Follow Me, Up and Down, All the Way, All Around

4th of July was the perfect day, complete with an outdoor pancake breakfast, a parade, margarita snowcones and lots of enjoying life.

We even got a mini-parade in preview, as the parade horses came by our house on the way.

(No, I don’t know why I didn’t get a better picture than this.)

Here’s the beginning of the parade itself, which consisted of ten different emergency vehicles, all very shiny. Sometimes I think our rural area parades serve that purpose, to show off our protective equipment. Not unlike having the army march past, I suppose. All those shiny trucks allow us to have homeowner’s insurance and therefore mortgages and therefore homes to live in out here.

All hail the mighty firetruck! Honk! Honk!

My cousin emailed me yesterday with an interesting question about my blog.

(Hi Janie! I will write you back, as well.)

She said:

Can you teach me something please. Why would one sign into a blog? Why do you have members? I read your blog but you would not know it, though I love it. Am I supposed to sign in?

I thought it was worth answering here, because lots of people ask this question, actually. First off, if you don’t know what she means, if you look on the right hand side, there’s a list of my “Followers.” In truth, those fine people follow the blog, not me. Though the idea of a little tribe of followers is appealing. Like that movie (no, I don’t remember which one) where the guy hired the band to follow him around and play his theme music.

The first answer is, no, you don’t have to sign in. You don’t have to “follow.” Some bloggers get het up to get people to sign up as followers. They run contests – “all you have to do is follow this blog and comment on this post” – or send messages out on twitter, etc., saying “follow my blog!”

I don’t do this.

I love to see new followers, but I find trolling for them kind of distasteful. I believe you all should be free to come and go as you wish. I’m putting this out there. You owe me nothing.

The reason people want followers is to demonstrate a “platform.” Theoretically at some point you could show an agent or editor that you have umpty-billion followers and they’d extrapolate that all those people will buy your book. Never mind that you bribed them all to sign up in the first place.

There are two main reasons one would sign on to follow a blog: to show support and for ease of reading.

I follow blogs I like to let the person know that they have my support. Among bloggers, this is common courtesy and people will usually reciprocate follows, though it’s far from required.

The other big reason for me is ease of reading. Because I have a Blogger account, I have what they call a dashboard. It pops up and shows me who has posted recently on the blogs I follow. This is a wonderful feature for me. Any of you can set up a blogspot account (www.blogger.com) and use the dashboard. You wouldn’t have to create a blog to do it. There are other programs that do this, too, (Google Chrome, maybe?), but I’m not familiar with them. This saves you clicking through all the blogs you like to see if someone has posted recently.

And I do kind of know that you lurkers are out there. I have a counter that follows metrics of visitors to the blog. I can see which days see a lot of visits. It’s easy to get obsessed with the metrics, though, so I don’t look often.

A lot of you comment to me – on Facebook, Twitter, blog comments, via email or in person. All of those conversations mean a great deal to me.

Once I figure out my theme music, I’ll hold auditions.

9 Replies to “Follow Me, Up and Down, All the Way, All Around”

  1. I really did misunderstand the point of the followers, I really thought I was building my Army for world domination. Don't tell @writingagain because he thinks he has the whole world domination thing in the bag.

    As for theme music, what about the music from Jaws. Two keys so the band will be small and you can bet your butt people will know who you are. Be careful though, their may be copy write issues if you do use it.

  2. Great post! I couldn't agree more. Although, I am one of those people who needs to build a platform to "prove" to agents and publishers that my future book will sell. But I refuse to troll for followers. I do my best to provide interesting/helpful content and enjoy the connections/dialogue with others that comes from it. And to me, that is what it is all about.

  3. Ha, Kelly! Simon (@writingagain) has lots of blog followers, so he's much more likely for world domination than I am.

    Seriously considering Jaws theme for RWA National – though I'm pretty sure a couple of agents are already using it!

    And good point, Elizabeth. I think your reasoning is good, since you want to do a nonfiction book along the same lines as your blog posts on mothering. I'm with you -interesting, helpful content is what "sells" you, not contests.

  4. Mmmm…margarita snowcones. I think I need one of those…

    I "follow" blogs so I can read 'em in google reader, all organized-like. I follow a *ton* of blogs, keeping my finger on the pulse of the writing community, so it's really the only way I can keep up with things. Since I moved from a blogger blog this year, I don't have that little followers widget anymore…but people still subscribe with the RSS feed.

    And now you have a new "follower". 🙂

  5. *pencils Kelly's name under "SKEPTICS" in Little Black Book o' Pending Vengeance*

    *looks around for other names to pencil in*

    *scowls*

    *sips vodka*

    *feels marginally better*

    *skulks away*

    🙂

  6. Ah, thanks Jamie D, and welcome to the back-up band! Google Reader is what I was thinking of. I've never tried it, but I hear people like it.

    And look – some anonymous someone posted a link on how to get thousands of followers. Clearly they missed my point. I was forced to wield my massive administrative powers and delete it.

    Relieved *I* am not on that list, Simon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.