Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Followers and comments

Today I received a bit of bad news: one of my favorite bloggers, Jo over at A Majority of Two, wrote this morning that she's going to take a break from blogging because she's afraid that her blog has become boring. She's not receiving many comments any more, and because she doesn't have a particular style (like blogging about knitting, photos, memes, etc.), she said, "I'm not sure I even have anything interesting to say. My observations on life are often not the same as everyone else's."

Well. This gives me a great opening for a problem about blogging that I've noticed for quite awhile. This wonderful blogosphere that I visit daily (unless something comes up to keep me away for a day, or even two) is so diverse and exciting that I can settle in to Google Reader and read the blogs I follow, taking an excursion or two, and the entire DAY is gone. If someone like Jo, who at present has 748 followers, doesn't hear from more than a few of us, she thinks we're not interested in what she has written.

I know all about it. I might dash off a post about something on my mind and wham! I come home from the gym and I've received a dozen comments. Conversely, I might write something I am particularly interested in, take time and care to research the information, and few readers comment -- or if they do it's a simple acknowledgment of having read it; no deep thoughts are shared. And I've got little to no idea what the difference is.

I have exactly 65 followers, unless someone has joined or bailed since I last looked, and frankly I feel it's about all I can handle. I visit all commenters when they say something meaningful and I want to know more about them. And some of the people I leave comments for never fail to write a short private email back to acknowledge me. (Many bloggers don't have contact information for various reasons, but some, like me, like to receive private emails.) I am jealous of my followers. I feel bad when someone leaves, but I don't try to find out who it was. Recently a couple of my blogging buddies cleaned up the blogs they followed and deleted some, only to receive nasty emails.

We are still trying to find our way here in the blogosphere. There are not hard-and-fast rules of the road because we are still in the early stages. But it's hard when I pour my heart out to what I have come to think of as my "audience," and nobody responds. Self-doubt begins to surface and then my imagination, my worry, takes over. It's not an easy thing to write personally, but in some ways it's more thrilling than getting ready to jump from an airplane. For some of us, anyway. :-)

I love blogging, but there is more to life than just playing around on the computer with my virtual friends. If I didn't have Smart Guy to talk with, in person, and my social contacts outside of the apartment, my life would be pretty dull. I could be that guy in the cartoon with Samantha, if I let myself. But I won't.


  1. Very good post. I went to the blog you mentioned and thought "what does she mean she isn't getting enough comments. How many does she think she should be getting?"

    Comments are definitely better than no comments.

    I don't generally subscribe to blogs that are mostly pictures. I also don't often sign up to follow blogs that do the special thing for each day of the week. Above all, I don't follow blogs that only quote what others have said. I can go read a book if that's all I'll be getting. I want to read something written by the person who owns the blog.

  2. Oh, dear...that poor blogger...guess she doesn't realize that blogging has its ebb and flow...and sometimes people are simply not around...they are out and about, as you so eloquently say!

    I think it is best to blog with an attitude similar to that which you have toward correspondence...knowing that sometimes you don't hear back from a friend immediately...

    Right now, things seem to be somewhat quiet in the blogosphere...everyone is busy in the springtime...It isn't like the winter time when people are cooped up in their homes...sigh...

    But perhaps, she is simply weary... tired... Everyone deserves to take a blogging vacation...Anyway, thanks for such a wonderful post, are such a fantastic, compassionate and understanding friend!!! And I think you have the right priorities and perfect perspective! Love you so much!!! Janine XO

  3. How does one become a "follower"??? I am on WordPress and don't have access to that sort of thing. Does one have to be a blogspot blogger to become a follower?

    Nevertheless, DJan, I do follow your blog every day, sometimes several times a day to read the comments. I enjoy it.

    While comments are nice to read, I don't judge my blog by them. Instead, I check my blog stats and note the number of hits my blog has received that day. That always makes me happy!

  4. HI Gigi, most of us are blogspot bloggers, but I follow you by getting an email when you have a new post. All you need to become a follower of a blogspot blogger is to get a Google account. My sister doesn't have a blog but she decided to follow me and that's what she did. She even leaves comments sometimes (are you there, NJ?) :-) :-)

  5. "Self-doubt begins to surface and then my imagination, my worry, takes over."

    How I know that feeling!

    Thanks for coming by and becoming a new friend. But mostly thank you for the lovely comment - I really appreciated it.

    I'll be back!

  6. I understand her issue but with over 700 followers, then surely she has comments made.
    Oftentimes, I try and visit people who leave me a comment, but I find it hard to respond to comments on the blog post as well, as visiting the blog of the comment writer.
    As with most, we do what time permits, I couldn't imagine the time it would take, in keeping up with all those followers, quite frankly it would be too consuming.
    Great post !

  7. I agree with you D-Jan. Too many is too many to cope with. Like you I feel sad when I have spent a lot of time composing a Blog post and then only get 2 or 3 comments and sometimes only one-liners at that, but I appreciate that people are busy and trying to keep up with all the interesting posts every day.
    I think the answer is to post for yourself and if other people like what you've written they will comment. Sometimes the posts don't need a comment but it is nice to know that so and so has read your Blog that day. That shows a continuity.
    I am very fond of my regular readers. Friendship grows doesn't it. I like getting to know you all, what you like, what you don't like, what makes you tick etc.
    I did ask people recently why they read my Blog. The reason was so I could write what people wanted to read but again, the answers were so diverse that I need not have really asked.
    I think it's just quiet at the moment - springtime as Sniffles and Smiles just said.
    Blessings, Star

  8. I blog without expectations and would not want an agenda to follow, I think of it as my online scrapbook. All that follow me don't comment everytime and most likely many don't really return. The ones that do are most appreciated, we should blog without obligation also, blogger even warned us not to take things personal. My experience has been very positive and rewarding, am so lucky to find very nice fellow bloggers, like you DJan and Janine above.

    BTW...The double posting of the photo was a goof on my part. :)

  9. I follow about 100 blogs. I read every time these bloggers post and most of the time I leave a comment. Plus, I try to respond to all comments I receive on my blog. Occasionaly, I might skip commenting all together on a blog, but usually I will say something, just to let the person know I've been ther. If I made long, thoughtful comments on all the blogs I read, I'd never be able to leave my computer. So sometimes, if I agree with what the writer says, I might just say "right on" or something equally succint out of necessity. I have 324 followers and I average 20 to 30 comments per post. I know most of the people who visit don't comment every time, and that's okay. I like to check my counter and get an idea of how many visits I've had that day. It's wonderful to get comments, but I know not everyone can comment every time! I've tried to keep the number of blogs I follow regularly around a hundred, because I couldn't handle any more than that and still read them regularly.

  10. You changes for me...when my life is really crazy busy, I don't have much time to read others blogs, much less commment...or I read each and every one, but don't comment at all, or I read each one and comment on each all depends on how stressed I feel. I never want it to be a burden to anyone reading my blog or in reading others' blogs...
    So to make my heart light, I imagine that a lot of people read my blog and just don't have the time to comment back. A while ago I dropped some blogs because I felt guilty for not having time to interact with them..then I realized that was silly....ha

  11. Yes, because I have one of those nasty things called a 'job', I sometimes don't have enough minutes to post and comment in a day, but when I do have time, I always try to catch up. It's not a perfect situation, but we all have such full and busy lives.
    I'd also like to add that I don't blog for other people as much as I blog for myself and the opportunity to create something?

  12. This is a great post, and I might add a timely one. Love it when I am able to read others opinions on certains me this is what blogging is all about.....:-) Hugs

  13. Hi Jan..

    Great always. I have been taking a little break from blogging as I have an exam coming up BUT I visit each and every blog I follow...yours included...on a daily basis. It is like reading the "Life" section of the newspaper..only no paper waste! I still love my blogging buddies and am inspired by the stories.

    Keep up the great work!

  14. Hi DJan, I went over to a Majority of Two..she seems to write about current events..I don't follow many blogs like that.

    I have of course a very down to earth, non fancy smancy blog..but you already know that. I tend to follow women writing about their everyday lives all over the USA and Canada.
    I read many blogs..and sometimes I do not leave a comment..can you believe that? If I have no opinion..and nothing to share..I don't leave a comment. If I read in the Reader I just read..especially if I get behind. Then I usually go back and leave a comment..that I got caught up!!
    I do like the interaction amongst the bloggers that I leave comments for and they leave comments for me..we are better than sisters because we choose to read, and care about each other and appreciate what each other has to say.
    I do appreciate your comments and friendship, I like what you write, I like your hikes and your photos the best..and your stories of long ago. Have a good evening! :) Connie

  15. It's interesting reading all of the comments about purposes and expectations of blogging. I have about 34 followers, and I have a hard time returning the visits of those who leave comments. I really wouldn't want to spend any more time than I already do. I almost never reply to a comment on my blog, unless it is an outright question that someone has and I have the time to do it. I didn't know it was expected.
    I blog as a means to share ideas and photos. I read blogs for the same reason. I'm not so fond of only meme blogging, and if photos are the emphasis, I want textual information along with the photo. And I like the personality of the blogger to come through.
    I love to receive comments, and I'm quite pleased to have six to eight on any one posting. It's nice to know that your efforts are appreciated, but I don't need hundreds of followers. I have occasionally checked some blogs with lots of followers and then I wonder why???
    I do like comments that reflect thinking, and I do try to leave comments that maybe take a different bent than most of the others, add something rather than just echo. That's not always easy, and it takes time.

  16. You post a lot from your heart. I definitely have a reluctance to reveal too much about what I think or what is on my heart whereas you and Rae have the courage to just plop it out there. I hide behind doing projects.

    When someone drops off, I think, "O drat," but don't give it too much thought. People are people, some like what you say, others don't, life interferes, etc. I worry sometimes that my blog is boring but then maybe I'm boring. lol Oh, well, that's me. Love me or leave me.

    I always look forward to your comments on my blog and deeply appreciate them. I love the freedom on the blogsphere and thoroughly getting to know people from their blogs.

  17. D-Jan,I like this post.It happens to bloggers from time to time,but we shouldn't let self doubt hamper our blogging.
    I've seen some great blogs,very popular too- with followers in the thousands,get a few or no comments.But they get readers,lots of readers and while it's nice to have followers & get comments,our posts should get us readers.

    I enjoy reading your blogs and you write so well,keep up the good work and have fun blogging.

  18. reason for not commenting is the same as Jo's reason for taking a break from her blog. I never can think of anything "interesting" or "clever" to I say nothing. I love reading blogs, but hope they do not get offended if I don't comment. Hopefully they realize that just being a follower means I am reading them (and enjoying, too).

  19. DJan, this is a perfect post. It's something we all think about and can relate to in one way or another.

    Of course, I like comments if my post makes someone laugh or touches them in some way. But I try not to pin my hopes on the comments. I've had as many as 70 and as few as 2. I try not to feel like a flop or a smashing success either way. That's why when I started Lila's blog, I told people to feel free to refrain from commenting. I hate to add to my readers' burden, especially with a second blog.

    That said, I am OFTEN surprised (because I rarely check my traffic or followers), when people tell me they check for posts every day yet have NEVER commented. This happens in my REAL LIFE. I have followers who never fail to read me and never leave a comment. They have said they don't think they're good writers or can't think of anything they deem worthy of saying. I would never want them not to show up but it would be great to know they were there once in awhile.

    Blogging is a strange new world and I could SOOOOO be like the guy in the cartoon. In fact, I think I may be. I HATE recalling my life in person. I SO want to say, "Visit the blog! and have been known to do so!" LOL!

    LOVE what you post about and your sweet faithfulness to comment on my posts. I feel INCREDIBLY supported by YOU!



  20. I completely understand. It's strange, when you start to blog with the idea of "This is just for me and for my family someday," but then you really get into it and crave the comments. I have had days where I have a post that I thought was hilarious, but get zero comments. It is strange how important it becomes to us, like a virtual pat on the back.

  21. I looked at Majority of Two and she had 36 comments, that is quite a lot, but I did not see a map or counter on her blog like on mine. I like to see the location of my visitors and also to read my Hits counter. Sometimes I’ll get 2 comments in a day but 150 hits.

    I try to read the blogs I follow but I follow too many I think (85 or so.) I started blogging as a means to write about my travels and past experiences, mostly for my grand children when they grow up. I was surprised that people would comment on my post but very pleased. I have many ideas for posts lined up for at least a year – just ideas. They are ideas of blogs I’ll enjoy writing about, and not geared to get more readers. I enjoy research so I take time to write my posts. I am pleased when blogging friends comment but if some of them do not I quite understand because I don’t comment on every post I read. Some bloggers have daily posts; I cannot comment that often – time constraint and also am not sure what to say. Your blog is one of the first I read, so I look at yours very often – but don’t comment each time though. I like to find new blogs in the world blogosphere and will write a couple of comments if I find an interesting one, but if they don’t reply, unless their blog is exceptional, I move on to another new one. For example I read political blogs and spiritual blogs and never comment on them.
    Because of their blogs and comments I think of some of the bloggers as my friends and enjoy their visits to my blog, just like I would a friend, but I don’t expect their visit each time and am not worried if they don’t come for a while.

  22. Because of my comment above I went to look at my counter – I can access their page and see what type of hits I got. I saw that I had received many hits on my last year’s post on Shoulderbone Plantation. I went on that plantation website and – surprise – saw that now they advertise for special events, like weddings, and at least 2 or my photographs were on their site. No one asked me authorization. I called and left a message on their line. I am not sure what to do, but I am not happy about it.

  23. I love blogging. It's such a great way for me to share my art and photography. But I've never received many comments. And I haven't been getting many new followers lately. It's been kind of a stagnet time. My system is I check out the blogs that have left comments on my last post. Otherwise, reading them all would be overwhelming. What has bothered me the most is that many of my friends and family have never even looked at my blog, even though I've sent them links. Bummer. Blog on DJan!

  24. I never get many comments, but I blog because I like to blog. I do reply to comments with e-mails. The others - I usually visit anyway because they're my followers. I know some people reply to comments in the original post. I would think most people don't come back to check.

    It's obvious to me that some people become followers just so you'll follow them. (Follower collectors) They never comment. So people shouldn't expect them to...
    I will admit, I've not commented much lately. I try to squeeze in reading a few a day. Until I get Brady on a more regular schedule (vs these 3 minute power naps) I'll probably fall farther behind. But know that I've been here as often as I can.

  25. An interesting post DJan and also a lot of interesting comments. This time of the year gets so busy with yard work, little repairs to the house and this and that. I have to admit that I have been thinking about taking a little time off. Not because of lack of comments on my blogs but because I feel I am doing a disservice to my readers by not visiting them as often as I would like.

    It was also interesting to see some of the folks comments about the types of blogs they follow or enjoy reading. While I like a very eclectic mix some folks don't care for the type of blog I have. No problems there because it is the variety that keeps blogger so interesting.

    Back to the comments. I follow a lot of blogs (we won't go into numbers, lol). Lily talks about follower collectors but many of us will read blogs and not comment unless we have something to add to the conversation. I might get 30 comments on a post but my visitor counter might show well over a hundred visits. At least once a week I will sit down and read a hundred or more blogs without commenting. I love the diversity I have found in the blog universe. Fortunately I am a fast reader.

  26. I think we all struggle at times with what to write or wonder if we are incredibly boring because few people have commented. It's worse when we've taken the time to write from the heart and no one has much to say. It's as if it's a statement about our worth. You need not worry; as others have said, this is the time of year when people are increasingly busy. Besides, you never know what is going on in another persons world. They may have time to pop in and read but not enough time to leave comments...I sometimes don't comment on blogs when several people have already expressed the same sentiment I'd planned on expressing. Perhaps I'll start commenting anyway, just to say 'ditto.'

  27. I just wrote a comment and it vanished!!! So I will just say Love your blog and agree with most all!!
    I am always behind!!!!

  28. I'm playing catch up today and this post of yours really grabbed my attention. I was just thinking this morning about how I need to not feel stressed or pressured by myself when I don't have time to read or comment on all the blogs I enjoy. It can take up a whole day and I have too much to do. I have not been commenting as much lately only because I just don't have the time. When I eat my lunch I try to catch up on reading some of my favorites. I really appreciate this post because it speaks to how most of us feel, I'm sure. I would love to write on my blog each and every day, have thousands of followers, read all of the blogs I follow and browse new ones, leave comments on each and every one, take more pictures and make them beautiful through Picnik so I have pretty pictures to look at on my site, etc., etc. This would be more than a full time job, and I'm not making any money doing it! I know some do. How do they do it? I've read some of the really popular ones that bring in a lot of advertising dollars and some bloggers that have even quit their day job because they are making so much money from their blog. And honestly, their blogs are no better than yours or mine, DJ. WTH? So I need to chill and just do what I can and when I feel like it. I could go on, but I have too many other things to do! Thanks for this outlet to get this off my chest. I guess I could have put this all as a post to my blog.

  29. I'm slowly catching up with my blog backlog after my Mallorca weekend... and this post of yours just spoke to me!

    "Conversely, I might write something I am particularly interested in, take time and care to research the information, and few readers comment -- or if they do it's a simple acknowledgment of having read it; no deep thoughts are shared."


    I find it frustrating to spend hours putting together a post (selecting and editing photos, video, looking up the links) and then getting next to no comments... and then other "less interesting" (in my opinion) posts get more of a conversation going!

    I used to go answer people's comments on their own blogs, but now I answer back on mine hoping to get some kind of conversation going for the next reader who comes along. But I always go back and thank new readers! Plus I follow all my regular commenters so I'm usually chatting away with them on their posts! If there's a comment I've left that I'm interested in the replies, then I'll ask blogger to send me an e-mail with new comments for that post (but not everyone has the "comment alert" option activated, sigh!)

    As for the "blog housecleaning", every so often I look through the list of blogs I follow, and if they haven't written anything of interest to me in a while then I'll stop follwing them. Some of these blogs I just started following 'cause a post caught my attention, but the rest of their writing turned out to be "bleh". And I follow so many blogs already... I feel guilty when I can't think of something to say in a comment after a thought-provoking post!

    (not the case today obviously!)

    now I gotta go catch up on your other posts! ;o)


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