Saturday, January 23, 2010

The infamous "Followers" widget





I have read several blogs lately that refer to the "followers" widget as something that they feel is indicative of the value of their writing (and sometimes themselves). I remember when I first started blogging, that widget didn't exist. Most of us started writing, for the sake of writing, not to amass a following. We really had no idea how many people followed us because the comments were the only way to judge something like that. Not everyone comments every day, nor every week. Some people just stop by to read. At one point that was okay. What happened?

The "Followers" widget happened.

It started out as just an easy way to follow blogs. It automatically added a blog to your dashboard, then the "reader" would update your dashboard, flagging when there was a new post on the blogs you chose to follow. That way you wouldn't have to have a giant list, such as mine, on your sidebar. (I have both, dear readers, because you are too good to pass up.)

Then it turned into a competition with some folks. They tried all sorts of different combinations to increase the followers on their blogs. I had people leave comments asking me how they could get as many followers as I had. As if there was some magic combination of easy to do steps. Most of those commenters were not regular followers of my blog. They just surfed around looking for blogs with large followings to try to find that magic combination. I was never sure why they wanted followers - maybe to launch some product? When I visited their blogs, they often didn't even exist - no writing - just a blog with very little about them. I'm sure you've had similar visitors.

So what would happen, if tomorrow Blogger decided that widget was too cumbersome to continue and erased everyone's widget? What would that mean to you? Would you still have a blog?

I know that most widgets really don't reflect the readership of any one blog. You can have a thousand followers and at the most may only get 60-70 comments per day. If you're lucky! So did the other 930 read your blog? Probably not. So the widget is just that - a widget. It does not indicate your popularity, nor should it have any influence on what, and how, you write. If someone leaves it is not necessarily because they no longer "like" you - they may have closed down their blog, or maybe had too many blogs going and wanted to make it more manageable. There are millions and millions of blogs out there. If someone leaves you to read another one - don't take it personally. Don't attach self esteem, or self worth to a widget. Keep writing, keep blogging, because there will be someone who finds you that likes what you have to say. Has a connection with you. Feels honored to be your blogging friend.

Why? Because you're one in a million!

67 comments:

*M£LISHA* said...

check out my blog, melslifeofthefashionist.blogspot.com

Land of shimp said...

I had no idea what the follower widget was, at first. I can be guilty of not paying much attention.

In blogging, as in life, hopefully if we are fortunate, we'll run into kind, funny people with whom it is fun to have exchanges.

I really don't think there is a right way, or wrong way to feel about something like followers. It's up to the individual to sort that out for themselves. If seeking followers makes them happy? Rock on with that. If not fretting about it is the easiest way for them to enjoy the entire atmosphere? Then that's their answer.

That's really what I think it comes down to, figuring out your own answers. It's okay if followers matter to people, it can give them a feeling of validation. What I care about is that I like all the people I respond to, and who respond to me. I like the whole concept of exchanging ideas with people. It doesn't particularly matter one way or another to me if it's at their blog, or at mine.

It's lovely to find how many articulate, funny, kind people are out there.

I keep seeing posts that say things along these lines, "Blog for yourself!" Amen to that, but that does include deciding for yourself your reasons for doing it, and what you value, etc.

I completely get what you're saying, Nancy. The problem with people thinking that followers denotes inherent worth is that people with few followers then might think, "I'm not good enough." and be discouraged. I agree, the number of followers is in no way reflective of that, and it is important to state that.

But by the same token, I hesitate to say that others need to feel about things as I do to be doing it correctly, or in the correct spirit.

It takes different things to make different people happy. I personally feel that the follower widget was not the best call on the part of blogger.

Mainly I just want people to feel encouraged, but I guess it is up to them to determine what will do that for themselves. What works for me doesn't work for everybody.

If I had any good advice to give on this, and I truly don't think that I do, just figure out what will make you happiest in this and all things. If it won't hurt anyone, including you? Go for it.

Nancy said...

Melisha - Will do.

Shimp - I think there is so much emphasis on the widget sometimes, not always, of course, that people feel sad when someone leaves. And I don't always think it's about them - it may just be something as innocuous as closing down their blog. We all need validation, but when it comes to a widget, it's not the most secure place to put self esteem. Thanks always for your thoughtful, inspired comments.

Whitney Lee said...

This really is becoming a common theme lately. Several of the blogs I follow have posted something about how everyone should write if they want and not feel invalidated simply because they have no followers. Perhaps too many people are worried about their popularity in the blogosphere. I'll admit that I've struggled with that before.

It helped me to remember why I started blogging. It was a combination of a counselor telling me I needed to set aside a time for myself each day to be creative and a visiting cousin deciding I needed to start writing again. At the time I hadn't the first idea of what a blog actually was.

I have very few followers and often not much in the way of comments, and I'm okay with that. I've discovered that what I truly enjoy is reading other's blogs and being entertained and inspired.

Occasionally I have a post that I feel is inspired and wish there were more people out there reading my blog. When that happens I just pull it up and make my family read it and tell me how fantastically brilliant I am:)

Amy said...

I like Whitney Lee's idea - right now my husband rarely reads my blog but I think my daughters do (occasionally anyway). It's so funny what we deem important - for me I decided early on that awards, tags, followers were not high on the list of importance. I agree with Alane that it's absolutely amazing how many articulate and funny people there are out there and I've grown to love the hours of entertainment and stimulation their posts give me.

By the same token, blogging has afforded me a voice, one that I haven't exercised in a mighty long time. Also a way to express myself creatively - it's a joy.

Perhaps it's because of the inclement weather, but I've been on the 'ol computer more the past few weeks than the previous two months combined. So thank you everyone for stimulating diversions!

And, Nancy, thank you for your thought provoking posts. Like I commented the other day, my "to do" list is growing because of you!

Becky the Design Lady said...

I started a blog for my own entertainment and have just a few folks who follow and comment and I'm good with that.

Being made aware of the fact that other people are reading what I write makes me feel self conscious at times and a little less inclined to be myself.

However, I like the followers widget for the fact that I can check out some of the folks who are following writers that I enjoy - like Nancy - and perhaps find someone there who I can connect with.

DJan said...

Thanks for this post, Nancy. I think it's partly my desire for validation that makes me so jealous of my followers. I do compare myself with others and I hate that. I almost DIDN'T follow you because of the number of followers you have, I wanted to feel special, you know?

But of course I do follow you, and I love your posts, which almost always make me think. But you're right: I do sometimes get very self conscious when I'm about to post something personal or a little controversial. I don't want to offend anybody. I am too easily hurt by criticism, even well meant stuff.

So I solved it by starting another blog and purposely not going for followers but to write for myself. Thanks for this post, it has made me rethink (again) my reasons for writing.

CrazyCris said...

I actually like the widget, but I have it on my page for the reason I like seeing it on others' blogs: to make it easier to "follow" blogs and add them to my reader!

JJ said...

Check out my blog thelifeofthefashionkidjj.blogspot.com

Joanne said...

I agree, write because you love to write. And it's true, someone can have 1000s of followers, but not many comments. It's the comments that I enjoy, the exchange of ideas, smiles, and thoughts inspired by the post. I guess the comments are where the dialogue happens, and it's fun to see where that dialogue goes sometimes.

otin said...

What I have noticed is that the comments that you receive have nothing at all to do with followers. Comments breed comments. If you read a lot of blogs, people will read yours and vice versa. Followers are just a bookmark of sorts.

Meri said...

Whenever I get a new follower, I always venture to their sites to see what they're doing. Most rarely leave comments. And a lot of people who frequently comment are not "followers" in the widget sense. One follower I know of, who never comments to me directly, is my ex, and I struggle against not being authentic because I might say something that offends him. Oh, those webs of influence. And I can think of a young woman whose blog was delightful until it was designated a blog of note. All of a sudden, she had 1000 followers and her blog became lifeless as if she were trying too hard to be entertaining and lost her voice in the process.

Kathy G said...

Thank you for the thoughtful post.

I've not become a follower of any blogs (preferring to subscribe to them through Google Reader). I have a handful of people who follow my blog; when I see a new name there I always go back and read their writing, and usually subscribe, but I made the decision not to install the Follower widget, because it DID seem like more of a popularity issue. However, when I visit other blogs, I'm jealous when their widget shows they have so many followers.

Brian Miller said...

nice post nancy. while i seem to be collecting a few followers here and there...and even getting a few comments along hte way...it is those that i consistently read an dconverse with through comments, emails etc that make me keep coming back.

Drama Queen said...

What a great post - I wholeheartedly agree!

I don't have many followers - and that's okay! I write:

1. to have a journal for myself to go back and reflect on
2. to stir creative juices every day
3. and as a legacy for my friends and family - if something happened to me, they'd have somewhat of a record of my life...for the past 15 months, anyway!

Grandma Nina said...

Hi Nancy,
Very good and thought provoking post. I have to admit that I check out how many followers others have, but I don't think consciously that I ever thought of it as a contest. But now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I do measure the popularity of my blog by this. But it doesn't determine when and what I post. So you made me think, if the widget went away would I still blog - and the answer is yes. Thanks for making me think about this. The bottom line is, I enjoy reading and writing and this is the perfect outlet for both.

scarlethue said...

Followers are odd anyway-- most of the people who "follow" me don't comment, and they come and go so easily that I hardly pay attention anymore. Comments are more important anyway. That's how you make connections with people, and the connections are the best part of blogging. Well, that and getting all this nonsense out of my head!

Rain said...

So glad you posted this Nancy. You know my anxiety issues, well last fall I couldn't handle the traffic anymore so I just shut down my old blog and started a new one, rather quietly. I do NOT have a followers gadget on my blog, nor to I have "blogs I follow" on my profile. It's only once in a blue moon that I notice if I get a new follower or not. I feel like sometimes people follow blogs to advertise themselves, and I'm just not into that anymore. Interesting thing is that Blogger doesn't allow you to see anonymous followers, so in my opinion, the Follwers gadget is kind of useles as a tool. And if people ride their talent on followers, well, that's sad if you ask me. If people like my blog and they follow, wonderful! I love friendly people and comments! Actually, I chuckled reading your post because I do remember that person who asked you how he could get as many followers as you!

Melissa said...

My blog is an extension of my thoughs usually with photos. The purpose of my blog is for me to document my children's live, bits of me and a place to put some of my photographs for distant relatives to see.

Just recently I had some followers find my blog and I was thrilled, but in time maybe they might find it's not the blog for them or maybe a friendship will develop. Either way it won't effect me, because I went into this whole blogging thing just for me and me only :)

I do have to admit I have found some unbelievable blogs that I follow and I have forged some nice conversations with these wonderful people and I am very grateful.

ellen abbott said...

It's insidious, that widget. I used to keep my eye on it and I do like to pop in to a new follower and say hello, welcome them along. But I don't pay much attention to it now and have given some thought to removing it. I think if I all of a sudden had hundreds of followers, it would make me nervous. I've never been mainstream. Anyway, if you really want to know who's visiting, check the stats.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I like the widget because it makes it very convenient to follow people I want to read regularly, but I do see people chasing "ratings." I began my blog to record stories and pix of my grandkids. As I started engaging with other bloggers, I have enjoyed exploring other topics. I've recently picked up about 30 followers, plus others who comment from time to time, and I like the company. But I'm not feeling any need to chase more readers--which is interesting because I'm often pretty competitive.

Von said...

Hi Nancy,another thought provoking post from you.Such an individual thing isn't it? I blog because I like the writing practise and it's fun!
I don't have many followers but I'm fine with that, one of them this morning made a very heartwarming comment and referred to them all as my 'cyber family".That I did enjoy!
I just like to write, of course I come from a family of big talkers.If others get some enjoyment from it then that's great.
I follow a lot of others because I'm a curious person..mostly blogs with information, new learning or good writing.I don't go for navel gazing or the trivial and I like to leave comments of appreciation, it seems courteous.I often delete from my list if the blog goes into areas I'm not interested in..too much angst,home decorating,snow or sentimentality about animals etc.
Keep warm!I do appreciate your comments and communication.

Brenda Susan said...

Great post Nancy. I do care how many are reading & commenting. It just adds some fun to it, though I would write anyway. I have a huge pile of scribbled- in journals in my closet to prove that writing my thoughts is an essential part of who I am.

The "community" aspect of blogging is such a fun & exhilarating part that i would miss the "Follower" widget if it was removed.

lakeviewer said...

It's funny how some people fret over these things. I'm sure they would have a sale and a give-away to improve their chance of being added on someone's side bar. The way I look at this whole thing: whatever!

There are days I just post; days I just read four or five other blogs without commenting. And then, at times, I can leave twenty, thirty comments in one sitting.

No rhyme or reason or method.

I'm having too much fun to worry about it at all.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

50 or 60 comments!!! I would go crazy trying to find the time to get over to their blogs for a visit. Yikes.

I do like being able to see what the bloggers I follow are doing on my dashboard. That's a cool feature. If people really want to know the activity on their blog they can get a stat counter. I think it's easy to get hung up on this stuff.

Fireblossom said...

Hi, I wandered here from Ellen's blogroll. :-)

You knwo what, after reading your post and the comments from readers, i think I will ditch the follower widget from both my blogs. I follow for one reason only-- so that the blogs I like to read will show up on my dashboard and reader. One doesn't even need that widget to follow a blog. There is a follow thingie up at the top. I don't even know who half my followers are, anyway. They never comment and i don't know them. Weird. Like party guests who come in and sit down but who don't speak or interact. Creepyyyy.

Marguerite said...

What an interesting and thought provoking post, Nancy! I think that there is a tendency to over- glamorize the widget, in Blogville. I find it useful and at times, an incentive to keep blogging. It's really called Google Friend Connect and I look at it as an easy way to keep up with cyber-friends. Keeps everything organized, in one place. On the flip side, I do think that many bloggers are super competitive and will do just about anything to get new followers. For the first eight months that I blogged, I had no clue what the widget was all about and was oblivious to it! So I suppose it all boils down to "different strokes for different folks" and the reason why, each person blogs.

luksky said...

lol!!! If you take a look at my followers you can see that I certainly don't blog for my following audience...as I am sure that most of the few that I have follow me only read occasionally.

It is a thought though...sort of like would someone really be driving that expensive Hummer or other some other comparable vehicle if there was not someone to "see" you driving that vehicle.

Jo said...

I am a sporadic blogger, and I use my blogroll to visit people. To be honest, I don't know how to use my followers widget. It just sits there on my sidebar with a bunch of lovely faces looking at me.

I have found, though, that there are some very aggressive bloggers out there, and they use all sorts of memes and give-aways to entice people to their blogs. And it seems to be a habit that is catching on with a lot of folks, even bloggers who at one time had good blogs, and wrote only for themselves and not for their followers.

I found a blog recently that was infinitely better than a lot of blogs out there. It was fun, well-written, witty, clever and intelligent, and it had 0 (as in zero) comments. Other blogs just keep repeating the same old yada, yada every day, and they get dozens and dozens of comments.

I agree with you. Write for yourself. I do. The number of followers a blog has does not indicate its value or merits at all, nor does the number of comments. I often read blogs and don't comment. Sometimes I don't have time, or sometimes I don't have anything worthwhile to say.

Keep blogging...!

Cheers,

Jo

JeannetteLS said...

Sometimes I have found new blogs to follow because someone told me they followed me... but I really cannot let myself get caught up in how many followers I officially have or do not. I have enough trouble with my opinion of myself, so it's the comments themselves that help me, support me, sometimes make me continue when I've lost my way a bit.

I DO think something is different about the bloggers have met in Blogspot and I don't know why... unless I just happened to get really lucky early on and stumbled upon you, on Carl, Jo. I started reading your blogs, then found others through you.

Still? I have to admit, that when I realized TEN people followed me, I had a strange feeling. ten people who never knew me valued what I wrote enough to bother to sign on. It DID give me a little bit of a rush, but just for a moment.

There is an exchange that goes on that matters more than any widget, though. And as Land of shimp talked about--it is wonderful to find so many talented, articulate and yes, KIND people are out there willing to reach out when they read words of pain or confusion.

It has helped me beyond words in the last three months.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Perfectly said!We all blog for different reasons. But fundamentally, maybe it comes down to people congregating in the village square to share stories, coffee, and feelings.

Pam said...

I know. But that widget. It's like crack. I check it every day.

Snowbrush said...

It primarily represents how much time you spend on the Internet visiting OTHER people's blogs.

Zanthie said...

I must admit I was getting antsy at the thought of no one reading my blog. Those random thoughts from being a teenager....'aren't I important"...But reading this I realise that I should put my daily attitude into practise!
I really don't care if people read it. I am blogging for ME!! And if it makes someone smile or think about something then that would be awesome.
Other than that, just jotting my thoughts and feelings down is just as wonderful :)

z.xoxo

Ladybird World Mother said...

Hooray!!!! so glad to read this. Have finally put to rest my ridiculous connection to my followers widget, as if more followers meant I was an all round, whoopy doo dah better sort of person. I have such lovely comments on my blog... sometimes just a few, sometimes more. But there is ALWAYS one that connects with what I have written, and I love that. I agree with Land of shimp... lack of followers can discourage as can lack of comments. (I have posted about the latter in a jokey sort of way, but ACTUALLY sort of meant it!)
Writing is so personal. And writers need to feel validated. But that validation HAS to come from within themselves, not from anonymous strangers called followers.
Love this post. Made me think, and am thoroughly enjoying all the comments you got too.

Deborah said...

You nailed it, Nancy. I had been conscious of paying way too much attention to my followers list and so decided to remove the widget a few weeks ago. It raises the spectre of competition, and for what?? We're here to write and to read and to be read ourselves is a big plus, but not very healthy when you attach your self-esteem to a number. Thanks for this very pertinent and common-sense post.

John Atkinson said...

I love this blog post. You are so cool.

kenju said...

I have the widget simply to make it easier for me to read the blogs I want to get to easily each day, and it's not a contest to see how many I can get. I have a hard time getting around to the 88 I do have.

Phoebe Miriah Kirby said...

I would certainly continue writing. I thought the pressure might be lowered for me as well. When I don't write for a few days I worry about my 20 or so followers who are wondering where I am... :)
On myspace/facebook (which I no longer have) people would ass you to have many many friends, but never talk with you. I found the entire site pointless.
I have so many posts written before I had even one follower (besides my husband).
Maybe the follower collectors will stumble across your blog and rethink their reasons for craving followers.

California Girl said...

I started blogging for the writing exercise and quickly became enchanted with the entire process. When I first rec'd followers, I was totally psyched. I was curious what drew them to my blog, how they found it, etc. As the followers began to build, I wondered what I could do to increase them, basically realizing the one sure way to get a big following is to become a Blog of Note. I researched that a bit and never really learned much other than, with over 3,000,000 blogs out there (if that is even correct now) it's a random selection.

So, now, with a very modest following on each of my blogs, I don't worry about it. I'm still finding my voice and I have really cool "regulars" who comment and critique and interact with me and others. I feel part of a community of folk. I keep trying to expand my reading into other blogs and that gets tricky because one could spend an entire day doing this. I know because if I'm home sick, I will do this all day.

Write for yourself. Read for yourself. Enjoy the process.

GYPSYWOMAN said...

neat post, nancy - bottom line for me in terms of blogging is that it is for me, first - just a way of saying things to myself about myself about others about things that i find beautiful and meaningful and that i wish to share with others - kind of like having friends over to my place to sit around and speak of whatever - so ya'll come on over - there's chilled wine and wonderful cheeses and some fresh fruit...door's open -

Land of shimp said...

"We all need validation, but when it comes to a widget, it's not the most secure place to put self esteem."

I absolutely agree with that, Nancy. Not to go off on a complete tangent, but it is indicative of something that a lot of women, in particular, face in our society. Relying on external factors of validation to promote self-esteem.

Clearly, that's not the fault of the individual, and none of us are immune, but it is a message women, and in a different manner, men receive about self-worth being dependent on exterior factors.

Women are encouraged, throughout their lives, to put their self esteem into the hands of others. Deemed pretty? Nice, likable? Well dressed? House clean enough? Etc. etc.

For men it is usually dependent on financial resources. What do you do for a living? What kind of car do drive? The "fat wallet" syndrome, but men are less likely to desire being liked as a form of validation.

It's the difference between self-esteem as an absolute within, and self-esteem as a mirror, reflecting back at you what the world allegedly perceives, and then basing feelings of self-worth on that reflection. Hehe, sorry, I realize that's going a bit deep on an issue of a widget, but there's a reason I'm going into it:

That's why, ultimately, I think the Widget was a mistake. Prior to that it wasn't about currying favor, which we are encouraged to do from birth.

But that's also why I understand why people react that way to the widget "It means something about my worth" because...we're schooled to, particularly as women.

Similarly I've noticed that it is women who point it out as sort of trap-for-self worth. Particularly women, such as you, Jo, myself who are at a different stage in life. A bit older, past forty and up. Mainly because that's when we begin to understand what a bill of goods the "pretty, nice, many friends = the sum of your worth" message truly is.

We become more confident with worth being based in the interior version of ourselves (as it always truly is) and rely much less on exterior factors.

I'm going on like this simply because I have noticed several posts talking about this very issue. To understand something, it helps to understand the root cause.

It isn't about the widget itself, it's a symptom of a larger sociological factor, particularly in women. We are schooled, from a very young age, to seek approval as a way of establishing worth.

It just seems to be a symptom of a larger issue within most societies, and it is one of those knee-jerk responses. Since it is something introduced from a very young age, it's a very hard thing to combat. It is NOT the fault of parents, even parents who try to combat that can't put a gag order on the rest of society. It's a message that bombards us from the time we're able to process.

It is a fragile thing in which to place our self esteem, but it is part of the larger: And women are encouraged to place their self esteem in exactly those areas.

Just a long way of saying: Very true, but there are reasons people, particularly women, struggle so with that. We can tell ourselves, "My appearance doesn't truly matter, it is the least valuable part of myself in what I contribute to the world." but we're battling messages that bombard us everyday: Don't age. Be the "right" size. Never wear anything where comfort is the primary goal.

Land of shimp said...

And we do wear comfortable things, many of us do make peace with aging, and many understand that our worth? Is not in the circumference of our thighs. But it is a struggle because it is in conflict with the messages that surround us. Turn on the TV, and watch the commercials on anything during the afternoon. They are all about skin products, diet aids, and women proclaiming how satisfying a whipped yogurt with artificial sweeteners is.

So back to the deal with the widget: I get why people react that way, and they likely do too. On every conscious level we can know, "and it doesn't indicate anything about me" but there are reasons it's a big ol' struggle.

Annnnnd...that was a novel. So much so that I had to cut it into two parts. Sorry Nancy, I rather obviously find this a fascinating subject because it speaks to many larger issues.

linda said...

I completely agree with you, {as always i am thinking} ;)

many times i have considered removing the followers widget on my blog as i know--KNOW--that most of those people do NOT read my blog and therefore, of what use is it actually? then i realized that i often will choose it on other's blogs as a way to add blogs on my reader, it's convenient, although i may not then visit the actual blog, so knowing whether or not it has actual value is beyond me...and i am rambling along just thinking about it...perhaps i will take it off today after my bath, then forget and it will be there next sunday...

the point being, keeping a blog is about sharing and writing and making a connection once in awhile with special people of like persuasions-very precious in my book and the reason that i keep my blog now...if i had no one ever come by and say hello, i wonder now if i would keep it...maybe, maybe not...really, i must go get some tea!
xoxo ♥

JJ said...

Ok at first i did want to show people about shoes but till ma Lil brother wanted to do something with me I said let do something with fashion I always Love different kinds of styles and how they came with the clothes to match them with and i wanted to do the same thing. And I'm only 16 and i wanted to make people see my brother and I ideas to let us have a chance to start our own design that why my page has mostly shoes and instead of fashion style... My name is Joseph Smith Miss Nancy.

Boomka said...

I find it hilarious that after your write this incredibly insightful beautiful post about following, and quality, and writing... the first comment you get is from somebody just saying "Check out my blog." How about a hello, or how are you? But you are so right Nancy. This post is so timely too because as I think about how much I want to change my life and job and all that, I have been thinking about how to gain more follower and increase the presence of my blog etc. But I completely agree with you, if you don't know why you are doing it, what the heck is the point. For as much as I want, I am very grateful for the fact that somehow, someway, some wonderful person cares enough to leave a comment on my blog in a regular fashion. And that is something great in an of itself.

Rose said...

Great entry! I, too remember before there was a "Followers" list. Half my friends don't even know how to sign up on them. LOL

Yes, I believe it became a competition for some folks........that is not what blogging or journaling is all about in my opinion. This is not a contest.

Hugs, Rose

A Year on the Grill said...

what, you hit a nerve from all these comments.

And I do think it is comments much more than followers that I would prefer. Interaction is a point to a blog. I like to know something about who reads my stuff

Jayne Martin said...

What good advice. I have to admit to enjoying the appearance of new tiny heads in my sidebar, but I'd write no matter what the number was because... well... I'm a writer.

Allie said...

I wanted to have this widget but I have no followers (at least whenever I activated it, no one was on the list) so it looks pretty sad there on the page. It doesn't bother me - mostly I wanted it to see if anyone was interested enough in the blog to want to follow it.

I left something for you on http://littlelimerence.blogspot.com
Keep up the good work with your blog =)

ρομπερτ said...

A profound entry of yours indeed.

Mostly I make usage of that widget by clicking random photos and to my surprise, I found many interesting sites. A while ago, even yours, to which I am still grateful for.
For me, I placed it at the end of my site, as I like to think that my writing is based upon each of them.
Please have a wonderful start into the new week.

Reya Mellicker said...

You see? This is the very reason I never look at the site meter, and have never even been tempted to use the follower widget. I don't worry about how many comments I get because for me blogging is about being free of all the concerns that hem us in during our "real" lives.

I read as much as I can, write often, and let go of all the rest.

Great advice, Nancy! Thank you!!

harmony said...

I waiver back and forth with why I write. I censor it, sometimes, but know that I should have my voice visible. I recognize that I shouldn't be that concerned with how few followers I have that admit they follow my life. You should write/blog for yourself.
Thank you for this post. It definitely has crossed my mind in the last month. And yes, I agree, some people consider it a popularity contest, but writing is unique. I know that I follow specific blogs for running, for example, but do not love how they write. It is more informative and like listening to a monologue instead of a thought provoking post.
Thank you, again!

JJ said...

Thank you for the advice I really needed it Thank You Miss Nancy

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Okay, I confess that my chest puffed with pride when I saw that my list of followers was growing and if that number went down, instead of up, I would wonder what I had done wrong......
Now, I seldom look at it, I am too busy reading all the blogs that I follow. I have two blogs that I post and it is sometimes hard to keep up.
It is all about the comments now and hearing from all my friends in the land of Blog......

Nancy said...

I've kept journals since I was a child and to me blogging is just that. I dont have alot of followers and I get very few comments, once I got 6 comments and I thought, WOW, its a banner day here at my blog!!
But I dont care about that, because I feel like if I had too many followers then that means I have to READ that many blogs and I dont have time to read more than a few a week, because....I have a life, LOL
Of course I would still blog if no one followed me and in fact I have a couple of private journals that no one follows which are for my personal feelings alone.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I'm fickle. I like opening my blog and seeing the pretty photos everyone uses. Much more creative than me.

Now, the bloggers who left the message of "check out my blog" and their address on this particular post? I think we should have some fun with them. Anonymous garbage? Everybody?

Nancy, this post seems to have garnered heartfelt responses. What can one say to that other than you send a most welcome voice. Bravo!

Anne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne said...

Sorry...I left out a key word in my earlier comment. Here it is again, only making a bit more sense:

I have to say: I just discovered your blog from someone else's blogroll that had who they were following, so some of us do use it to connect and not just collect. I actually removed my follower widget after it started to feel like high school. I'm sure that wasn't the original intent, but like you've noticed, when people start soliciting for followers w/o providing any type of reader relationship, it rings a little hollow.

Oh, and I hope you like Natalie Goldberg's book. I read it about 25 years ago when I was a young writer and it really resonated.

Gaston Studio said...

I so agree with everything you've said, especially the last part.

camerabanger said...

I started blogging as an extension of my long-time journal. It is still, essentially, that. I never know who is reading as I don't get much in the way of comment so when I do I respond-personally. I think this is an advantage of limited readership. We can't all be Steinbeck or Dickens or??? I like having my family and friends on board but understand the sense of popularity that some people feel by having tons of followers.

Hilary said...

I have had my followers widget up for the last several months and only because I was getting an increasing number of requests for it so that folks could follow more easily. I admit that I don't click on others' "follow me" button but if I think I'd like to read a blog regularly, I just add it to my Google Reader. It's a convenience for some.. an annoyance to others. To me, it's just neutral.

Meeko Fabulous said...

I know I would still keep writing for sure if they 'Followers' widget were removed. I have so much to say! (or b@#$% about???) LoL! :)

susan said...

I do have a list of blogs I follow because it makes some people happy to see numbers and little pictures. I don't keep a list of followers on my blog - just my old fashioned blog roll that works just as well. It's not about numbers.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Over here from Rebecca's to read your "take" on the entire "follower" thing...

What a bother to me. I admit to it being a distraction to the entire concept of writing, but I leave it there as a help to others.

Truly, if blogger decided to remove it, I'd be OK with that. I just haven't been able to take it off myself. It does serve a purpose, but has absolutely nothing to do with why I write.

It does help to have a comment from time to time; kind of buoys the pen along.

Thanks for these thoughts...

peace~elaine

Spuds said...

Well said! I have removed all ad from my blog and I have decided that I write what I want, when I want. My readers know they better keep up, because after 40 years of "not saying much" I've got a lot of things that need to be said! I don't have near the following some other bloggers do, but I feel like my bloggers are my "sounding board" rather than my audience and I it's easy to check in with them. I get pressure to avoid the blog and concentrate on the book, but if that was all I did then I would truly attain hermit status. The book, the blog... I write them both because they provide me different voices. I'm certain even DaVinci doodled, just for fun, at the breakfast table.

Good Post! Thanks for looking me up!

camerabanger said...

"a sounding board, not an audience" Very well put.