Is bloggy love conditional?

Do you love me?

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?


I’m joining with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT (I Blog on Tuesdays) and linking with Glowless of Where’s My Glow’s for FlogYoBlog Friday (FYBF).

I Blog on Tuesdays    FYBF


34 thoughts on “Is bloggy love conditional?

  1. Excellent points you make. I’ve often thought about “to follow back or not to follow back?”… The decision to follow comes down to that organic thing, but usually it’s the following questions I ask myself: Will I really have time to read this blog regularly? Do we have anything in common? And I’m with you about not wanting numbers for the sake of numbers. I want depth and interest in my readers, not just pseudo likers. It’s hard not to take things personally sometimes – like if someone doesn’t follow back or if they unlike you.. then I realise that sometimes I’ve done the same thing. It’s a matter of accepting (like in real life) that some friendships don’t work out, and that’s okay.

    • Hi Deb. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I know I follow way more people than follow me. I don’t show it via Google Connect usually but I do via other means like FB, Twitter or RSS. Even though I wrote what I did, I do find myself taking it a tad personally sometimes, but then I try to shrug it off and get on with things. I go back to my two main reasons for starting – a creative outlet and community. And I can have community whether I have 5 who regularly engage or 500. Thank you for coming back and engaging with me. I don’t think it’s the first time and doubt it will be the last!

  2. Glad you called your post bloggy love. A negative take could be bloggy politics!

    All this stuff is quite fascinating as a fellow new blogger. I try to comment on link-ups because that is the etiquette, I am starting to get more picky with blogs I follow as I just don’t have time. I would rather follow a few that really speak to me.

    I am really enjoying your blog!

    • Hi Lee. I didn’t even think about calling it “bloggy politics” but I suppose you are right! I wouldn’t have hesitated if I was writing about work but maybe it didn’t cross my mind because I’ve generally had more positive experiences in the blogosphere (so far – touch wood!). Yes, I’ve found new blogger stuff fascinating too. It’s relatively easy to sign up for a blog but to then navigate getting it out there is tougher. I wrote an earlier post on these thoughts called The Boggling World of Boggling. I think at the end of the day, it is finding who speaks to you and honing that. I know there are some really great and well-established bloggers that I don’t follow regularly or at all because they don’t write posts about things I click with. I’m sure the same happens in return with me. Glad to hear you like my blog! Yay! At least one follower!!! 😀

  3. I don`t always feel that it is conditional….I try to read back to those that comment on my blog. I will sometimes add blogs into my reader {which lately I am lucky if I log into once a week}- I go through stages too. I keep up with a lot of the Japan based and try to keep up with my fav Aussie ones too but sometimes it is hard. In the same way I comment on other blogs but don`t think they really read me back- but I guess it is understandable as everyones time is precious!

    Doesn`t mean I love them any less. Also doesn`t mean I don`t read when I can- just means I might be reading their posts 5 days later than everyone else so don`t always comment because feel it is too late sometimes.

    I think comments make the blog world go around though!

    • Hi Lulu. Thanks for your thoughts. My reader is also VERY full of unread posts. I just haven’t honed it down properly and even when I do, I can’t always keep up. So we just do what we can when we get the chance. You also made me think further about what I mean in relation to “conditional”. I suppose “situational” could also apply where sometimes our situations do or don’t make it easy to follow someone – cue my comment about lack of time and priorities.

      I too, try not to take anyone for granted, especially bloggers I already have some engagement with. I’m not perfect and cannot promise to read every post and comment on all of them, but I keep as engaged as I can. Sometimes it’s as simple as checking back sporadically or keeping an eye via Twitter on what’s up. Whether I get that back in return with the same bloggers, I wouldn’t know. So in that sense it’s not conditional for me. But we can’t like everyone nor can we be everyone’s favourite. That’s just life. I’m okay with that sense of it being “conditional”.

  4. It is hard. I’ve been a little frustrated lately over followers and falling stats, but I do get a few comments on every post, so I’m choosing to be happy with that.

    I don’t follow everyone, because of the time factor. I try to comment as much as possible with a meme, but even then sometimes they are too big too. I’m like you with comments though. I’ll only leave one if I actually have something to say, and I usually reply, but sometimes I run out of time. Or other times there is not a lot say either!

    Having said that, I do keep an eye out on twitter and FB for bloggers I know/like, and will usually try and read theirs.

    Thanks for linking up every week. I do try and read your posts. Do you have a GFC button? I can’t see one, but I’m on the iPad so maybe it’s not visible

    • Hi Jess. I can see you’re working hard at it and engaging well. Heck, you set the IBOT linking up on your own initiative. That counts for something. I’m not sure why you started your blog, but for me, if I do get a little disheartened about stats, I just go back to why I started this in the first place – a creative outlet and to engage with this community. I believe I’m achieving those goals so I let the stats issue go.

      I know what you mean about the memes though. FYBF is almost at 100, Wordless Wednesdays, Things I know and I’m Grateful for, etc give you hundreds of blogs to peruse all within a 4 day period. It’s just not humanly possible. But I try to pick one or two memes to skim through each week and “give a blogger a chance” because I’ve joined those as a new blogger in the hopes someone will give *me* a chance.

      I do the same with Twitter and keep an eye on what’s up with specific people more than others. I think we should do the best we can and accept that. After all, we do have a family to look after too! 🙂

      I don’t have a GFC button because I use WordPress though I have to comment on Blogger sites with a Google login (due to annoying technical issues I cannot resolve with comments via mobile devices like my iPhone and iPad). So you not seeing it on the iPad is because it’s not there! 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by for the chance to be part of your meme.

  5. Commenting via my iPad because the batteries in my mouse died (you know, for the desk top), so please excuse typos because I can’t edit!

    Anyway, it’s a complex issue, isn’t it. I’ve been blogging publicly for 5.5 years and for the first 5.25 years I would have been lucky to average about .10 of a comment per post. I knew I had readers only because people would tell me, in real life, that they read my post about X and liked it…

    I write for writing sake, but i also have my eye on having one of my novels published and one way to make that happen – assuming you can write in the first place – is to be able to show some kind of existing following…

    Sadly, and I say sadly because it’s hard for me – this does mean pimping yourself… It’s just a numbers game, if you can get 1000 people to check out you blog, and your content is engaging, then some of those people might come back. Many probably won’t but the more people who stop by, the more chances you have of having repeat visits…

    I always check out my commenters – mostly because I’m nosey :).

    I never comment or follow with an expectation of others doing the same. Sometimes I feel disappointment – like today when there are no comments on my post t all – but i try to remind myself to have a giving heart because then my joy comes from giving and I won’t be too disappointed if I don’t recive in turn. It’s just an attitude I’m trying to develop – it probably sounds daft :P…

    • Hi Sif. Thanks for commenting. I only came by your blog recently myself. It’s interesting which blogger profiles we come by when we start blogging. I remember the first two bloggers who hooked me into this gig. I just don’t remember how I came by them. It’d be interesting to see how others got hooked and who baited them (knowingly or otherwise), but I digress!

      I can totally see why, as a writer, you would want to know that your blog and your writing was able to engage readers. Otherwise, who would buy your books?! Given that goal, I wouldn’t feel too sad about pimping yourself. If you do get your book printed, that’s exactly what you are going to have to do with a publishing house, I presume, anyway. Look at J.K. Rowling. From a quiet noone to a huge, famous *and* rich author!

      I do get a little flutter when I see comments on my posts. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t matter at all. But I am sure not all I write about or the photos I share will appeal to everyone so I try to remind myself I can’t please them all. It’s my nature to try but that’s an attitude *I’m* learning to embrace. So no, you developing an attitude of giving doesn’t sound daft, if my not being a people pleaser doesn’t! 🙂

      Gonna pop over and check out your “comment-less” post now!

  6. Ah yes, the blogging politics. I don’t know. I have always been very weary of it all. I like to chat, basically. So there is a good chance that if I read your post I will leave a comment if I think there is something meaningful to say! I’m not a ‘great post’ comment leaver… I would just read and enjoy and be on my way.

    I’m very lucky to have a very engaged community over on my blog. They are amazing women (and a couple of men!) and I just love to spend time with them. I don’t follow everyone who follows me – I actually don’t ‘follow’ that many blogs at all. But I do try to visit those that comment one mine when I can, which admittedly isn’t very regularly… There are a lot of comments, so I don’t get to everyone and not as often as I’d like. Plus, I don’t ever want to feel obliged to frequent a blog that I’m not that into just ‘cos they hang out over at mine.

    I’ve never responded via email to comments so I definitely don’t expect it myself. If someone asks a direct question that I feel needs an answer, I comment back on the post with my response. I don’t do that very often either.

    It’s a bit of a mystery why everyone engages over at mine, clearly!!! I definitely try to visit all the posts on my Grateful linky over the course of the week – because I want to, not because I feel obligated to. They are 99 times out of 100 fantastic posts, they really are. It’s my favourite time of the week.

    Good luck infiltrating the masses. The only advice I have is to find the blogs you enjoy and have fun engaging on them. The rest sort of just happens. x

    • Hi Bron. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I do hate politics – all forms of it. I just like to get on with the “business”, so to speak, but it’s hard to avoid them sometimes.

      You obviously have some magic on your side since your blog attracts so many readers. I could see from your recent posts that it would be impossible to reply to everyone. I surely wouldn’t expect it. I believe it’s ok to be true to who you are and if you can’t comment on all or don’t want to, then don’t. It’s your blog, and you have a real life outside the virtual world. IMO, that real life is what gives us fodder to keep blogging.

      Thanks for your wishes. Not sure I’m ready to, or want to, infiltrate the masses but I’ll take your advice on board. 🙂

  7. I used to follow back as a courtesy, and would often find something I liked on their blogs. If someone leaves a comment on my blog I make a concerted effort to check out their blog – that’s why I love the commentluv feature. But lately I don’t “follow” the blog unless I see something I really like, or something the blogger has written that gels with me. I have a lot of trouble finding the time to read a lot of blogs in my day, and often have to find ten minutes here or there to have a look at my favourites, or something that has been recommended. I have Google Reader set up, but rarely use it. Mostly I just check my Blogger feed, my Facebook feed and my twitter feed and if something jumps out at me then I read it.
    With linkies, I do my best to comment on as many as possible. Especially the ones I really love – Maxabella’s Grateful and Wordless Wednesday are my faves, and now IBOT with DOASAHM. But sometimes they are huge and so intimidating so I just browse the titles for something I might like! And I don’t link up every week – just when I feel I have something to contribute.
    Very interesting topic, definitely!

    • Hi Daisy. Thanks for weighing in on this. You raise interesting thoughts on the whole technique of managing blog reading; and there’s no bloggy love if we don’t read them in the first place! I know it has to differ for everyone as our lives and priorities differ. With me, I used to just go straight to favourite blog pages to read. Then I joined Twitter and found updated posts that way. Then, I used Facebook until that got overwhelming. So, I decided to use my RSS reader but now I’ve added too many bloggers and can’t keep up. Using Twitter is more random because I read some bloggers I might seldom otherwise visit. Using the RSS reader is more deliberate, but unless I cull considerably, that’s not going to work for long either. Right now, I’m randomly jumping between Twitter, RSS reader, FB and linkers on memes that I know or titles that catch my fancy. Random can reveal some fascinating bloggers who are just not high profile yet and I do like that (memes can do this too). But being time poor, a dedicated list is probably wiser. Oh well, I may not yet be the best strategy, but it’s a start!

  8. I feel really bad at the moment, I feel like all I’ve had time for is writing my own post and that’s it. I haven’t even had a chance to reply to all the comments I got from my post you mention here. I began by following lots of blogs but now I find I just bookmark them and if I want to have a look I can. If something catches my eye on Twitter or Facebook I will have a look, especially if someone else had shared it, it must be a good read. I have subscribed by email to a few blogs and I find that is pretty good because I am always checking my emails. Anyway it is really late now & i’ve been writing this comment for the last 15 minutes – got distracted. Wont get to answer my own blog comments tonight. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day. x

    • It’s so hard to keep up but try no to feel bad. We’re only imperfect human beings and busy mums and can only do so much. I don’t keep up with blogs enough either so I feel I don’t do justice to a lot of bloggers who read my stuff but all I can do, all any of us can do, is try. Maybe a we become more established over time it will get easier. Longer term bloggers maybe have has the time to work out a system for themselves? Maybe I should get NicoleAvery’s book about planning. Might help; couldn’t hurt!

  9. Hi Veronica

    I really liked your post and the discussion here. I’m a new blogger too, and I’m in that stage of being in awe of all the amazing blogs I’m discovering. Obviously, I’ll get to a point where I’ll have to manage by time properly and start really selecting what I read. In the mean time, I’m having a lot of fun.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


    • Hi Lina. I didn’t realise you were so new. You seem so seasoned! Navigating it all is quite an experience but so interesting. I’m still fine-tuning how to manage it all. There are some amazing stories out there and it’s a great community to be a part of. I look forward to a chance to meet some of you one day! Thanks for dropping by.

  10. If someone comments on my blog, I check out their blog too and leave a comment because I really appreciate the support. Sometimes I come across a blog that has me lost for words. Like for example they are sharing something that makes me feel like I’m intruding. If I don’t feel comfortable reading then I won’t finish reading or comment. If I can’t relate, then I can’t comment. I just don’t know what to say, so I’d rather say nothing at all rather than, “Um, er, great post”. I love to get comments as it is great motivation, so it can be disappointing when you “comment til your fingers bleed” and you don’t get any love in return. I don’t expect commenting back on every comment I make because I’m teeny weeny and some of the blogs I comment on are rock stars!

    Visiting from FYBF today 🙂

    • Hi Laney. I know what you mean. Sometimes a post doesn’t relate and at other times you can be on the edge of your seat or in tears or laughing hard because it does. I think many of us are in this for the sense of community so having comments means a lot because it means engagement in this community. I was trolling through domain names for a new blog today when I found tons that were either deleted or reserved by people who wrote one post. I wonder if many of these people who started their public blog didn’t continue; because they didn’t find a sense of community. It can be lonely out there, I guess. Thanks for dropping by.

  11. This is really thought provoking post and the conversation happening here in the comments is even more interesting. I’ve read a lot of posts lately discussing these sort of topics so I think this on a lot of people’s minds at the moment. There are too many good blogs out there that it would be impossible to keep up with even a percentage of them. I’m only a small new blogger too but already I’m finding it hard to keep up with the comments I get. I always try and go and comment back on a blog if they’ve commented on mine. I’m very random with my blog reading and commenting. I try and comment as much as I can in a meme. There are a few blogs I always read and comment on and then I follow heaps through twitter and Facebook. If their title appeals and if after I’ve read it and have something to say then I comment. It basically boils down to the time I have spare too. I started a blog because I have always wanted to write and a blog seemed less daunting for me right now than a novel. Plus I was enjoying reading certain blogs and I wanted to share my own ideas on things. I’m on my phone and it’s difficult to write so I’m going to stop here otherwise I could go on about this topic. Oh just wanted to add you can add a GFC thingy on WordPress if you want

    • Thanks, Kate. Managing the bloggy and related stuff isn’t something I contemplated when I decided to dive into the blogosphere. But now I’m in the deepish-end, there’s no looking back. Not that it’s a bad thing. It’s just the reality. I’m a bit anal-retentive and try to keep up with everything and in it’s chronological order but I realise I can’t with my Google Reader so I just skim titles, like you, or rely on FB or Twitter to highlight some juicy stuff. Hopefully across the blog and comments, FB and Twitter, I get a good range of possible reads and then take it from there spreading some bloggy love around and, hopefully, getting some back. I’m still honing my must-read list but hope to get to something more manageable soon. Fingers crossed! Oh, and thanks for the info about GFC. I’ll look into it.

  12. Sometimes I feel that people only ever read my blog because I read theirs. But then I remember posts when I had comments from non-bloggers and they really made my day. It just shows that on most of my posts I either miss the mark or don’t spread the word where it needs to go to affect the right people. And if you ask me if there are blogs that I would read even if the person writing them never responded to my comments and never visited me back, the answer is ‘yes’. Not many, about 5 blogs or so, but they exist. Most of the time bloggy love is conditional. Not always.

    • Hi Tat. Sometimes I think that’s how it happens. A blogger you don’t know comments and you may just find a new blog to follow. Before I started my own blog, I noticed the same sort of bloggers mentioned a lot, most of whom are the higher profile bloggers. Lots of mentions = higher profile. It was only after I started my blog that I started to notice other lower profile or new bloggers. I do feel there’s a lot more work we have to do to be noticed but I suppose the higher profile bloggers did all that sort of work earlier to raise their profile to what it is now. There are a few blogs I keep reading too but seldom, if ever get a return comment. That’s just the way it is. I guess it’s about writing content that appeals on some level but we can’t touch everyone with everything. I’m okay with that because I’m meeting my current blogging goals but if I ever change and what to raise my profile and influence significantly, I’ll probably have to do a lot more work!

  13. sometimes it all feels like a bit of a minefield doesn’t it? I feel that if someone follows me i should follow back because in that way we are all supporting each other but i really don’t have time to go back and read every blog i ‘follow’! I love that we can take part in memes such as flog ya blog cause then i have a one stop place to go and reach out to as many blogs as possible. it’s my friday arvo thing!
    when i started my blog it was because i wanted to be able to write and share ideas. it quickly turned into more than that! there is so much more to blogging than just pressing ‘publish’ and sometimes all the extras are overwhelming. i love twitter but find i use it more and more just for a social outlet. i’m not that good at promoting my blog but can really see the benefits when i do.
    great post – thanks for opening this up to further discussion!

    • Hi Rachel. I know what you mean about feeling obligated. I do feel it too but it’s just not realistically possible to follow all blogs but I will take a look as at many as I can through commenters on my blog or memes. However, FYBF is getting so huge; it’s hard to find the time to read all those too. It is more than just hitting “publish”. I wrote about my learning experience a little while back in a post titled “The Boggling World of Blogging.” I find being involved via FB and Twitter as well does give a broader array of potential blogs to review as well as the social aspect – can’t go wrong with that if you want to engage in the community of bloggers. Hopefully it raises your profile enough to get a look in at a future time. Thanks for dropping by and being part of the discussion.

  14. I used to comment and follow every one who commented or followed me, and on every post who joined in whatever linky I was joining in too. But it became too time consuming and I’m sure DOCS were about to come knocking on my door wondering why I hadn’t fed my child.

    But I do watch how many followers I have in the widget because I monetize my blog. I have to be able to give those statistics to a company and show them at which rate they grow. But I (and they) realize that a count of followers isn’t everything. Even unique page views, which will be higher than followers generally, are not the be all and end all.

    • Hi Glow. Thanks for weighing in on this. And yes, we’d be pretty poor mummy bloggers if we neglected our kids! You’re the first blogger to talk about the monetising aspect and I can only imagine it has played into how and what you blog about. Maybe that actually brings more pressure to keep up comments and networking than if you did it purely as a hobby? If followers aren’t the be-all-end-all, then engagement with your readers still plays a part in order for you to be a useful “sales person” or “marketer” for companies? That side of blogging is all new to me. Not sure when/if I’ll venture into it. Congrats, by the way, on your new gigs!

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