One of the secrets to being a successful blogger – which every new and budding blogger is taught repeatedly by the WordPress guys and all the blogging gurus out there – is that success comes through constantly writing posts.
It’s true. The blogging crowd – both those who blog and those who enjoy reading them but don’t write any themselves – are a fickle lot. I guarantee that if I posted every day with a load of tosh and drivel I’d end up with a dozen to two dozen new followers by the end anyway. Whether or not I’d ever see any sign of those followers again is a different matter, but they would come. I have no idea why.
I also notice that when I get the chance to catch up on the backlog of blog posts for the nearly 100 blogs I follow and go through reading and, where appropriate, commenting that some of these bloggers make appearances on my blog, liking a post or two before fading back into the ether. It’s as if my liking a post suddenly reminds them I exist. Hmph – I’d rather they remember me because they like what I write!
Some blogs I follow list how many thousands of followers they have and how many hundreds of countries they’re read in. Nothing wrong with this at all – and yes, sometimes I see these phenomenal numbers and feeling a pang of jealousy for just a couple of seconds despite having a follower list which is pretty darned good and much better than I ever expected. But I’m also glad I don’t list mine and there are good reasons I don’t which I shall try to explain.
I’m often amused to see a blog which boasts something like 3,000 followers but when you look at the number of likes and comments there’s only two or three of each or even less. Every blogger gets a dud post from time to time but these blogs I’m talking about are consistently like this. I wonder what made so many follow them in the first place and why they don’t engage now. I do notice a rather sad correlation between the attractiveness of the (female) blogger and the number of followers with the inverse relationship with the number of those liking and commenting. Of course, sometimes, they can be pretty and followed brilliantly but then I think that’s more to do with the quality of what they write, rather than the ability to attract a lot of sad and lonely men.
Sometimes I look at such blogs and decide not to follow them because of the high numbers. I think: I’m not going to get to know this person. Not really. There’ll be no bond.
For me, quality is always much more important than quantity. I deliberately don’t make public how many follow my blog because I don’t want that to matter to anyone – I want those bonds. Everyone who comes gets my personal attention because that’s the way I do things in life too. When you’re with me you are the most important person in the world to me. The rest of the world has gone away. It doesn’t matter how many thousands of friends and followers I have because only you matter.
The result is that I see a core number of bloggers regularly liking and commenting on my blog. These are people I consider genuinely as friends and these are the people I write for. In fact, a good number of my blogging friends have gone on to be real friends either through other platforms or in real life. I’m a true believer that you can find real and genuine friendship with someone you’ve never met. Not advocating the internet as the best way to find a lover mind you! But for friendships, I don’t think you can beat it.
People do come to my posts for a variety of reasons and from a variety of places so the stats look very different to the likes and comments but I write for those of you who engage with me. I appreciate your support and kindness. I hope, in a sense, that the regular comments and small numbers of likes encourages people similar to me to stay – the ones who like a cosy place to hang out rather than follow the latest guru who has thousands of people clamouring for their attention.
For that reason, I rarely comment on the blogs of those who follow me unless they comment on mine. If you’re a blogger who gets regular comments from me but doesn’t follow me or comment on mine consider yourself special! It means what you write is especially useful or important to me and probably means I admire your writing skills. Otherwise, I reserve my time and effort for those who show that they appreciate having me around as much as I enjoy their company.
I’m like that in life too. I make friends very easily and I’m loyal and caring; but I don’t suffer fools gladly. As soon as you start being shirty with me, irritated or abusive then I just back away and, where necessary, cut you out. I’ll put up with a lot but I ain’t no doormat. I invest my time with those who make it clear they want me to do just that. Those who couldn’t care less can go take a running jump. I have no issue with unfriending someone on Facebook or unfollowing their blog. Life is too short for wasters.
The quantity of followers doesn’t matter to me then but the quality does. I know, as a professional writer that quantity should matter and that I should make myself constantly write for my two blogs in order to drive new traffic and prove to publishers that I have an audience – but I really couldn’t care less (and besides I’m too busy actually writing for clients for real to do so).
Instead, when you engage with me here (by liking and commenting) then I will always return the favour. Liking a post alone isn’t enough because sometimes people do that to show they’ve been around but not that they’ve read the post. I never like a post I haven’t read completely but that’s also why I get behind and some of you find one night that I’ve liked and commented on about a dozen posts of yours in one go! I could just fly through them all and press like without reading a word but that, in my mind, would be dishonest. I read them all.
So you won’t ever know how many follow me (other than vague numbers from time to time). For that matter, I don’t really know! On top of the all the bloggers who follow there’s a vast army of non-blogging people who subscribe and some who don’t subscribe, don’t like, don’t comment and yet I know (because I know these people in real life) that they’ve read every word and kept up with every post! It’s very odd to think this happens but I find out so often that I feel like I have my own band of silent stalkers watching my every move – thank heavens they’re all friends!
Instead, you’re assured of a warm and genuine welcome here. You’re welcome to come and go, pass by without any evidence you were ever around. You’re welcome to press the like button and go again because that’s all you have time for or wish to do – your presence and support is appreciated. But if you come here to chat, to discuss, to argue, to engage then you’re doubly appreciated and welcome. Because, for me, blogging isn’t about garnering an audience, about shouting off my thoughts in some vain attempt to make someone hear me (though I do enjoy sharing them), but about engaging with others from all walks of life, from all faiths, from all cultures and viewpoints and giving a safe place where friends feel able to come, be surprised, challenged, moved or even angered – and be able to talk about it openly.
To paraphrase the end of a Kafka story: this blog was intended only for you. You’re welcome here.