Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Following and Followers

That last post where the font got screwed up is driving me crazy whenever I look at it-- there's my lovely giraffe, (how I love my giraffe), then scroll down, and I see the stupid post with its funky font that I couldn't fix. So I'm writing another post to get past it! Good time to ask this blogging courtesy question I've been wondering about. Here it is:

How do you feel about following followers? Like if someone adds themselves as a follower, is it expected, to be polite, to return the favor and add yourself to theirs? I will often do this, not so much to be courteous, but because I'll go check out their site and really like it, and want to follow it. It's a good way to discover new blogs without having to work too hard at it. And I'm always on the lookout for new blogs to follow.

But then sometimes I don't pay attention, especially if the follower never leaves comments, and I don't go check out their blog or follow them. Is this rude?

Just wondering. Sometimes it's hard to know what common blogging etiquette is! And while we're on the topic, I must refer to the incredible Nicola Morgan, who posted about blogging etiquette last fall. That insightful post is here. But she doesn't mention follower etiquette. I already checked.


  1. Good questions. I'm like you. I usually check out other blogs when they become followers of mine, especially if they leave a comment. And I've had it work the other way as well. I'll have to check out your friend's blog on etiquette. Thanks for posting about this.

  2. I will always follow a follower. And often when awards are handed out, I will go and check out new blogs. However, if the writing on the blogs I'm following ends up becoming annoying, I will drop them.


  3. I personally don't consider it rude if someone doesn't "follow me back" after I follow them. If I decide to follow a blog, I'm doing it because I like what they have to say, not because I'm hoping to get another follower myself.

    That said, I tend to follow a lot of the people that follow me, but that's because most of those following me are writers and I'm interested in writing blogs :)

    If someone has a blog with content I'm not especially interested in, I probably won't follow... I'm not trying to be rude, but I feel bad being a silent face following a blog for the number. If I'm a follower, I want that to mean that I actually read the blog and try to comment sometimes.

  4. Erm...

    Follower etiquette.. oooh! I don't know - I follow all the blogs I've put down to follow voraciously! Some more than others! LOL!

    And if I get a new follower, I always check their blog out. I sort of wait to read a few more of their posts before I decide to follow but that's only cos I tend to whiz round places without stopping too long!

    I've not come across anyone who follows me that I don't want to follow in return. Well not yet anyway! LOL!

    I think most like minded bloggers tend to follow like minded ones, I think.


    I liked your funky font yesterday! But I too am quite partial to your giraffe!

    Take care

  5. Well if I come across a blog that is interesting I will usually follow it - otherwise I'll probably never be able to find it again! And if someone follows me I will cwetainly check out their bog and most of the time end up following them back. And when I follow someone I always leave a comment - I think it's only couteous to say Hi.

    However I don't put all the blogs I follow on my blogroll, only the ones that are particularly interesting or comment regularly on mine.

    Is that correct etiquette? I've no idea :-)

  6. I think it's good manners to check out a new follower and read their blog too if they have one - but I think you should only stick with blogs that interest or entertain you. Life's too short to do anything else ...

  7. As our follower list grows, we do the best we can. I follow the blogs that interest me. For all other followers, I try to check once a week to leave a comment. I also think it's good not to follow each one. If someone checks my Google profile, I want my list to be manageable, so they can check them out. That said, my list seems to be growing anyway!

    You and I are writers. We have to leave some time to write something other than posts and comments.

  8. I'm just like you! In the beginning, when I only had 12 followers, I noticed every new person and quickly began to follow them. Now I really only notice the new people if they comment. Then I go over and check out their blog. Of course if I like it, I follow it!

  9. I don't know what the etiquette is. I look at the blogs and if I am interested then I follow. It is hard to keep up with it. I am more likely to check it out if the follower comments.

  10. At the very least, whenever I have a new Commenter or a new Follower, I'll visit their blogs and leave a Comment in return. It's a simple courtesy, and I guess we can never go wrong with that :)

  11. Thanks everyone for all the input, and now I'm off to check out all your blogs, if I haven't already, and to add myself as a follower, if I haven't already. Oh, and if any of you are not yet followers here, please someone add yourself and take away that awful number up there, because I grew up in the Sixties and that number was considered a very bad word lol!!

  12. Karen, I try to visit and comment on the blogs of all the people who follow mine: but I only follow the ones which are written by my friends, or which are industry-related and so pertinent to my work.

    Lots of people do expect a reciprocal follow but that seems a bit much to me especially as I've got over 500 followers now (I am ahead of Nicola Morgan by a whisker, but she's going to overtake me soon), and just can't keep up with that many blogs every day, much as I'd like to.

  13. Thanks for asking this tough question. I've been wondering the same thing. I follow many blogs that have lots of readers (over 1000), and they don't follow me back -- I don't expect them to. But many of the smaller blogs I follow do follow me back (and vice versa). The interesting thing about this is -- the number of followers is less interesting than the number of people who read.

  14. I'm not sure this following business plays very nicely with WordPress, but you are in my Google Reader if that adds any stats to anything! :)

    As for etiquette, I always go and have a look at new commenters' blogs, then pop them into Google Reader too if the blog looks interesting (and most of them are!)... but I've only been blogging for a month or two, so might still be getting it completely wrong!

  15. Jane, thanks for the visit and comment. Really when someone gets as many followers as you and Nicola, I doubt if it's expected that you return the favor. Because yes, following 500+ blogs just because they're following you wouldn't make sense!!

  16. Colette, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with random blogging etiquette questions! I actually don't have a method of tracking readers yet.

    Hamshireflyer, you wordpress people have your own methods I know. When I follow a word press blog, I end up just putting it on my side bar, that's the only way I know how to do it. Some of them have face book following icons but since I'm not on face book, I can't get myself there without following facebook as well.

  17. Karen, I got those followers one person at a time, just the same as you have. I've just been blogging for a bit longer than you have, thath's all.

    If you want to follow non-blogger people (or anyone who doesn't have the follower widget displayed on their front page) then all you have to do is go to your Blogger dashboard and scroll down to the bottom, where all the blogs you follow are listed. There's an "add" button there: click on it, and then you can just paste in the URL of the blog you want to follow. Easy! It also allows you to follow blogs anonymously if you want to, which can be useful if you want to work out whether you like a blog or not before you go public with your preferences.

  18. Pah. What's "thath's" when it's at home? Sorry.

  19. Jane, Oh, thanks, thath's (lol) really helpful! I'll do that for those wordpress bloggers who are nice enough to follow me and whose blogs I always check.

  20. I am still fairly new to the blog world. I get terribly excited when I get a new follower and go to their blog straight away to check it out. But I am following blogs that are not following me. Maybe they came over and what they saw was not their cup of tea. If there is blog following etiquette I really haven't a clue!

  21. Well, I've been kicking around the interweb for a while, and even I don't know all the rules of blogiquette. I, personally, don't consider it rude not to return follow. I certainly don't expect everyone I follow to follow me. Some of those people already 300+. Heavens to Betsy, I don't want to add to that kind of load. I'd prefer they decide if I'm worth following.

  22. Ann, I think your blog is lovely. but I know what you mean. I wonder about that too sometimes--with mine, not yours lol.

    Dominique, good attitude!

  23. Ooops - bit late but here I am! Thank you for your lovely comment about my blog and for linking to the post I did. No, I didn't answer that question, did I?? I didn't think of it, to be honest. But, what do I think? Well, in theory I do think it's a courtesy if I like what they are doing, but if it is a courtesy I'm afraid I fail dismally, which is a shame because I like to think of myself as courteous! On the other hand, as Dominique says, I don't think it's rude not to "follow". And, as Jane Smith says, there are too many to follow as many as I'd like.

    Also, to be honest, I'm not sure what "following" means - in my case, it doesn't mean that the person's blog posts appear automatically somewhere for me. So, the ones I read regularly are just the ones on my blogroll, which have to be strictly relevant to my own blog, even if I love some others. Other than that it's a bit random. But I'm now going to follow you because I've just noticed that I don't already - shows you how random it is?? SORRY for my rudeness!!

  24. PS - as with Jane, yes, my followers just came one by one and I didn't do anything to acquire them. Frankly, it's a mystery (but a lovely one.) Obviously, if I really tried, I'd beat that Smith woman hands down - she such a hustler.

  25. PPS Silly me - I AM already following you. How very polite of me!

  26. Nicola, you're on blogspot, which means if you go to the dashboard on your blog, the ones you follow will come up whenever they write a new post. And if you want to spend half a day, you can read all the posts and make comments, or spend the whole day and then go back and see if they answered your comment and read more of that, plus all the other comments. Really, you're better off not knowing all this. You're better off continuing to write those wonderful posts of yours, and working on helping writers get published, and writing your own books, and adding followers at the rate of what? 5 a day?

  27. I know - but I hardly ever go onto the dashboard: it's an extra thing to remember to do!

    I think I will follow your very flattering advice and stick to the writing, and some random following/reading/commenting.

    Bye (for now!)

  28. Well, funnily enough, you followed me today. In that situation I always pop over, see what I think after spending a while reading at least 5 posts (usually), and then decide if I want to return.

    If I do, then I follow.

    I'm now going to click 'follow' as I think your blog is great!

    I only follow those who I genuinely want to keep up with, be it daily or fortnightly. I certainly won't follow those who follow me out of etiquette... Oh, I'm mean!