I will be the first to admit that I LOVE "followers". I am the personality/behavioral type that likes to be liked. I enjoy feedback. That "stupid" corporate phrase that "feedback is a gift" – yep, I believe it. And I love dialogue. Heck, one of my 5 StrengthsFinder strengths is Communication which is defined as people who "find it easy to put their thoughts into words; good conversationalists and presenters". I wrote an entire post about being a comment whore. I've come across "no comment" blogs, but I'm not one of them.
However, I don't get the idea of collecting followers just to tally up a number. (Remember my whole post on tallying up Facebook friends?) I don't want you to like me just for the sake of increasing my numbers. I want you to truly like me – my thoughts, my posts, my stories, my pictures, my recommendations, etc. I want you to enjoy your 10 minutes on my blog every day. If you don't relate, it would seem kind of silly to me for you to "follow" me. I get it. I write stuff about being a mom…to three kids…who are 3 and under. And about recipes, crafting, etc. That stuff doesn't go well with a certain audience; not everyone can relate. And I'm not a dog/cat/pet person…so I'm not seeking about sites about those things. Common sense to me!
So I don't understand the few encounters I've had with those who are begging for followers. Here's what's happened to me a few times since I've started seriously blogging. Someone finds my blog through a link elsewhere or a comment I've posted somewhere (because I am trying to connect out there on the world wide web) and then they post a comment back on my blog. With the following wording: "Hey – found your link on xyz and I'm now following you. Please do the same and follow me back." No comment about my blog or blog post. And I never hear from them again. To me it totally translates to "Hey, I know nothing about you, but let's hook up once." YUCK. Gross.
Full disclosure? Yes, I do a happy dance with every comment I receive or when someone does "like" my Facebook fan page. Or if someone mentions to me in person how they laughed at something I wrote or loved the topic, etc. It means a lot to me. I think it means a lot to me because I put a lot of thought into the blogs and fan pages I personally follow. The day is short people! We have to choose our time wisely and which blogs to read is one of the harder choices to make. However, I'm not up at night worried about why people don't "like" me or how I can get to x number of followers/likes. I'm up worrying about everything I neglected while I was reading the blogs that are on my daily-read list.
Maybe I'm missing something? I know that at 25 Facebook "likes" on your fan page, you can customize the web address. So I get that goal…especially for businesses. But are there more incentives I’m missing? Sure, sponsors are going to definitely want to see who is following/liking you. So I understand that as well. But Google Analytics and other site tracking stuff should give you some solid numbers. I have Google Friend Connect Follower over there on the side, but not sure what all it can do for me…although from googling it, I can apparently send a Newsletter to ya'll on the list if I want to. And my Facebook and Feedburner buttons are all pretty now. I personally prefer to like other people's Facebook pages so that updates are in my Newsfeed, but I know people use Google Reader, etc. Basically, this is all still kind of unclear to me…can't you tell? So if any of you bloggers have input on this, blog about it and educate the rest of us!
There are definitely strategies I could follow to increase my readership. And when life slows down a bit (HA!) I might even follow a few. But again, the goal will be to connect with others that can relate to me and my world while learning new ideas and perspectives. To give myself virtual connections, resources and friends. I cherish the few I've made already and learn so much from them!
I do find it personally strange that I have no idea who is reading this consistently. I know someone is (other than my mom)…because I get a few comments posted and the site tracker numbers show it. And a few of you mention things in person that you've seen on here. So I could guess on a list of constant-readers, but who's really out there? Will you fess up and let me know…who are you? And where are you? And are there any topics you'd wish I'd write more about?
This is the point in my training programs at work in which I say, "Now, I've rambled on and on enough about this topic. Here's where I have asked a question and now it's your turn to answer. I promise to shut up and listen."