Yes, I know that title’s already been used.
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“Hundreds of new followers? Isn’t that a good thing?” This was my daughter Sophie. I just told her about having my post featured in WordPress’s Discover. This happened on Sunday morning at 9:00. Seven hours later, Sophie was just getting home. She slept over at a friend’s house, so she missed the excitement. She missed a morning of watching her dad, sitting in shock, watching his WordPress stats roll ever higher. Reminiscent of the Untied State’s national debt counter.
Hundreds of new followers! Is it a good thing? I’m not so sure. To overhear my conversation with Sophie, you’d think my cat went missing. I’m highly anxious, slightly depressed.
I had a nice little blog. Little, meaning followers, not content. I’m pushing one hundred posts. 100,000 words. It’s like reading a moderately sized book. But I only had two hundred followers. That’s two people per post. And that’s about right. Each time I post a story, I pick up a couple of followers.
Ironically, the post featured on Discover was called Follow. Like a subliminal command for all who stopped by that they should hit the follow button.
Reading through the comments section, it’s clear that many readers feel the number of followers is unimportant, irrelevant. What matters is the process—the writing, the posting, connecting with others, no matter how few. To a degree, I feel this way too. I write to sort through my thoughts. I post for public viewing to ensure I’ve given my best effort on what I’ve written. And yes, the engagement matters to me—a lot. I want to know that people are reading my posts. I want to know what they think.
Historically, the group of people engaged with my blog has been about ten readers. Ten people who regularly stop by my blog to trade comments, to get to know me. I follow their blogs, too. I think we’re friends. I care about them like I care about my friends.
When the dust settles from the Discover discovery, I’ll have nine hundred to a thousand followers. Proportionally, I should expect five times the engagement. Maybe fifty commenters. That’s too many people to get to know. I’m a one-on-one dude. Walking into a large party is the least enjoyable thing I do in my life. Really, I’d rather be home reading a book. I’d rather be at the dentist getting my teeth drilled.
Fifty commenters is a party, a big one.
If I really analyze my feelings, I can see I’m also worried about the follow-up. WordPress picked Follow specifically because they thought it would resonate with so many people. This week, I’ve had a song in my head almost non-stop—Video Killed the Radio Star. This was a big radio hit in 1980 by the British rock group the Buggles. Who? Exactly.
So, this is my follow-up to my one hit. I wanted to get it out of the way so I could focus on writing about the topics that matter most to me—which is whatever I happen to be obsessing over when I sit down to write.
Thank you for following my blog. Thank you for taking the time to comment, taking the time to read my older posts. I look forward to getting to know those who are looking for a connection, those who can tell we’d get along based on the words I’ve written.
Welcome to the Other Stuff.