There was a huge explosion of support for a post from Maxabella Loves the other day about “follows back”. As I read the comments, I started to ponder the “art of bloggy love”, especially as a fairly new blogger trying to establish where I’m exactly going.
I decided early on that I didn’t want to blog and gather “followers-for-the-sake-of-numbers”. I don’t really know what “following” I have (other than those on Facebook, because the widget tells me!). But I know I that I have engagement via my blog, via Twitter, and that’s what I joined for; to be part of and contribute to the community out there. If I had no comments or followers (of the engaged variety), then I couldn’t and wouldn’t consider myself part of the community.
Having said that. It is almost impossible to get off the ground and make inroads into this community without some efforts of the “I-follow-you-You-follow-me” variety. In real life, to make a friend, you need someone to reciprocate, otherwise you are a lonely stalker (or lurker, I think the term is in bloggy land – and I was one for about a year!).
I choose to reciprocate primarily via comments. I respond to as many comments as possible. If you comment on my blog, I will look you up. It’s partly common courtesy, partly loose “strategy”. The rest is organic. I may come back. I may actively follow you. I may not. I can’t say why or when or how. That’s as far as I go with a “strategy”. A lot depends on time, or lack of it. I’d like to be doing more but I do what I can. If I can’t find enough time to blog-hop, I’ll try to engage via Twitter, though sometimes I only have time to “tweevesdrop”.
On the flip-side of commenting, I usually don’t write them unless I feel I have a “Wow!” moment or something specific or engaging to say. I do look forward to replies to my comments, if I’ve said something other than a simple, “Wow! Nice post, nice photo, I agree” comment. However, I understand that the bigger a following, and the more comments a high profile blogger gets, it’s not realistically possible to personally reply to all of them. If the comment warrants a personal reply, so be it. If the topic and feedback raised warrants a reply, maybe a follow-up post might do, or even a group email (though I’m not sure this is technically possible or maybe it’d be considered spammy?).
As new bloggers try to get off the ground, we have to promote our existence in some way or other. It could be via active engagement, telling colleagues, family and friends (or not – read about this in a great post by Nobashake entitled Every Blogger’s Biggest Question), joining a linky or five, etc. Basically, being my own pimp!
Whilst I’ve a long way to go to get “reach” or “influence” (though Klout says I’m pretty influential over 120 people!), I can imagine, it’s only as a blogger gets established with a bigger following that there is some “luxury” in being more picky about the “follows back” issue. I don’t feel offended by that; that’s just how the game goes. Maybe with more established, higher-profile bloggers, who they do or do not follow back is also influenced by time-management or what suits personal or business priorities. Those influence me and I’m still fairly new.
At the end of the day, I believe it’s the depth and intimacy of engagement (bloggy love), not the number of followers, that counts. When life gets too busy and we either have little time to blog (ie: invite comments ie: engage) OR little time to read blogs (ie: leave comments ie: engage), most of us feel the loss of bloggy love. If it didn’t matter either way, a private blog would have sufficed for our writing.
So does bloggy love exist in this community of bloggers? Yes! Is bloggy love conditional? Yes, I think so, but it doesn’t always mean it’s about you. It could be about me too.
In bloggy love….
What are your thoughts about “bloggy love”? Has this changed as you’ve become more established?
Why did you choose to make your blog public in the first place?
If you choose to follow someone, do you expect, at the least, a look in? Is that even possible with hundreds or thousands of followers?