Great Expectations

Yes, I know that title’s already been used.

~ ~ ~ ~

“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.

Anxious! Depressed!

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.


55 thoughts on “Great Expectations

  1. I followed because of “Follow”, but that’s okay because I wouldn’t have discovered your blog in the first place and I want to now. For me, blogging is a form of gratitude-journalling and my way of talking to the universe. Are you listening? 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I’m one of your new followers, too. I want to say that I can feel your pain, I have just about hundred followers and I also find it stressful and the idea that there will be more, probably, makes me anxious. Also the comments… I liked your post 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I find your blog refreshing, because I appreciate your honesty about the connection and sorting out of your thoughts to be what really matters. Your blog has helped to reduce some of my own anxiety. I write, I draw, I like to share ideas and what has helped me through certain things. But I have difficulty articulating that purpose and although I am happy for my little blog as I see it as some sort of personal accomplishment, I still don’t quite understand what it is or its purpose. Your words and honesty hit home and I am grateful someone was able to put it into words. Thank you for sharing and being truthful. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Jeff, I have another favorite blogger here that just writes about whatever pops into his head. Some of it is beautiful. Some of it quite profound and some of it is crap. But I love this guy’s blog, because he’s real. He’s just being him. So you just keep doing what you do Jeff!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. ” 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.” Yup, yup, and yup. Don’t be nervous. Just write. (That is some good advice I wish I would take myself! Ha!) Wishing you peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well…as one of your ‘was already following’ followers- I am happy to see that so many more people are able to read your work Jeff! You have so many great posts- I hope they take the time to check them out! I hear you though- I would be pretty anxious if that happened to me! LOL Also….I know have ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ stuck in my head….. Thanks for that…. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’ve wondered myself how I would feel if my blog suddenly received an outpouring of attention. On one hand, I love when I have random people outside of WordPress come up to me to tell me how much they enjoy it. On the other, I feel like I’m carrying on an intimate conversation with my readers and I worry if an influx of new readers would change my choices.

    I suppose we all do this, though, to share ourselves with the world. Congratulations, man!!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Enjoy it! Engagement definitely matters far more to me than stats (I rarely look at the page for my own sanity), but more people being exposed to your writing isn’t a bad thing!


  9. I am one of your new followers courtesy to “Follow”. I’m glad that is was featured otherwise I would have missed a great blog. Looking forward to your future posts and I think that you’ll do great irrespective of the number of followers because I think that’s just a number if you don’t fret about it.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I am one of your new followers. I liked your post because what you wrote resonated to me. I followed you because of your response to my response 😊. I totally resonate with this post too. I feel your anxiety and I would have been the same (as you said, we’re cut from the same cloth). My most read blog post (due to my personal Facebook page not Discover) made me scared to write the next post. So this post is so very relevant. Looking forward to reading future stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

        • No, I started writing and blogging (under the name Charley Rider) because it was therapeutic. I was sharing it with a handful of people in my life who convinced me to give the book thing a try. Coming out of the literary closet was the hardest thing I’ve done. I felt so exposed. Now I’ve gained so much comfort with the topics that I’m seen as something of an advocate for people with mental health.


  11. Wowza! That’s a lot of followers! And comments….I can see what you mean. You are going to see that red dot a lot! Intimidating, but you know, I think it is great. You are going to be reaching a lot of people to tell your story – which is great. Your posts are fun to read. I think you are going to do very well, and am happy for you. Of course, I will always be reading and cheering you on, just like this – Great job, Jeff!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Finally, a familiar face. The traffic flow seems to be thinning out now & I’m looking forward to a more manageable list of comment… and finally some time to read some blogs. This has been a crazy few days.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t want to add to the pressure of an overwhelming audience Jeff.

    But I do want to say that I enjoy your unadorned honesty. And if it’s ok, I’d like to keep stopping by from time to time.

    And I’m pretty sure your not the blogger version of the Buggles;)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. There has been at least one week since I follow you. Thanks to the “follow” post I discovered you and started reading your previous posts, I loved them. I find your blog very honest, realistic and true.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. There are at least 2 sides when we think “followers”. I find that lots of people follow simply in hopes that you or anybody else will follow back. I frequently do, if I look at the blog and it is something that does not offend my perception or does not relate to stuff that I assume inappropriate, very shallow or very boring or total disconnect with my personal ideas, I would follow back. Secondly, very few from the crowd really read the articles. Any new post appears in the Reader, so it’s easy and it saves time when they just click on like straight from the Reader.
    I might be sometimes too honest and I do not post about the generally accepted happiness variations, so I don’t get recently too much traction.
    It’s interesting how you mention you were in Discover. I don’t think I have ever been there during 5 years I blog. I think I did a big mistake when I had lots of followers, at least 3 times more than at the moment, and I decided I had to move my blog to a website. Well, I got very sick, so the website workout stopped, and, yes, I lost a lot of followers. I still have one more blog, but due to my health struggles that could be doing better, too.
    Just like you, I’m looking for something that is not republished.We could assume that everything already exists somewhere taking into account the number of people who write, however, I’m also for honesty and personal point of view which most people simply don’t have. Good to meet you.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I love ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ and I can sing it through to prove it.

    Just left a comment on the ‘Follow’ post where I said (poetically, I think) that numbers aren’t important. Liar. I’m jealous as hell. AND I agree with everything you said in this follow-up single.

    But the reason I’m about to hit ‘Follow’ is a line from one of your posts I read in the past half-hour. “I’m a glass half-empty guy”. That’s a club I’ll join.

    Bruce (Vinyl Connection and, freshly unpressed, Lonely Keyboards).

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hey Jeff,

    Easy to hit follow when you read a few of your posts…clear, concise writing, thoughtful and impactful…what more can you ask for as a reader?

    As the father of three daughters living in Las Vegas, I write for a lot of the same reasons you do…sharing stories through writing is therapy…and hopefully one day, down the road, our kids will read these stories and “get” it.

    Keep up the good work

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Guilty!!. I followed after “Follow”. But I love your blog… and my blog is a little one… with i think 70+ followers? Seeing new followers makes me happy.. it makes me know that they didn’t just press “Like” because they saw a random post.. They actually want to read more stuff… On the other hand, one day, I tried to post through my mobile.. and the contents just wouldn’t upload… Only the title was on my blog… Sadly sitting there with no content to follow up on the beautiful heading… and some of my followers liked that!!!?! I mean.. what is that about?? I was kinda offended.. If they are not going to even read the post, why follow me? Soo….. it’s a two edged sword.. you feel good… but then when something like that happens you start looking at everyone suspiciously 😀 so i guess writing should be about ME.. not about anyone else…


    • I’ve had similar situations where I’ve posted a 2000 word story, and someone hits like a minute later. I’m not sure what their motivation for that is. And yes, that’s the overriding theme of the comments on follow… we should write for ourselves. Thanks for following.


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