When I hit follow, I mean it.

Many WordPress users follow blogs simply to get a follow back. To boost their numbers. I understand this. Because it happens to me so infrequently, getting a follower is like a small hit of crack. A rush.

Topping a milestone, 100, 200, etc, is something more. But I don’t really know what because it’s only happened to me once. A few months ago, I bypassed one hundred followers. And I’m now one away from two hundred.

I won’t trade for follows. I don’t want my reader filled with unreadable content. For the most part, I don’t want to read about travel or makeup or restaurants in a city I’m not planning to visit. I don’t want to read about books I’ll never read. Or movies I’m not going to watch.

I want to read about people. I want to read about goals, dreams, fears, foibles and achievements. I want to read about you. I want to read about real people blossoming and withering. Growing and shriveling. Experiencing life… and death.

I want to read dissent, opinion and point of view. But I don’t want to read about hate. Hate is for Facebook.

Today I unfollowed my first blog. A post offended me. It left me feeling dirty, stained, and wondering why—why would I voluntarily read something that is counter to my beliefs. It didn’t leave me feeling educated. It wasn’t challenging, just mean.

I’m not afraid of ugly. Many of the poets I follow paint a picture of the world that is black and red. Not beautiful, but a slap in the face. Screaming wake up. In their posts there is no hate, just truth.

Hate is for Facebook.

390 thoughts on “Follow

  1. Pingback: “I Want to Read about People”: On Why We Follow Blogs — Discover – Site Title

  2. I agree – I have only a handful of followers and it does not bother me in the slightest as I simply write stories about me, my life, my memories and my opinions. My writing has become a fascinating experience for me and I find the more I write, the more I remember. Like you, I am very selective about who I follow as I too prefer to discover new cities, new food, new cultures, new traditions when I travel and don’t like to be influenced by what other people like or enjoy. I do not need to see another recipe or a photo of food.
    As for hate – it is a word I would like to completely remove from our language. I want to think, write, read as an individual not by popular demand and I strive to always be kind and caring to all life.

    Liked by 12 people

  3. I’m new to the blogging world and believe I’m up to 9 followers lol and this is the first time I make a comment. It’s hard to find time to post in my blog but always get motivated when I get a new follower. I truly enjoy reading people’s
    Blogs and I get inspired by doing so. I believe that blogging is a form of informative art. It’s self expression about things that are important to you personally and it’s what you want to show others. I don’t know which blogger you are all referring to and have not yet read a post that I didn’t like-but I’m sure I’ll come across one at some point. I did however, like the Facebook comment in this original post . Facebook has become the National Enquirer of social media. If people are looking for attention of sorts then then that’s the place to do it. As far as I’m concerned, keep up the great blogging everyone!!!!

    Liked by 7 people

  4. I agree 100%. I’ve gotten more followers and views since I switched my leadership blog over to a format featuring posts that are basically about me and my daily struggles/successes within leadership, weight loss, fatherhood, marriage, etc.. I try to include lessons within each post. I really started my blog as therapy. In the beginning, I used to follow everyone that followed me, you know, just hit the button. I’d feel guilty a bit if I didn’t. Then I started reading and unfollowing blogs I wasn’t interested in. I lost some followers but that’s ok. I’m ok with not gaining a bunch of followers and becoming rich. 😄 Not only is my blog therapy, but it’s a legacy I’m leaving for my 4 young children. Someday, they will understand who I am and the choices I made while they were growing up. I’m very excited for that!

    Liked by 6 people

  5. This: “Because it happens to me so infrequently, getting a follower is like a small hit of crack. A rush.” is so true. Great reminder to follow or not follow. Sometimes I come close to being sucked into the tit-for-tat followers vortex.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Pingback: Follow — The Other Stuff – #in control

  7. Thank you so much for this. When people ask me why I started blogging or what I write about, I can tell they expect to hear me say something like fitness, food, dieting, poetry, etc. But in all honesty I just want to write. I want to live and I express that through what I write. Social media has milked so many people into thinking they have to put SO MUCH THOUGHT into their posts that it’s not even real anymore. Awesome post and a reminder that was much needed.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. I started blogging again, after one year, because I felt the need to write my heart out. I am exploring around word press to find bloggers worth following, and I have discovered that there are a lot out there, but I am only following those whose posts I enjoy reading, those who reveals parts of their heart and soul. Of course I want to have more than 16 followers that I currently have, but I would like them to be people that can relate or at least feel and appreciate what I am writing.

    Liked by 7 people

  9. I’ll just get this out of the way… you had me at the word “foibles”. (One of my all-time favorite words)

    Totally agree regarding Facebook, filled with hatred and bad news. That’s why I left and have entered the world of blogging. I believe you may have to be my second follow!

    M x

    Liked by 3 people

  10. “Fear is for Facebook”. Ha. I knew there was a reason I left social media! When I started my blog I really thought my only readers would be a couple of people I harassed into reading it. It still amazes me I have over a hundred strangers that read and identified with something I said. Ok, I know some of those are just trying to sell me some “amazing new traffic” since “the ideas you outlined were so clear and relevant and I will be returning soon to hear more!” Really Spammer? My post on meeting Plumber Jim when my sewer ejector pump gave up was rife with “great ideas every one needs to hear”. At first it was like an endorphin rush. But somewhere along the line I reminded myself why I started, it was to write again on a regular basis, to do this thing that I love but gets lost in the mortgage paying day to day. I actually don’t know how many followers I have right now. Just that I really enjoying reading other people like you and conversing with the ones like you that recognize the joy in reading “about real people blossoming and withering. Growing and shriveling. Experiencing life… and death.” Even if its about a sewer.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Speaking of which… anything new coming up from you? Now that I’ve got a gazillion followers and the rush of that has worn off, I’m really just looking for friends like you to correspond with.


      • I had some mortgage paying stuff that got in the way, but just finished typing Part One of another Single Girl Home Owning saga. Part Two is where the meat is, but its all about the build up, eh? I’m hoping to get it up these evening after some magic finishing touches (i.e. filching royalty free images from the Interweb).


      • royalty free meaning open or stolen? I’m pretty bad about the stealing thing. I read a post recently by a blogger calling all of us photo thieves to the carpet. I’ve been better since then.


      • I try to stick with actually open, no attribution needed from places like Pixabay or Creative Commons if I’m not using my own photos. Otherwise, I try to credit the source. Even when I use those “no attribution needed” I try put the source site in as an alternate text in the very least.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Follow — The Other Stuff | Indy's Untamed Travels

  12. Love the post!
    I just started blogging myself but only follow a blog if I enjoy reading several of its posts and the topics are relevant for me. For example having been an expat for the past years I am interested in reading about the life of other expats and their adventures. In general stories and topics I can relate to.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. This is good food for thought. I tend to follow blogs based on one or two posts, but I seldom even use the WP reader and I often forget about them.

    I have a handful of followers, since the large majority of my posts are flash fiction or comments about writing. The writing prompt community is almost grossly congratulatory, but writing fiction is hard and discouraging and I think people need to feel that they are good at something whether they are or not. Good job, Jean! Great story, Allen!

    In 2000 I had a personal blog that served as a diary, part of the original Blogger community where the follow-like circle was much more like Facebook. It’s archived at

    Prior to that I posted almost daily on the now-defunct website, the process laboriously requiring html and ftp. That one is at

    II have a comics and animation blog I also stopped maintaining a year or so ago. As for personal stuff, I stopped posting my random daily asides online, preferring to keep a journal instead. I write two pages a day whether I want to or not. The little books have piled up over the years, and I now have quite a stack of them, though they seldom get so much as a glance.

    Like you, I am interested in stories. I don’t care if they are factual, as long as they are well-written and attempt to depict a greater truth. I also like if they are funny. My wife’s blog is a nice mixture of humorous essays and fiction pieces. Her style is breezy and spare and offers no clue to the effort she puts into revision.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post. Maybe I’ll even follow you!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I follow people who follow me sometimes. I am a man, but I like to stay up on some travel, and some makeup and fashion, because I go places, and I buy things for women. I like poetry and stories.
    The only thing I don’t really like is when someone’s entire reason for having a blog is to promote a book, with each post being a little paragraph from a novel or something… OR, when the entire reason is to sell a product or service… I guess the whole Lloyd Dobler thing, really. You know, from Say Anything:
    “I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”
    Well, I also don’t want to read about it.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. What matters more, numbers or relationships? I had to ask myself that question when I found my heart pounding every time I’d check my stats. I’d wonder, why not me? What am I doing wrong? But I never understood the “follow back” theory. It felt inauthentic and just plain gross to me. Instead, I worried. I never thought I wanted to reach big numbers, but that “hit of crack” you mentioned had me addicted. Until . . . it didn’t. Glennon Doyle Melton and Elizabeth Gilbert had a conversation on Gilbert’s podcast “Magic Lessons” that took my breath away. I had a singing moment of clarity that raised goosebumps on my arms. Melton made the point that it’s an HONOR to have even one follower, to be invited into any single person’s home at any time. And I realized YES. That’s right. THAT matters. And from that moment on, I’ve checked stats only sporadically and focused on relationships and community. After all, that’s why I began blogging in the first place. And it’s clear, that’s why you did, too. Thanks for the post. I truly enjoyed what you had to say.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree, at times I’m astounded that *anyone* follows me. Each like and comment is a true source of pride for me. Someone has taken the time to sit down and read what I wrote. It’s kind of amazing. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Why a WordPress Like Means Much More than a Facebook Like – My English Paradise

  17. I get you! I love the article. Sometimes I wonder about what people think about what they post. Why are they so long? Most of the time I can’t understand the poems. Each to his own. RESPECT I browse every blog on Discover and WordPress. If it makes a footprint in my sensibilities and emotions … YOU GOT ME.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I see your point, I like following blogs by people I’d like in real life, and while I enjoy a good rant, there’s a functional rant and a hate-fueled unhelpful one. nothing wrong with unfollowing sometimes. if only it were so easy in real life. also, I’d argue that *sometimes* we might want to read something on travel or makeup or restaurants, written by a real person with real views, if we’re considering going to that place or buying that thing. there’s a need for all sorts of blogs out there, and that’s why I’m happy that there *are* all sorts of blogs out there.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you for the suggestion Jeff but actually the reason I am here is because I took the Dr. Jordan Peterson self-authoring program which is basically the same thing except that it encompasses one’s entire life and goals in all the different aspects. I intend to go through that course every six months to continue mapping out my direction. I have been recommending it for anyone who is feeling directionless since it does a good job of determining what we really value.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Jeff

    I reluctantly unfriended someone – a longtime friend – from FB. I have a page there for writing. Then one for family. I don’t mind dissent, disagreement. But when I tried to comment with respect I received back a lot of hateful stuff. Now … my friend and I have always disrespectfully disagreed. No problem. But all of his friends spew some serious stuff … my way. I skipped the posts, and stopped discussing. But, that didn’t help. So it was with great sadness that I unfriended him.

    Social media is a treacherous sea of crazies. For me, I want to it use for author ‘stuff.’ I decline to post politically. Just, too much anger. Don’t want those vibes following me around. I follow many authors. My belief is authors should support authors, and cooks support cooks. I fall into those categories, and even at my … advanced age … I suspect I still have some words to share.



  20. I am like you. I don’t always have time to read each post word for word, but I do read enough (at least the first sentence of every paragraph) to decide if it is a subject I want to follow. I am trying to build a network of people who want to help each other, pass along writing tips, and save animals. I want my follows to draw more followers of the same type, not just any follower. When I find one I like I tweet it for the same reason. Thanks for letting us know that we don’t have to trade a follow for a follow if we really don’t like or agree with their format.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I think I just found a whole new world with your honest article. Thank you. Finding the blogs that I do actively wish to read has not proved easy. I sometimes feel I’m in a bubble.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. i agree. I don’t want to talk about make-up or travel I want to write about myself, my experience, my goals and my desires. Particular brands or dresses you can’t have or afford and reading up for them is truly waste of time. I was so confused that I started blogging to share my experiences and my goals, my motivations, different stories not to share whats new in my wardrobe. Thanks to the keyword follow I came to you. Hitting that follow button to listen new every time from you. Much appreciation for your true honest words…


  23. Pingback: Book Review! Fragments: a memoir, by Jeff Cann – Autism in Our Nest

  24. Pingback: Book Review! Fragments: a memoir, by Jeff Cann – Sneakers on Pavement

  25. Pingback: The Choice to Follow: The Achiever's Dilemma | You are Awesome

  26. Wow, so many likes and comments! I have to say in the past year I have done the same. I went through and cleaned up my reader. If I didn’t have a reading relationship with the writer I unfollowed them. If I didn’t have a relationship but liked their content, I kept them. There are a couple of people that follow my blog, but they post multiple times a day – just a picture or something and it loaded down my feed. So I dropped them too. It was tough – cause it took so long, but I love my reader now. All blogs I want to read. It’s great. Follow inspired me, years later, but I thought about it the whole time.


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