually be really cool. I started participating in the blogosphere and trying to be more consistent with my posts. I began to enjoy what I was doing and the more I enjoyed and the more I reached out to others, the more interest I seemed to get in return.

Like pretty much everything else, blogging is a give and take. If you never give anything, you can't expect to receive. And if you beg for it, you just come off as desperate.

People following you is just a number. I'm more interested in meeting other writers and interesting people I can learn from and who can, maybe even, learn something from me. The friendships I've made online are worth more than any number in my follow bar.

Roni Loren said...

In the beginning I always reciprocated comments on others blogs and answered every comment on mine. But when you hit a certain number of followers, it starts to get impossible unless you want to sacrifice time from other things--like your family, writing, etc.--which most of us don't want to do.

So now I just do what I can on other's blogs and try to make sure my content is strong enough that people come because they want to, not because it's part of some reciprocation obligation.

But for the record, I do get annoyed when people ask in the comments for you to come and comment back.

Great things to think about.

Matthew MacNish said...

I find that if you just do the right thing, meaning blog about what you want, read other blogs that interest you, and leave genuine, on topic comments, readers will come. Just be yourself, and don't expect people to do for you what you haven't done for them.

In other words you get out of it what you put into it. Great post Christina.

Stephanie said...

Great Question!
I have gotten to the point where I dedicate a certain amount of time per day to r4esponding to comments. I truly adore every follower and comment and try to follow and comm met back, it just may take me a while to get there! Sometimes real life gets in the way.
Oh and I agree with your friend. The blog has to be about the writing...not the acquisition of new numbers!

Angie said...

I love that princess picture! So funny. I try to respond to all my comments by email or on the blog if they don't have their email available. I love to find new blogs to follow, and I try to read as many as I can, but sometimes I find a blog just doesn't interest me as much as I thought it would. I also try to read the blogs of those who comment on mine, but I have to keep it laid back. If I don't have time, I don't have time. :( Blogging is fun, though, and I sure enjoy connecting with people. I don't really notice if I have commented on someone's blog, but they don't return the favor. It's no big deal to me.

Stephanie Faris said...

It's been a long time since I've had the luxury to read blogs when my reading isn't reciprocated. I figure I have a limited amount of time online, so I spend it reading the blogs of those who read and comment mine.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

First, I LOVE that picture of the Princesses making faces!

Blog etiquette is hard! Yes, you want to follow everybody who follows you -- but how many blogs do you actually read regularly? And comment on? And how do you keep up with responding to comments on your own blog? It's tough, especially when most of us are not career writers -- we have day jobs!

When I don't have time to read everybody's blog, I'm attracted by headlines. I look on the blog roll on my sidebar, skim the titles, and go for the most intriguing.

That's what got me over here tonight. :D

Pam said...

Hmmm.....I love to read posted comments on my blog but I am not up out one bit if I leave a comment and never here back from that person with a comment on mine. I love reading what others right, I have learned a lot about crafts and redoing things since being a blogger. I for one don't have the time to put into repling to a lot of comments or to even surf the blog world trying to follow a lot of bloggers. So....I guess to each their own. Do what you do, follow who you want and who you have the time to follow and don't worry about what others will think. Do it for you!

Laura Pauling said...

Thought provoking for sure. I'd rather have followers that actually read my blog rather than just follow to enter a contest. That's why I've hesitated with holding contests. Because, I'd think we'd all want followers because of our content, not b/c we're bribing them with a free book. I'd much rather go back to when there was no status widget.

NGS said...

I guess I don't blog for comments. I love to know people are reading and have thoughts on what I'm writing, but I write for me. It's my outlet. I guess I'm lucky that I'm not trying to make a living (or really any money) from it or I might have a different outlook. But the begging for followers and comments has actually turned me off from reading blogs before!!

Laura Lofgreen said...

Blogs are funny that way. For me, writing is therapy.

Sharlene T. said...

If someone is begging me to follow, I'll check out their blog... but, if it's not something I care about, I'm not going to follow... there's not enough time... as my followers grow, it's harder and harder to comment at each site and I rotate or peruse through the blogs to see what catches my eye... I simply do not go to sites with coupons, or product reviews unless the info is important to my needs... some blogs I'm going to, even if it's three o'clock in the morning... that said, I blog to get out information and love all followers but do not want people who don't really enjoy my blog...

LisaDay said...

Isn't that funny that you wrote about this and I did, too. I agree with your friend Leah, obviously. And I enjoy your blog because you talk about everything.


Gabriela Pereira said...

Great post and so true. Sometimes it's easy to get hung up on the numbers but really, it's all about blogging for yourself and being passionate about it.

I just started a new blogging project and I'm so excited about it. I can't wait to get up in the mornings so I can do my next post! I wish I had discovered this feeling sooner.

Unknown said...

Great post! Very thoughtful.

I think some people get caught up in the popularity aspect of blogging. You have to blog first for you. If you have interesting content, people will follow. If not - well - you need to revaluate.

I don't like to follow just because someone followed me, but I do like to give their blog a chance. I go and read a few posts and if I like it, I follow back. If not, I don't.