Numerical Values: Statistics in Blogging | The Friday Article

It’s a new year, and with that comes bloggers reflecting on the past year and coming up with blogging resolutions for 2016. No doubt, there will be bloggers who want more page views, followers on Instagram, Bloglovin or Twitter (myself included, don’t get me wrong). But, when it comes to numbers and statistics, where does the blogging community stand in terms of its group think or values?

Over the past few days, I’ve seen numerous tweets on Twitter complaining about the whole ‘follow for a follow’ business. It’s this I wanted to address because, at this point, the values in the blogging community begin to blur.

In terms of my stance on the whole affair, I always believed that the blogosphere values interaction over numbers (‘quality, not quantity‘ as a few bloggers have said). After all, it is those few readers who actually like, comment and share who are more important than the majority – who are more likely going to be spam accounts or someone’s proud grandparents. So, quality over quantity is a key value in the community, but surely supporting others is something the community values as well?

Now we descend into the concept of following on Twitter, and the controversy. For a long time now, I used to – and still do a bit now – follow accounts in the hope that they would follow me back. But even so, it would be because I wanted approval from a ‘more successful’ blogger (yes, I still consider a person’s follow count on Twitter to be a measure of success), the interaction or simply because I liked the blog. I think the issue in today’s community (certainly on Twitter) is that different bloggers adopt different values – be it supporting others through ‘follow for a follow’, or only following because there is an interaction or connection of sorts.

I think the problem also lies in a blogging dichotomy between new bloggers and those who have been blogging for a long time. Obviously I have seen both sides of this binary opposition. I was that new blogger who saw numbers as the sole cause of success and wanted everyone to follow me back on Twitter, Bloglovin and Instagram. Now that I’ve been blogging for just over three years, I see things from the other side of the equation; I see people who run beauty and fashion blogs follow my account, interact, and I know that there’s this idea that they want me to follow back.

This is where the conflicting issues lie. I am a male lifestyle blogger and I take a minimal interest in beauty or fashion, therefore naturally, I don’t read or follow these types of blogs. However, at the same tame, I can’t help but feel guilty for not supporting these bloggers – no matter how much their content may not be my cup of tea.

So to conclude, I think a few things in the blogging community need to change or be understood. Already I think the numerous Twitter chats are a great way of reminding new bloggers that ‘follow for a follow’ or any tactical following isn’t accepted in the community. Although, we need to be clear about what message the blogosphere is communicating.

First of all, I should stress that not all new bloggers are focussed on the numbers – of course not – but those new to the community should be quick to learn its values. Meanwhile, in terms of current bloggers like me, we need to find the middle-ground between support (most likely a ‘follow’ in Twitter’s terms) and interaction (only following those who we have a genuine friendship or relationship with).

In terms of numerical values, we need to see that numbers are people. It’s how we interpret these numbers that matters, not how we view them generally.

It’s certainly a controversial topic likely to prompt discussion, so I would love to hear your thoughts. Why do you follow an account? What do you see in the numbers? Comment below.

Liam

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20 thoughts on “Numerical Values: Statistics in Blogging | The Friday Article

  1. It’s definitely quality over quantity for me which is good because I only have a small number of people following me.
    I like to follow bloggers who share my interests and hope that they too might follow me but I don’t lose sleep over it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting thoughts – thank you! I think that’s the problem with some bloggers, though. They shouldn’t expect a follow back (the other account has every right to follow or not), but if they do, it’s great support for the blogger in question!

      Thanks for commenting!

      Like

  2. Haha I expect you to read one of my beauty posts asap (just kidding lol). I think the issues with numbers is that they are an obvious way to measure your success – but not exclusively a great one by any means. There’s also the element of brands etc… who often won’t work with blogs without them having x number of followers. But personally after nearly two years of blogging, I definitely value interaction more and I think when you only focus on the numbers it can be quite demotivating in the end.

    vvnightingale.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, I’m afraid I don’t like beauty – you know that! Haha!

      Absolutely, I think a lot of people within the writing industry (be it blogging, journalism, PR etc.) have to value numbers because it determines how successful things will be. As you said, PRs rely on this information to determine the success of a sponsorship.

      However, interaction is a far better way of determining success. Yes, the amount of conversation is likely to be lower than the stats, but surely – using the PR example again – they would like a fellow blogger who shares your post on all their social media, tells their friends etc. as opposed to just people who have ‘read’ it?

      Thanks for commenting!

      Like

  3. Very interesting to read your views. I’m definitely in the quality over quantity camp. I do get excited over new followers because I always hope that this means someone new is appreciating my blog, however I realistically know that a % are looking for follow for follow, which I don’t do. I do, however, take time at some stage to check out new followers Twitter/blog pages and follow back if it interests me. I know what you mean about guilt for not following some people back, although that often changes if they interact with me and I enjoy talking to them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed this post.

      I feel the same way, too. Whenever I get a new follow, I definitely check out the account. Sometimes, it’s someone from a writing background and it feels great to have their support. Although – as you said – whether there’s any interaction there or whether they just want a ‘follow for a follow’ we don’t know.

      I agree and do the same thing. For me, it’s either that we interact often, they tweet interesting content, or that I like their blog.

      It’s just a shame that the community gives off a mixed message – it wants selective following based on interaction and support, but at the same time, it criticises those who adopt follow for a follow or want said support. It’s something the blogging community needs to address.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Like

  4. Interesting discussion Liam. I’m very new to book blogging, and I’m guilty of trying f2f before…though I madesure to follow blogs that posts the ones I will actually be intereste in reading, e.g. YA or fantasy book blogs. Initially, I followed tons of blogs and made a point of trying to interact with them, trimming my list later on to those that were active or makes an effort to talk to me as well. I guess when you are new, it’s difficult NOT to be aware of your numbers and not crave an audience. And even with a follow for follow, you sometimes find some really blogs to get acquianted with.

    I think f2f is almost the same with gathering new followers via giveaways. I’ve seen bloggers lamenting over losing some of their followers after the giveaway ends, but I guess they were lured by the prize rather than actually interacting with the blogger, so that can’t be helped and that’s always the risk.

    I am grateful for the reminder though, that follow for a follow in general is frowned upon. I think it’s important that we try to engage and interact with the audience if we want them to stay- or follow us back. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I’m glad you found this post interesting.

      Interesting, and I was the same. Whether it was the guilt forcing me to follow back, or it was ‘follow for a follow’, I don’t know. I recently had a clear out of the people I follow on Twitter (down to those who interacted or interested me – like you said), and it definitely helps.

      Interesting point! I think that’s become the new workaround for the ‘follow for follow’ idea. However, with regards to whether it is condemned by the community as much as F4F, I doubt it.

      Very true. However, whilst it’s difficult as a new blogger to not focus on the numbers, the community needs to be more welcoming to those who make this misconception. At the moment, there is a mixed message: the blogosphere values interaction and support, but then criticises certain methods of following (which is essentially the main way of supporting these bloggers).

      The community needs to make clear where the line is drawn between positive support and interaction, and having the wrong values when blogging.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I agree that we need to be more welcoming of new bloggers and not shun them because they used a method we don’t approve of. This gave me quite a few things to think about!

        Like

      • Thank you! I think it should definitely be that ‘established’ bloggers – for want of a better word – should remind new bloggers in a friendly way what the community values are.

        Like

  5. I couldn’t agree more with this post! I think the concept of numbers being a bloggers main focus has come from other’s success! I too would love to have all the followers and the success that another has and sadly do keep an eye on the numbers because of that! It’s a constant battle to remind myself that the numbers don’t entirely matter but I can’t help but feel excited when I reach a new milestone!
    I find interaction very difficult in the blogging world, I feel like I’m on twitter almost 24/7 yet I do struggle to stay connected with other bloggers via social media…maybe i’m doing something wrong?

    I’m very much focused on my numbers and my interactions at this point but I’m also trying to improve my blog and gain loyal followers because they LOVE my blog, not because they want a follow back.
    …I realised I’ve rambled a little bit, basically I really loved this post and the honesty from it 🙂

    Sarah xo See The Stars

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I’m so glad you liked this post. You’re not rambling and it’s so interesting to hear your thoughts!

      Exactly, numbers shouldn’t matter as they only lead to bloggers comparing themselves against one another!

      Not at all! I think interaction can happen through blog comments, too. Although, again, the issue there is that the community – I feel – has been talking a lot about the lack of comments, but still encourages interaction. There’s so many mixed messages and I wanted to address that in this post.

      Interesting! I suppose that is true. A follower who wants to be followed back most likely cares about the numbers more than interaction, so they probably wouldn’t make the best reader of your blog!

      Thanks so much again for commenting!

      Like

    • Oh absolutely! I think it’s seeing the right value in your blog and numbers too – bloggers should value their numbers, but not let it consume them. But you’re right, everyone has their own way of doing things in this community.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Like

  6. Great post – university is certainly finding you well. Your writing has indeed developed its own awesome style.

    I’m on the quality camp too – I blog just because I like what I do in my life and I hope that people will feel passionate about it also. That seems to bring PR my way, why? I think it’s because I’m quite niche. My stats are certainly not huge. I get more follows than comments or shares but a niche was my choosing because I didn’t want to be an over night internet sensation. I think those that blog for the numbers are usually looking to make a career out of it (and that’s OK) but it has its down sides. A) Blogging for blogging sake – dull content and B) unfocused blog which accepts every free gift off PR and doesn’t have any standards for its readers. A bit like the way these mass supermarkets don’t – no criticism because there’s a place for everything.

    As I source bloggers for brands, numbers can sometimes be super important to the client until they see interaction rules over numbers 9/10. I hope to change the face of blogger outreach one by one (it’s going to take a long time but it’s a nice thought!)

    😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Chelsea! That is such a lovely compliment.

      Interesting! I think it’s about the value you place on the numbers. Like you said, if you’re blogging to get a job out of it (and so care a lot about numbers) that’s fine but it shouldn’t consume you. I quite like the freedom that comes when you value content first.

      I hope you are well, Chelsea! Thanks for such a wonderful and interesting comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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