Follow

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. Thanks so much for your honesty. I just started blogging in the last month; I am learning. I am a writer (obviously) and a runner, and a health professional who, just today–after 23 years of practice–scheduled a patient with Tourette’s. I am also a spelling freak, and I LOVE that you spelled judgement that way–Word tells you to spell it judgment. Funny, I used the word in my last post two days ago and didn’t succumb to the pull to spell it the old fashioned way. Thanks again for putting it all out there. I am learning how to do that as well, and it feels good.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I just started the blogging now things is really great to join such a masses to share the blog of mine and also will experience of ideas, thought, inspiration​ of someone genuinely posted blogs. I have read the several blogs the most of them share their ideas, opinions and their worthy discussion and that is not matter of money, following or not following for the genuinely and worthy blogs.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve been reading quite a few bloggers content to determine who I’d like to follow. But when I hit the follow button genuinely because I enjoy what their putting out. I agree for me it’s not about getting a follow in return. I just want to read good content.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Pingback: Follow — The Other Stuff – wandasncredible

  5. I understand your reasons for choosing to follow which blogs you really want to “follow”. And hey, I followed you just now to see if you feel my blog fits into your interests.. though I realize that I write about things that you generally dont like 😀 But thanks for being honest!
    – Joseph (A Brave New Science)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. That seems a reasonable position to take. New to this, I’ve resolved to only follow where there is a genuine interest. It is more likely then that those that continue to follow my posts have a genuine desire to read what I have to say.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: “I Want to Read about People”: On Why We Follow Blogs – Angelo Science & Technology

  8. Pingback: Follow — The Other Stuff – Roy Pearson

  9. This is so beautifully written. I’ve been wondering these past few days what I should be writing about in my blog, and this is just the answer i’ve been looking for. This reminded me of the reason why I wanted to write. I want to tell truths, my story and stories of people around me. This is amazing. Thank you.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. True that!! It can be about movies, books or anything but what attracts me is the real stories about life, people , just as you mentioned about real people, blossomed and withered.. Loved this one!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Holu fuck this was the reason I was writing a blog with no follower for a year plus. And then I realised well I should put in some effort to get people to read the raw emotions we feel during our daily grind. Hence the initiative to get there and start looking for people i can actually follow. As far as follow back is concerned I don’t care. Because I have 100 plus followers waiting to be “allowed” on instagram and twitter. But it is not about the followers or follow back. I want connection. If you are not a celebrity or funny platform then no connection=no followback. Anyway I liked this post as I came across it by complete accident. Hence I will follow back. No need to follow back if you view and read my profile and do not like it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Holy fuck this was the reason I was writing a blog with no follower for a year plus. And then I realised well I should put in some effort to get people to read the raw emotions we feel during our daily grind. Hence the initiative to get there and start looking for people I can actually follow. As far as follow back is concerned I don’t care. Because I have 100 plus followers waiting to be “allowed” on Instagram and Twitter. But it is not about the followers or who follows back. I want connection. If you are not a celebrity or funny platform then no connection=no follow back. Anyway, I liked this post as I came across it by complete accident. Hence I will follow back. No need to follow back if you view and read my profile and do not like it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A refreshing, honest and illuminating perspective. I have purposefully and stubbornly avoided social media and Facebook and the rest, until last month. I did a Future Learn online writing course and took the plunge, set up a writing blog and am now knee deep in the whole shebang.

    I am only just keeping my head above water. I am bamboozled by on-line etiquette and you have helped me to start to crystallize my thoughts around the Follower issue, at least. Thank you for that!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. LOVE THIS! …”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.”

    Well said!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. What I like about social media is that you can really afford to do both – be polite or not, depending on your goal. After so many years on fb, I enjoy the anonymity of my blog – it is where I put my thoughts out, for myself – and the deliciousness of Pinterest, where I can roam randomly between pictures, collecting the ones for my soul.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. WordPress is no longer just a blogger’s space. It is part of the social media frenzy. You are bound to find people who will think that they use the same techniques (follow for follow) and so on.

    It takes time to find people who write like how you wanna write, people who talk sense or speak truth. And unfollowing someone because you found it mean, and dirty is gonna happen more than once. It is a forever on going process.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. While I am still very new to the blogging world, I admit I do get the butterflies when I see I have a new follower. I try to only follow after I have read at least a couple of posts. Ultimately, I hope for my posts to reach hundreds…to help even just one soul. To some degree, I see the numbers of followers depicting that. But I can also see how the numbers may not be an entirely accurate reflection. Thanks for this vantage point!!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. I’m with you, Jeff! I like to read about the realness of people and of life. I started blogging recently in order to experiment with expressing myself and my thoughts, and trying to get over the fear that tells me that my thoughts aren’t worthy of being shared. I call my blog Subject To Change and I’m trying to make it as personal and open as I possibly can. http://stoc.me/

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Your words are so real and so very true. This is what blogging is for me, a place to document my life as I’m living it including the highs and lows. I do love having a community, but mostly, blogging is my therapy. It’s a way to organize my thoughts into words so I’m not ruminating all day.

    I’m curious as to how you define hate. I think hate is almost subjective. You can hate eggplant or you can hate a group of people yet the same word is used but the underlying implications can be so drastically different.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I use blogging very much the same way as you do. If something’s bothering me, I will keep bothering me until I write about it. Then I understand the problem and I can move on. Hate: To me, this is prejudice. I’m fine with differing opinions, but once a person starts slamming a someone because they appear to belong to a group, I have no patience. Racism, misogyny, ageism, political partyism… those are hot buttons for me.

      Liked by 2 people

  20. Haha since I am not really that active here I have followed very few blogs till now and it sometimes gets quite boring because I lack enough good material to read here when I want to!
    I am also looking forward to follow more worthy blogs to know more about people, their visions, their feelings and sufferings, and beir talents! Its such a great way to explore. I am following your blog. -hoping for some great content from your side. 🙂 Have a good day. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Pingback: Follow – My Girl Tina

  22. Social media is strange. There are multiple studies coming out about how Facebook users -using a site designed to connect people – feel depressed and lonely the more they log on to the site. We start to use the words “friends” and “like” very loosely, and when we “follow” someone, I’ve noticed that a lot of times its for personal gain, not because we actually enjoyed the content. I appreciate you sharing this, I often find myself feeling frustrated that I don’t have many followers – but I think all writers crave an audience of some sort. A very interesting line, “Hate is for Facebook” – I think it really resonated with me because it’s true. Thank you for sharing and good luck with all of your writing endeavors!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for reading and putting so much thought into your comment. Possibly what I’m reacting to is that maybe wordpress is starting to feel more like social media to me. I feel like a blogging site should be simply writing and reading.

      Like

      • I can see that. I’m fairly new to WordPress so I haven’t run into any negativity at all on here – the environment has felt much more welcoming and I feel as though there is far more depth to what people choose to share. I’m hoping that it doesn’t turn into some passive “like” and “follow” platform like Facebook. I’m hoping that if people follow me they actually enjoy my content – I don’t follow people if I don’t enjoy theirs. I agree with your last comment but I like to follow other bloggers to make sure I’m not missing out on their content and I also enjoy having conversations such as this one. Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend and happy blogging!

        Liked by 2 people

  23. Hi Jeff. This is my first visit here. I admit that I kind of feel bad not following people back. My rule is that I first check out their site to see if there is something of interest to me before following. Alternatively, leaving a genuine comment or liking a particular blog post makes a nice connection without the commitment.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Haha! Great post! You took the words right out of my mouth. When I first started blogging a few months ago I wasn’t sure how to go about all of this, gaining the followers and what not. But about a month ago I decided I wasn’t going to follow people anymore just to be nice, I genuinely wanted to like what they had to offer and if I didn’t, I wasn’t going to follow them. I unfollowed a lot of people that day. Thanks for the reminder on how things should go! Like you, I wanna see real raw people, I don’t care about the travel, beauty, shopping, bla bla blogs either. But to each their own. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I agree about everything! I’m trying to write my opinions/feelings on things, but I feel like it comes out a bit cringey sometimes? As though I like to hear myself speak, but really I like to get my thoughts in order. There’s something different about having a blog, though, it feels much less filtered than sharing something on Facebook.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I love this Blog . When I follow I don’t expect a follow back nor do I follow just to follow . I am new here and still trying to learn my way around . I personally will only Blog about my personal experience and won’t Blog other people’s pictures . Just all my personal work . 😊 and I won’t go on Facebook. Haven’t for about a year now . Too much drama in my opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. THIS SWEET:……….ME TOO .
    LOVE../ LOVE NATURE AND ALL ABOUT CREATION HUMAN,ANIMALS,JUST EVERYTHING,….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.”

    Liked by 2 people

  28. I don’t know if you’re still 1 follower away from 200 or not, but after reading this I clicked “follow!” Like you, I won’t trade follows for follows, as I am quite selective in who I choose to follow. I love logging into WordPress and scrolling through my feed and I refuse to have my senses assaulted with subpar content for the sake of followers. I enjoyed this piece!

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Couldn’t agree more to this! While it’s okay to get insights about certain places and products, wouldn’t it be more interesting to know of another person’s view of something more than what can be seen, something personal that people can relate to or be inspired from. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  30. This is so powerful. As a teen i sometimes go for popularity like things i do on other social media post something cool just for followers but here as i begin my blog (newbie here).I told myself be real this is you just you. You dont have to post just for clamour. Be authentic shout what you feel. This post boost my motivation to be just ME.
    Thanks and Godbless

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I regularly read many more blogs than I ‘follow’. The ones I follow are those where there is a confluence of enjoying their writing style, identifying with their subject matter and feeling a connection with the author as a person. That doesn’t stop me from having at least as many blogs bookmarked to check on every now and again. It’s simply the difference between being in the contact list and being on speed dial.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Well said.

    Interesting place I find myself. Been writing a music/memoir blog for four years; modest success (in that a small community has developed that feels like a real connection). But I’ve been feeling constrained by the ‘album’ focus of the blog, and so just started up lonelykeyboards. More space, more scope; I hope.

    But going back to a handful of ‘followers’ made me review what I want: is it acknowledgement, a platform, admiration, popularity, respect, engagement? There are a lot of wants to choose from.

    Really, I just want to write. And if anyone stumbles across the ‘new’ blog and likes what they read they’ll come back. Or they won’t. It’s not about the numbers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’t funny. I’ve been wanting my blog to grow for 18 months. Now that it has, I sort of miss the intimacy of how it was a few months ago. When I started this blog, I thought I would write primarily about running. But I found that I’ve been drawn to Other Stuff. I may need to change my banner at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I get the intimacy part. Responding to regular commenters over time and getting to know them is probably the most rewarding part of publishing.
        So thanks for responding to my comment and good luck with the adjustment.

        Like

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  34. 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

  35. 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

  36. 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

  37. 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

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  39. 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

  40. 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

  41. 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

  42. “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.

      Like

      • 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).

        Like

        • 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.

          Like

        • 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

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

  44. 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

  45. 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 joshery.com

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

    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

  46. 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

  47. 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

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

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