Weekly Update: Mixed Messages in the Blogging Community

This week has been rather quiet, where I have been trying to get a lot of work out of the way and enter a few competitions. However, in amongst this, I did a ‘clearout’ on Twitter and unfollowed accounts I’m no longer interested in.

I should stress that whilst numbers aren’t the main thing I focus on when it comes to blogging and Twitter, I do check my statistics often to see how well my blog posts are doing and to see how valued my tweets are.

However, what I did notice is that, after unfollowing a few accounts, is that they unfollowed back. This is no big deal, until I realised that some of these bloggers would say that you should follow someone based on interest, not for the numbers. So, if they unfollow back, what’s not to say that they were just following you because of that extra number? Is that why they unfollowed back?

I recently made another blog post about this, but I think the message surrounding numbers and statistics in the blogging community needs to be made clearer. Some new bloggers enter the community with the idea that it is all about ‘follow for a follow’, and this often fades after other, ‘older’ bloggers tell them that the community values quality over quantity and so forth.

But then, some people spreading this message don’t really abide by it. How many times have you seen a tweet recently where people complain about people rigorously following and unfollowing accounts just to get a follow back? These people then say how important it is to value a person’s tweets, blog content and interaction – as opposed to them being just a number.

The only problem is, what happens when the interaction stops? What do you do when I decide that we don’t interact as often during Twitter chats, comment on each other’s blogs as often, or even read the blogs themselves. In my case, there’s no point in seeing tweets in my timeline from someone I’ve drifted away from in the community (the alternative would be making a rather awkward re-introduction), so I unfollow.

Now, when the other person finally gets round to realising and they unfollow back, is it a matter of them seeing you as nothing more than a number, or them being reminded that the interaction is lost? We’ll never know the answer and so it’s hard for us to consider their actions hypercritical unless we do.

This was just another opportunity to explain some thoughts I’ve been having and I really do hope this makes sense, but I think we all need to explain how and why we follow people, as well as what we see within the numbers.

Listen to this week’s episode of Brunchtime:

How was your week? Comment below!



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.