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.