On Likes and Follows

I am unclear on something blogwise. As you might know, I’ve had this blog for a bit over a year now, yet in all that time I’ve had but one (very recent) non-family comment. I’m not sure why. Is it because the basis for the blog, the middle Miocene, is too technical? Is it boring? I hope not.

Thus I’ve branched out into another of my favorite subjects, hiking. And actually, hiking is central to my novel, Opalescence, in that Tom, one of the main characters, must hike the length of the California of 15,000,000 years ago to reunite with his paleontologist wife, Julie, and about all of the adventures he, and his Aelurodon dog companion, experience along the way.

Anyway, my hiking posts seem to be the most popular, with my last, To Hike or Not to Hike garnering the most likes and followers so far. Naturally, I’m thrilled. We humans are social animals and want to make friends and/or just be part of a larger community.

Sometimes, though, I’ve learned, all is not what it seems (I mean egads!!!). Which brings me to a dilemma. How to respond to “likes” and “follows”?

At first I would go to the other’s site and “like” or “follow” them back. I figured that was the courteous thing to do. But then I noticed that many people appear to simply be hoarding numbers, and I get the feeling that they may be liking other posts just to have those blog owners come back and like or follow them in return. They often leave no comment but simply click the like or follow button, while the blog owner that was liked or followed goes back and does the same, yet also leaving an appreciative comment on their site. I thought about how easy it would be to just click dozens of blogs and “like” or “follow” them knowing that many will go to theirs and do the same.

This is not to say that I think that most of those who have liked or followed me fit into this category. I don’t. I sincerely appreciate all of these. But some, I suspect, do. Do I want to do that too? Be part of that sort-of pyramid scheme? No, not really. So I think that what I’m going to do is, if someone likes, be happy but do nothing, follows, I’ll check out their site and if I like it, follow back. If someone leaves a comment I’ll reply as appropriate. I hope that this doesn’t seem off-putting to people, but I want it to be real. Thanks for understanding.

~~~

Later update: my daughter has been, unknown to me at first, running a survey just to test what would happen if she blindly followed and liked people at random. She did this via a dummy site she set up with no information at all about her (or anything else) beyond a username. She also has a real blog where she’s kept track of her likes and follows. Interestingly, her dummy site has garnered more than twice as many followers as her real one. Hmm…

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11 thoughts on “On Likes and Follows

  1. You raise some interesting points.
    Personally I like so much that I see, and very often when someone ‘likes’ or ‘follows’ me I check out their blog, because usually there’s a common thread. I never ‘like’ something simply in return, only things I really like, and with follows it’s the same.
    I do sometimes feel mean if I don’t find something interesting but that doesn’t reflect on whether it’s ‘good’ or not, it’s just that it isn’t ‘my thing’ and I feel I need to be honest.
    Follows to me are a great way of seeing new stuff from someone whose work I ‘liked’ and found I wanted to see more of.
    On longer pieces, I personally have a short attention span so if it doesn’t hook me straight away I don’t always follow to the end, but that’s more about me.
    Hope all that makes sense.

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    • Absolutely dodgysurfer. I’m going on my evolving impressions. When I go to a site and almost every comment is people thanking the person for liking or following them with a short, if any, reply back saying “You’re welcome”, I guess that just doesn’t strike me as if they were really interested in the other blog in the first place, but were, perhaps, numbers mining. Still, not everyone thinks the same, so I may be wrong.

      I appreciate your thoughts.

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  2. Well how many blogs do YOU visit to engage and get that “response” back? It really starts with you and from there you will get the interaction you seek. I hope you find what you seek in blogging! 🙂

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    • Point taken, thank you. I’m thinking that part of it might be that I did not begin applying categories and tags, as I hadn’t really learned of and delved into that issue, until very recently (then I went back and began applying them, beginning with my first post), and it was only after that that my first (non-family) comment came. But, yes, I have searched, visited and commented on other blogs, though not to a huge degree. It needs to ring with me first. In the meantime, I don’t like to pressure or oblige. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts.

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  3. Very clever survey. Just what I suspected (lots of people raking up numbers for the sake of it). I once read an article about “power youtubers” and clicked on a few channels out of curiosity. To say that these channels – with millions of followers – were a letdown content-wise is nice. They were shite! Just people talking about what they bought/wore/ate today. Who cares? Apparently millions of people 😉 By which I mean, of course your hiking posts get most followers. Try something really mundane or very trendy and there’ll be even more. Or, you know, don’t, because you have your reasons to write about what you write and trends are for those who want to be popular above all else.

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