Blogs — How Do You Follow Them?

I’ve been thinking about this question for some time. I’ve noticed on recent posts that some people have discussed their reasoning behind whose blogs they follow—and don’t follow. Even though we’re still in the depths of the summer blog doldrums, I thought I’d wade into the topic with a few questions for you. Don’t worry, these aren’t essay questions like we had in school. They’re very simple. And the poll results are anonymous. I hope early readers will stop by later to see where the responses are going.

Are You a Formal or Casual Follower?

If I’m interested in a blog, I’ll follow it formally if I can. Even though WordPress has a “Follow” option that links to the Reader, I follow blogs by email notifications. That way I know I won’t accidentally miss something. Since I’m not overly tech savvy, I follow some bloggers on other hosts simply by bookmarking them and trying to remember to visit them regularly.

So, here’s our first poll question:

Who Do You Follow?

I think this question will generate a wide range of answers. Some readers of this post may not have a blog. So your reasons for following will likely be different from someone who does blog. Some advice I’ve seen says bloggers should follow everyone who follows us. I have a hard time with that. You may be someone I’d really like, but your blog focus may not click with  me. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to diligently follow everyone who follows me.

Also, I’m not one to “inflate” my statistics by following thousands of people in the hopes that many will follow me. I have blog followers who never leave comments or likes. And that’s perfectly fine if you simply enjoy reading my posts from time to time. I’m glad you’re reading them, and I hope you’ll enjoy my novels when they’re finally published. (And I’ll be okay even if you don’t like the books—sort of, maybe after a box of Belgian chocolates. Wink, wink) I do the same thing with some blogs. But if someone followed me and 3,000 other bloggers in an attempt to pad stats, I’m sorry I can’t help. We all have limited time, and we should allocate it well.

And so on to question two:

I follow mainly writing blogs (big surprise, right?) but also some on other topics. And I found those when their authors either liked some of my posts or followed me. I always visit a new follower’s blog (if there is one) to see what it’s like. As I noted above, some simply don’t match my reading interests. But I’m grateful to everyone who follows because s/he’s interested, and if I don’t follow you back, please know that it’s not a reflection on you or your blogging abilities.

How Many Blogs Do You Follow?

I hope you’ll all answer this question. Of course, some readers may be new to blogging and don’t yet follow many blogs. And some of you may have been at this for years and may follow many blogs. I’ll admit I’m curious where I fall on this scale compared with those of you reading this post. So, for question three:

I currently follow 122 blogs. And I have to be selective about how many I add. I’ve timed myself in this first week of reading and commenting on other blogs only during the evening hours. And it takes from 1.5 to 2.5 hours per evening to get through one day’s new posts. That’s a chunk of time I used to devote to my manuscripts. You can understand, I think, why I can’t give up more. I’d never finish the books. And this is why I can’t comment on or like every post I read. I’d never get anything else done.

So if you think I’m invisible or I followed you only to get a follow back, or you wonder why I didn’t follow you back, in reality, I’m doing the best I can. And I hope you’ll understand.

In Conclusion

Those questions weren’t bad, were they? I could ask more, but I don’t want this post to be too long. If it gets favorable feedback, I might do a follow up this fall about blogging habits. As always, let me know what you think in the comments. I truly appreciate your input.

An Update

I’m not the only blogger thinking on these lines today. Check out my blogging buddy and beta reader extraordinaire 4amWriter’s take on blog following, too.

125 thoughts on “Blogs — How Do You Follow Them?

  1. This is very funny, as I posted about blogging time today also! 🙂 I love your approach with the polls. I think you and I have a similar outlook.

    I have to admit that earlier on in the summer, I was following over 200 blogs–everyone who was following me. I realized that many of those bloggers were the ones you mentioned–those who only followed me in an effort to get me to visit them. Since that discovery, I cut back on my follows, so now I am following about 150 bloggers faithfully.

    One of the difficulties I ran into is trying to keep up with bloggers who post more than twice a week. I can’t read all of their posts, and I was feeling guilty because I knew I couldn’t be considered a “regular” or even a “formal” follower if I was only swinging by a portion of their posts. I have since gotten over that guilt, and like you, I do the best that I can. I figure that most bloggers know I am sincere and genuine even if I can’t comment more than once or twice a week.

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    • Don’t you love the coincidence of commenting on someone’s post while they’re commenting on yours? 🙂

      The daily bloggers are tough for me, too. Some of them are amazing and do enjoyable posts every day. Honestly, though, others are stretching it, and I feel like I’m sometimes reading a Facebook status update. I tend not to comment on those. Like you, I’ve felt guilty about not always commenting. But one lesson I have to learn time and time again is that I usually expect more of myself than others do. And I shouldn’t think I’m letting others down about things they don’t even notice or necessarily even care about.

      I don’t know what the split is between followers who simply don’t comment and those who joined in the hopes of generating more follows for their blogs. But I know I should stop worrying about it and revise the WIPs! 🙂

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      • Thanks for the shout-out. I took a gander at the poll results and I was actually surprised that they’re not more diverse. Looks like everyone (so far) follows the same kinds of habits. This has become a very interesting discussion…

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      • I just started a blog about five days ago and I post like crazy. I just finished posting what I had for dinner. I don’t expect anyone to follow me because even I get annoyed that my reader is full up with my own posts. It’s awesome to have people like my stuff even when I’m basically just writing whatever comes into my head, but I don’t expect to really garner a following this way. I really don’t even know why I’m commenting now! Just because the comments resonated with me I guess. Hoo dang. But yeah I try to warn people away from reading most of my posts by writing in the beginning whether it’s worth reading. I just like the blog because it looks so cool and it keeps track of what time and day I had certain thoughts, and I love that because well I am pretty narcissistic. But so was John Cheever so maybe I’ll grow up to be a great writing alcoholic too! Anyway, awesome blog!

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        • Thanks, Gordon! Blogging is really an individual thing. Everyone goes at it for their own reasons in their own style. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out what you want to say, how you want to say it, and when you want to say it. Multiple times per day, once a day, once a week, do what works for you and you’ll be happiest. And that’s usually when an audience will develop. Find your voice and subject matter, and the rest will follow.

          And if you don’t like something you’ve done, you can always delete it and start again!

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  2. Pingback: Blogging vs Writing « 4amWriter

  3. Interesting questions here and your initial heading intrigued me. I’m new-ish on here, almost six weeks – not sure when I stop being new, but still feel very new and there is a lot to learn.
    I’m still getting a feel for it all. I buzz around, reading quite a lot, commenting where I feel I can stick my four-penny-worth. I don’t yet feel I have settled on the blogs I will follow long-term.
    At the moment, I post every day. I don’t know how long I can keep that up, because as you point out, all this stuff takes time away from what I’m supposed to be doing. I also post each day on 20 lines or less, mostly poetry, which I find quite freeing. Again, it’s a tie and I may not keep it going forever, but it brings a different cross section of people to my attention and me to theirs.
    So your post is intriguing on several levels. Applied to me and whom I follow, but also applied to those who read, comment and follow me.
    Do you intend to publish your results so we can all see them?

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    • Hi, Pat, thanks for dropping in and sharing your thoughts. I will follow up on this post with another that the results, probably in 2 or 3 weeks. You can catch “real time” numbers if you check back later and click the “view results” in each poll box, too.

      I’ve been here 10 months, and sometimes I still feel like I’m new at this. 😉 But that’s enough time under my belt to say this. Don’t feel bad if you can’t keep up the pace of posting every day. When I started, the ideas came easily and I had a good backlog of posts already prepared. But then the flood of ideas slowed and I realized how much time blogging was taking.

      Everyone blogs with his or her own goals, but you’ll find those goals evolved. My initial goal was to introduce myself and my writing to a potential reading public. That’s because all the writing advice from agents and editors tells us we MUST do this. However, as a core group of followers developed who left interesting and helpful and entertaining comments, I soon realized that community was the best part about blogging. That interaction is now one of the best things about the blog and another goal is to nurture that community.

      I don’t often give lots of advice, but this is for all new bloggers. Don’t post the equivalent of a Facebook status update just to post something! That’s not a good way to attract a long-term audience. (I’m not saying you’ve done that—just don’t be tempted to do it!)

      The blogosphere is an amazing place—but don’t get pulled in too deeply. 🙂

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      • Thank you – I hope I’m not doing the Facebook thing and will be sure not to do so in future.
        You’re right about the building a platform thing, it was the reason I began, but also to find a ‘tribe’. I only have one friend who writes and having written for years, it is a lonely existence!
        So, finding lots of new friends here is great.
        Thanks for the advice.
        Look forward to the poll results.

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        • One of the many great things about blogging is finding that community/tribe who share your interests and make an incredible support network. Finding that long-term core group can take a few months, but it will happen. There are some great people in the writers’ corner of the blogosphere!

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  4. My answers were a lot like yours. The only differenece is I follow fewer blogs because I know I don’t have the time to read ever single post, cause that’s what I feel I need to do. Especially because I can’t read ever day. So I get bogged down, then I have to delete emails and feel guilty.

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    • I think we have to stop feeling guilty about not reading every post by a blogger, especially those who post more than 3 times per week. Social media is overwhelming us, and I honestly believe we’ll see a backlash at some point. I’m hearing more people say they’re scaling back. I think they’re just the first of many more to come.

      Maybe we should treat blogging as we do real life. We have a core group of friends and family that we enjoy hanging out with a lot. Then there are acquaintances we see in limited venues less frequently. And there are some people we run into occasionally and share a brief conversation with before going our separate ways again, with no hard feelings.

      Just an idea. 🙂

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  5. Lots of interesting thoughts and processes, here.

    Personally, I’ve been blogging for many years (mostly as an informal way to keep in touch with family and friends), so I’ve always kept my follow-backs close to my chest; I’m the (currently) only one who voted for following 11-30 blogs. Those are the blogs whose authors really speak to me, or are genuinely interesting to me in some way. Do I wish I could follow more? Maybe. Should I look out for more blogs to follow, and broaden my horizons? Probably. Do I have the time to do so, and do so conscientiously? Not really.

    I agree that multiple posts from the same blog in a single day can be frustrating or intimidating, especially since many such posts tend not to be time-specific, and could be saved for a rainy day. But, everyone wants to hit that “Publish” button right away. :/ I like to keep my own blog to a limited schedule, because I know well how that flurry of post alerts can overwhelm.

    I’m curious to see how these results come back, too. So, consider this another follow. 🙂 (Thanks to 4amWriter for the notice!)

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    • Hi Mayumi, it’s nice to meet you. I’ve read your comments on some blogs we both follow, so I feel like we’ve already met in some ways. 🙂

      If I had it to do over again, I would formally follow fewer blogs than I do. (Whew, say that 10 times fast.) I can’t bring myself to “unfollow” someone, but to be honest, I have set the schedule for some email notifications to “never.” The blogs turned out to be ones that simply aren’t of interest to me. And that doesn’t mean they’re bad blogs. But no one can be interested in every blogger’s subject matter.

      Your blogging to keep in touch with family and friends is exactly how I use Facebook. I couldn’t care less about having a billion “friends” there or liking fan pages. But FB and other social media are great ways to keep in touch with people who are scattered across the globe.

      Still, blogging and other social media suck us into their worlds, and they don’t want to let us go. Maybe I’m fighting a losing battle, but I want them to work for me—not the other way around!

      It’s funny that 4amWriter and I posted on the same subject today—I’ve updated this post to add a link to her post, too. I’ll be by to visit your blog soon! 🙂

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  6. These are great questions, and I’m glad you asked them! Some blogs I follow more closely than others (with comments, etc.), but I do generally try to follow, like, and comment on those blogs who are following and commenting on mine. You’re right, though–it ended up taking so much time that it was a distraction to my other writing–especially my own manuscript–that I had to formally announce a little sabbatical (but I still stop by favorite blogs and intesting posts like this one, from time to time. 😉 ). In short, beyond creating my own posts–which was very time-consuming–the following, commenting, etc. became too much of a diversion from my real goal of completing my book. I’ve stepped back to refocus, and I hope to return to the blogging world once I’ve accomplished my other writing goals.

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    • I think it’s clear from your comment and others here that many of us are overwhelmed by blogging and other social media. And more of us need to do what you have done—step back, refocus on the truly important work, and set a sustainable activity load.

      Many of us are working on larger projects (novels, memoirs, music, artwork, etc), and the blogs and social media are intended to support those activities. But it is so easy for them to grab control of our time and take it away from our main endeavors (not to mention physical friends, family, and work!).

      Maybe we should start a movement to limit posts to no more than 2 per week…. Oh, oh, I hope that won’t make WordPress ban me! 🙂

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      • Your comments are well stated, JM. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that WP encourages more posting,but so many of us are trying to cut back. I follow some blogs who post daily, but their posts are truly “short and sweet.” I think we each need to do what works for us–because it’s not just the posting that was disracting for me, it was the following, as well!

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  7. I look at people who visit my blog, comment and or follow me. If I think it will interest me I’ll follow, or like a post after reading some. It helps to spread my interest and find like minded people. I blog once or twice a week, and read and comment maybe three or four times a week. I have other things to do as well. And writing is part of that. Following too many can mean you are not really following. The blog is not the world, but just a part, and getting out and about is good as well for writing, needed for writing in fact.

    Interesting to read the results.

    Jim

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    • It sounds like you have a solid, sustainable system, redjim. (Okay, there’s my quota of alliteration for the week.) It’s taken me a while to figure out what you’ve just said so well. And I think there are a lot of bloggers in my position based on the detailed comments this post is generating.

      I think I will follow up on it in a few weeks with a few more questions—along the lines of how people decide to comment/like posts and how often they do it. Not only will I learn more about my blog and its readers, but other bloggers might get some new insights, too.

      Hope you’ll stay tuned!

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  8. It’s interesting, isn’t it? Guilt, stress, expectation … I’ve been feeling all these for a couple of months, and wondering what to do about it because it’s taking away from the sense of wonder and freedom I felt in the first months.
    Like you, JM, I’m finding it’s taking between 1.5 to 2.5 hours a day to read, like, comment and respond to the blogs I follow, and frankly, it’s too much (especially if for some reason I miss a day, or God forbid, several) because the pressure to keep up weighs on me. As it is, I no longer receive email notices – a full in-box will distract me all day till it’s attended to. When I have time, I scan the Reader of the blogs I follow, and pop into anything that looks interesting, usually leaving a “like” to let the blogger know I’ve been by. If it’s a blog I really like, I’ll check to make sure I haven’t missed anything delicious. I only comment when I can’t stop myself, or feel it’s important to add my two cents to the conversation.
    But it’s still too time-consuming for me, to be honest. I’ve begun unfollowing some of the blogs I followed earlier on, when I was a little less pressed for time, and have been thinking of unfollowing those who’re not participating – unless of course they’re compelling for one reason or another. I think I need to trim my follows down below 50.
    One of the things I’ve noticed is the time it takes to think of something interesting to say in response to comments that should really have just been a like – even a smiley face takes time. I like Tilly Budd’s idea – her comments invitation says “All comments are welcome, though compliments may result in you having your Malteser privileges revoked”. I’m thinking of restricting my comment responses to conversations – which will likely end up taking much the same time, but will be more interesting! The last thing I’ll have to do is
    I’ll be most interested to see the results of your poll and the comments conversations!

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    • This post has really struck a chord with people. Just looking at the depth (and therefore length) of most comments is evidence of that.

      I should say that I don’t comment on all 122 blogs that I follow. Some, I don’t read anymore but don’t have the heart to “unfollow” the blogger. So I’ve set the email notification to never on those. And none of them are people who comment on my blog.

      Interests change, time constraints arise, and we shouldn’t feel guilty about reading some blogs less frequently. Likewise, we shouldn’t assume the worst if someone unfollows us or doesn’t comment/like as much as they used to.

      But I’m amazed by how many of us feel we must read every post and leave meaningful comments on each one. That’s hard to do with, say, 10 blogs with twice a week posts. How can we do it for 50 blogs, many with daily posts? Few of us can. And we shouldn’t feel guilty for it.

      I’m seeing a lot of bloggers in my circle saying they’re going to cut down on posts or take a break. And I understand why. They’ve burned out from trying to maintain an unsustainable pace. I hope they will come back—refreshed and putting less pressure on themselves to blog 3-7 times per week and to comment on every post by every blogger they follow.

      We’re not being ungrateful or unkind. We’re being realistic and doing the best we can. There’s nothing wrong with that.

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  9. Here’s my “other” explanation about following blogs–because I’m too verbose to fit it in the text box for the poll… 😉

    I’m a blogger who follows topics that interest me (a broad and varied list in itself), and who follows (at least initially) other bloggers who have followed me. I also edit my subscriptions regularly; if I find myself always skimming rather than wanting to READ a particular blog, and if I haven’t been sharing any interactions with that blogger, I’ll un-follow after a while.

    I actually didn’t know (until I went and looked it up to answer your poll question above) how many bloggers I’m following–just over 500, as it turns out. And I also didn’t know, until the last few weeks when I took a “hiatus” from blogging (reading as well as writing) how many posts-per-day were hitting my Inbox. I usually read them as they come in–but when I was letting them accumulate and clearing my Inbox every day or two, I discovered that I’m getting about two hundred new posts in the Inbox every day. That’s a lot of reading–but it’s reading I enjoy!

    I was just saying to 4amWriter that I think I’ll follow her example and track my blogging-time (reading as well as writing) for a bit and see how much time I’m spending. If nothing else, I could probably manage my time more efficiently than my previous “method” of reading each post as it arrives, often interrupting myself from whatever I was doing when the email dinged at me… Thanks for getting me thinking; this post (and 4amWriter’s related one) turned out to be a good starting point as I return from my blogging-break… 😉

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    • Wow, I wondered who checked the 501-1000 box! So far you’re the tops in that poll. (I might faint if someone really follows more than 1000.) Even without commenting or liking, I know I couldn’t keep up with that many blogs and still have any time for my novels.

      Taking a vacation was a real eye-opener for me. One, it was refreshing to get away from the normal routine. But, two, I also saw how many email notifications are coming in each day. And while it isn’t 200, it is a lot. I still see them because my new schedule is to limit reading and commenting on other blogs to the evening hours, when I’m least creative. (With a very few exceptions like 4amWriter and The Write Transition.)

      I’m thinking that when I do decide to follow some new blogs, I’ll leave a comment saying that I probably won’t comment often, but I will be reading. 🙂 That way the blogger knows what to expect from me.

      It’s fascinating to see what you and other readers are saying on this topic. And I’m looking forward to seeing how the poll responses fall out. That will definitely be a follow up post. 🙂

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      • “…but I will be reading…” That’s one of the reasons I like the “like” button… It’s often my way of saying, “I’m here and I read/enjoyed the post”–even when I don’t have anything to add to the conversation, or don’t have time to write responses… I know it gets used in different ways by different people, but that’s what a “like” means from me. I’m READING. 🙂

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        • That’s how I use it, too. Originally I felt like it might come across as a half-hearted effort. But more and more I realize, it’s a perfectly acceptable way to let someone know you cared enough to read and enjoyed what they said. Maybe some people use it because they’re lazy, but I don’t think that’s true of most of us.

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  10. Huh! These are all interesting questions, JM! I liked seeing the poll results. I don’t know how many blogs I’ve actually clicked “Follow” on, but for some, if they aren’t in my core group of ones I read faithfully, I delete them from my inbox unless the subject matter that day seems excellent.

    And I appreciate the bloggers who only blog two or three times a week… it gives me a chance to look forward to what they are posting and not feel overwhelmed about getting everyone’s posts read.

    Great post!

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    • Thanks, Anne! Have you checked out some of these comments, too? It’s really interesting to see how others are following blogs and how many are, like me, getting overwhelmed at times in the process.

      I have started “pre-screening” posts from some bloggers, too—especially those who post 5-7 times per week. If that day’s post doesn’t grab my attention, or I’m pressed for time, I don’t click over to the blog.

      And I promise I will not start posting more than twice a week. The only possible exceptions to that are because 1) I found some extremely useful/helpful information that I know my core readers would like; or 2) one of my novels was released that day. 🙂

      I’ll do a follow post on the poll responses in a few weeks. 🙂

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  11. Just found your post from my 4am writer gal pal. I’m a fan already! Thank you for posting about this subject. I joined the blogging community back at the end of May and learned the ropes as I went along. I felt overwhelmed at first, trying to figure out the ideal balance. I try to limit myself to an hour each day for blog socializing. Then, I cut myself off. Gotta keep plugging away at those novels, right?

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    • Thanks for the comment and follow, Britt! I’ll be stopping by your blog soon to see what you’re up to. 🙂

      An hour per day sounds completely manageable for following blogs. If you can start off being disciplined, you’ve got a better chance of maintaining it than others of us did. I think we tried to do too much, too soon. Some new bloggers I followed dropped off the map after a few weeks or months, probably because they didn’t realize what they were in for.

      And you are absolutely correct—the novels must come first. Otherwise, my reason for blogging will no longer exist!

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  12. I just checked, and it looks like I follow about 120 blogs. Some of those bloggers haven’t posted lately, though. And I do try to read all of their posts and comment, but that can be difficult to do on blogs that post daily, so I sometimes miss one or two of those.

    I can no longer follow everyone who follows me. I do, however, always check out their site if they’ve left a comment on mine or followed me, and I try to leave a thank you and a comment, or at least a “like” or two on some of their posts. If their posting frequency isn’t too great; if their material is of interest; or if they repeatedly come back to my site, then I will follow them.

    I follow a wide variety–not only writing blogs–which is why I don’t post only on writing topics myself.

    As always, great post. I’m sure you just voiced what many of us often wonder.

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    • This reflects my blogging choices as well. I rarely unfollow a blog, but I’ve released myself from the responsibility of reading every one I’ve followed if, after a time, I find I’m not as interested as I originally was. It’s a great, big blogging world and I’ve given myself permission to be selective with how I use my time! Great post! xoM

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      • Thanks, Margarita. 🙂 The good little girl from the Midwest in me cannot bring herself to “unfollow.” But the mature woman in the Mid-Atlantic finally recognizes that she can’t do it all. 🙂 And that’s okay! Stay tuned for a poll results post in a few weeks. 🙂

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    • Okay, Carrie, I saw your 3-4 hours per day for blog reading/commenting over at 4amWriter’s post and nearly fainted. Then I remembered you have stepped away from the world of the day job to focus on your soon-to-be-released novel. So that pace is more sustainable than it looks at first glance. (Although it shows how building a platform and promoting one’s work is a full-time job in itself.)

      And I’ve watched your posts with two levels of interest since you were Freshly Pressed. First, I love them. 🙂 But second, I was looking at the effects of being pressed. And the number of regular commenters grew significantly after that publicity—due, no doubt, to your return comments to keep those serious/regular readers engaged. Your press should point to you as a model blogger for new authors!

      I can’t follow everyone either, but I try to do what you do and visit a few times. If a good connection develops, then I’ll follow, too. But only if the post topics are a good match for my interests.

      So it’s looking like September 15th for your book?

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      • Thanks for the nice words about my blog. Being Freshly Pressed definitely brought more readers, but as always, if one doesn’t go comment on other sites, then the visits will naturally go down on his/her own site. And of course that makes sense, since for the most part, blogging is a reciprical process, unless you happen to be a celebrity or one of those rare bloggers who people will keep coming to read even if you don’t frequent their site. And for that, one needs a strong platform, of which a humour blog is not one.

        One article I read about book marketing suggested an author should devote up to SIX hours to social media a day. Holy guacamole, I couldn’t do that. It’s tough enough as it is to give up 3-4 hours (though I only spend an hour or two on weekends. I would like to get down to about two hours a day if that’s possible. This is why I’ve been so hesitant about Facebook. I just don’t have more time. I only give 15-30 minutes per day to Twitter.

        I would guess my book will be released on the 15th. I see a few of my publisher’s new September releases came out today, but most didn’t. I don’t suppose it being a holiday weekend helps–especially in getting it up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. But I’ve received the bookmarkers I designed, and I have my static book page ready to go, so I guess I’ll just keep waiting.
        🙂

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        • SIX hours a day?!?! When the heck are we supposed to write OUR BOOKS?!?!

          Sounds like that’s a way to sell his “techniques for successful social media networking,” which entails selling his books and seminars to other people. 😉

          I don’t hear a lot of good reviews about using Facebook to promote books through a fan page. Even writers who get people to “like” their pages don’t seem to report much sales traffic from it. And FB has instituted a policy of not automatically sending all the author’s status updates to all the followers’ newsfeeds. Now you have to pay for every post to go to all subscribers’ newsfeeds. Yes, a lot of people are unhappy with FB because of it. Also, you have to subscribe to FB to like or follow anyone.

          I know I’m no expert, but it strikes me that a well-run blog that can double as a web site (much as WordPress can do), is the best outlet for letting a broad audience know about our works.

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          • I’m so glad you told me that about Facebook. If I have to do it, I will. But until then, I’ll stick with my blog, Twitter, and the marketing I’ll do locally once the paperback is available. I may also try scoping out online forums were people may be interested in my type of book. I’ve purchased a couple of books about marketing that have proved helpful. It’s a matter of thinking outside the box and then doing it. I imagine you will be very good at that since you have a knack for coming up with unique ideas.

            I wish I had bookmarked that article I read about the 6 hours of social media. I was pretty shocked myself. I think the writer of the piece was implying mostly at the onset of one’s book release, and so that I could see, but I certainly couldn’t maintain that pace!

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  13. I just posted on posts and how long they take and such from a bit of a different view than this one. It amazed me that so many follow over 100 blogs! I follow between 35 currently and it takes me at least an hour a day, plus I post every day. Between those and the other things I do, I can’t really do too many more (I know I will add a few with time). I don’t want to stop the daily posting, so that’s my big one. You follow so many. I guess I read slow. I do try to “like” almost every one and comment on most. That takes time, too. Anyway, that’s just me. Thought I would give you a detailed breakdown of my votes.
    Scott

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    • We all have to find the schedule, topics, and comfort level that work for us. There’s definitely no “one size fits all” in blogging and social media. Your answers are also touching on the follow up post I’ll do—how do readers “interact” with the blogs they read/follow.

      Seeing the poll results is definitely enlightening for me. I hope more readers will take them and chime in with comments!

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  14. As (like you are doing) I needed to get some project time back, here is what I do.

    I follow 100+ blogs through wordpress, but not literally. I don’t read all the posts by them. There are a number I like to read, because they are interesting in some way (about writing, or music, or something else) and these I feed into an RSS reader through Google reader first, but then a third party software that links to it. That reduces the main number I follow. Usually I prioritise so that people who comment on my blog (and me usually on theirs, like you) get priority. Then there are some others, occaisional commentors, or they just write something I like a lot, they come next.

    Now currently I don’t read everyday because there simply isn’t time. I will read on my posting days, plus maybe some other days depending on time. If I get through my “regulars” quickly, then time permitting, I will look through some of the others I follow. If someone new follows me then I will check them out to see if they write something that interests me. That way new people get a chance also. But sometimes that isn’t the case. I’ve had fashion blogs follow me, but that just isn’t something I like at all, however good the blog may be.

    So I don’t follow that many “fully”, and because of time constraints I prioritise for the most interactive blogs / commentors. If I was going to promote something, e.g. a new novel, I would donate more time to reading and commenting on more blogs, but right now the priority is working on the other projects. – Good post 🙂

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    • My lack of tech savvy will show here—I really don’t understand things like RSS feeds or how to use Google reader to screen/organize the blogs I follow. I bet I wouldn’t be the only one who would appreciate a tutorial post on that subject, hint hint! 😉

      It sounds to me like you’ve got your priorities straight—blogging comes second to the real projects. I’ve been fine-tuning how I do that for some months now. Relegating the reading/commenting on other blogs to the evening hours is the latest step in that journey. And it is helping. I’ve done more work on the WIPs this past week than I have in a long time. That’s a good feeling, so I plan to keep to this blogging schedule.

      There are some bloggers I read without fail (unless I’m on vacation) and will comment on, or at least like, every post. Others get occasional likes/comments. And some I just read. But like you, when publication for my novels finally gets closer, I will probably try to engage more readers. Not to spam them with demands to buy my books—but to let them know I’m here and might have something they’d like to read.

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  15. Interesting – I follow about 100 Blogs regularly and you are right it takes time to follow anymore with real attention. I prefer humour, poetry, good writing and compassion. Bizarrely some of the Zen blogs are my favourites. I guess it is whatever floats your boat. Best wishes.

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    • Thanks, ginger. 🙂 Sometimes I forget I should just have fun reading some of the blogs I do. I shouldn’t worry about how many comments and likes I’ve left or whether the blogger might think I don’t spend enough time with him or her.

      There are so many interesting blogs, and so few hours in the day. But there’s so much more to life, too. 🙂

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  16. I follow 116 people and have a very relaxed approach about reading/commenting/liking on those blogs.

    If I’m having a day where I’ve got time, I might spend a few hours reading and commenting. Other days, if I’m busy or just not in the mood, I won’t even go near WordPress.

    Do any of you use the WordPress App? Sometimes I’ll read/comment/like while in line at the grocery store, or sitting on the beach, or anywhere else amenable to that sort of multi-tasking.

    Honestly, I spend FAR more time reading blogs than writing my own posts, and that’s exactly how I like it. Long before I started my own blog, I was here reading, because frankly I’m the sort of person who can never read enough!!

    This was a very good idea for a post… i’ll definitely check back on the poll results (and comments) as others weigh in. 🙂

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    • I’m sure some readers are using the WordPress App—but I’m still in the Stone Age when it comes to phones. 😉 No smart phone here. *waits for laughs of disbelief to subside*

      Your approach sounds very sane—something I’m striving to attain. I know there are some blogs I will always stop to read and comment on no matter how busy I am. Those bloggers have become good friends and companions, even though we’ve never met in person. But for others, I need to be as relaxed with their blog as they are with mine.

      Jack is not a bad boy because he doesn’t follow everyone who follows him or because he doesn’t read every post by everyone he follows. (And if we’re talking about Jack Trainer of Death Out of Time, I doubt he reads any blogs, unless he’s found some related to detective work…. 😉 )

      The poll results should be interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing all the responses and the comments. There will be a follow up post on this! 🙂

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  17. This is sooooooooo timely for me. So was 4amwriters post. I am drowning in email notifications and it is taking 3 or 4 hours everyday to keep up with them all. I am cutting back (unfollowing) blogs to only those where I LOVE what they write (even if they are not active on my blog) and those folks who are active on my blog. This isn’t to say the blogs I am unfollowing are not good, there are TO MANY to keep up with and still maintain a life. I am much more selective in following someone just because they followed me.

    I didn’t answer the last question . . . I have no idea! My “Blogs I Follow” says 161, but I know I’ve unfollowed many of those.

    Great post JM.

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    • It was funny to see Kate’s post this morning when I checked my email after uploading my post. And it wasn’t even planned. 🙂

      I had to “cut the cord” on vacation. When we did have internet access, I did a quick scan of my email notifications and trashed most of them without clicking over to the blogs. I knew if I tried to read them all when I got home, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy them, even if I slogged through a few at a time. There would just be more notifications coming in.

      And you know what? I best 99.9 percent of the bloggers whose posts I deleted were fine with that. If I wouldn’t expect readers on breaks or vacations to keep up with me, why should I think they would mind my temporary absence?

      So with very few exceptions, I started fresh with posts that came in after I got home. And I’m not overwhelmed.

      Give it a try! 🙂

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  18. I admit I’ve been thinking about this topic today, mainly out of guilt because I don’t follow some people who regularly comment on my blog. I follow a few select blogs because I really don’t have time to read many (my two jobs and writing take up most of my time), but I do try to visit the blogs of those who comment on mine when I have some free time. I just worry that some bloggers may feel offended because of that. =/

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    • Hi, Zen, thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts! Two jobs is a juggling act in itself, let alone trying to write and blog on top of them (and have a personal life with family and friends). I would completely understand someone in your position not being able to comment (or even simply read) regularly. I think most bloggers would, too. (At least those of us in the writers’ corner. Maybe not so much the people who blog about hot-button topics.)

      Some of us seem to be programmed to feel guilty if we don’t fully engage with everyone in activities like blogging. But we have to recognize the constraints on our time and the fact that while our blog might be of great interest to someone, it won’t necessarily follow that we’re equally interested in theirs.

      If we think about it, most of us don’t have everything in common with any of our friends and family. We shouldn’t expect things to be different in blogging. I’ve really got to remember that….

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  19. Hi JM, I found you via 4amwriter…your topics are nearly identical today!

    I am a blogging newbie…learning the ropes and enjoyed your poll and seeing how others voted, too.

    I was shocked to see you follow over 100 blogs and that a large % of those polled said the same. Do you think that’s typical outside of your poll? I’m very loyal to the ones I follow so I can’t imagine the time it would take to follow 100+ blogs.

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    • I swear the overlap wasn’t planned—lol!

      Actually, I’m surprised, too, by how many of us follow 100+ blogs. And for me, it’s impossible to follow them all “equally.” But that’s true of all our interpersonal interactions in life when you think about it. If I had to follow every blog commenting on every post, for example, I couldn’t follow anywhere near as many as I do. I’m not sure if it reflects the general blogging community, or if it’s more typical of writers, who account for a good number of my blog’s followers.

      If I could start over again, I might have followed fewer blogs. I went through a period where I followed everyone who followed me, even if their blogs didn’t match my interests. Now, I’m unlikely to do that. I have to devote more time to my novels, which were the driving force behind my blogging in the first place.

      And while it hasn’t happened yet, I will visit everyone’s blog who has stopped by this post. Kate’s post has directed a lot of new viewers over here, and I want to let you all know I appreciate the visits. 🙂

      That core group of blogs you follow is a lot like your closest friends and family. Even if you’re busy, it’s easy to make time to spend with them. If you do start following a few more blogs on a less intensive basis, I bet you’ll find you always make time for those close few. Kate’s one of the bloggers I always find time to visit and comment with.

      Thanks for the visit, and I do plan a follow up post on the results and will ask some other questions about how we follow blogs. Hope you’ll tune in!

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  20. I recently had to cut down from over 150 to just over 50 blogs. That’s a big cut and it wasn’t easy. With writing and work and all those other things that happen during the day, I didn’t have time to look at each post and make what I thought was a contribution to the topic. Oh the guilt. It was a serious practice in time management.
    Now I follow the ones that I have something in common with, whom I enjoy very much and those I consider friends.
    I will click on new blogs and check them out and if I think I’m going to be able to have a back and forth I’ll add them to my follow list. I’m trying to not let it get out of control again.

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    • I understand about cutting back. And I don’t follow all 122 blogs the same way. Some I comment or like on every post, but others I’ll only comment or like occasionally, and some not at all if the blogger isn’t one to comment or like back. I’m slowing getting over the guilt of doing that and not following everyone who follows me.

      I know some people feel the need to post every day—it could be necessary to why they blog. But it’s so much easier for me to follow someone who doesn’t. But I’m not their only audience, of course.

      So far so good on my new schedule. I think I’ll be able to keep to it. Let’s all remind each other to keep it under control!

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  21. I’m going to openly admit that I follow people back who follow me. It just seems polite. That may sound silly, but it’s like getting a Christmas card from a relative you don’t remember. You run and send one out to them, even it they are not on your list, right?

    That being said… I “follow” to be polite. The truth of tha matter is, that I read selectively.

    People who show up on my blog and comment all the time… I pop in to your blog at least once or more a week. Again… being polite.

    If I really like you, I try to pop in everyday. I might not have time to comment, but I do stop by. I’ll hit the like button if I don’t have anything to say (but sometimes not…depending on if my phone will let me “like” peopel that day)

    As for everyone else… When I have free time, I will scan the first two pages of blog email that I get. I read the ones with subjects that interest me. For these people, it is just “luck of the draw” that their post just happens to be recent to when I’m looking, and is also of interest to me at the time.

    By the way, in case you are wondering, I do stop by here frequently [wink]

    You know what else is funny? I’ve been thinking of writing a post on this very topic… how I manage the rediculous amount of blogs I follow. 🙂

    Great post! — and I’ve spent way too much time here… off to someone else!

    Let’s see… who commented after you…

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    • If there’s one thing that jumps out from these responses, it’s that a lot of us who hang out in the writers’ corner of the blogosphere are darn polite! We feel bad/guilty if we don’t return every follow. Yes, I’ve sent a few of those Christmas cards over the years. 🙂

      This topic seems to be on everyone’s mind right now. It was funny to see 4amWriter’s twist on the idea right after I posted this. So go for that post and your take on it—I guarantee a lot of readers will find it interesting and will comment!

      And you know I’ll be one of them because I always follow the email link to your new posts. 🙂

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  22. This was great. I found that my responses were very similar to others. I have a list of people I read regularly because I find myself interested in what they have to say. I mainly follow other writers, but also like the photography posts 🙂
    Thanks for getting this out there – I really enjoyed it

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    • Thanks, Dianne! 🙂 It looks like I fall with the majority, too. And I was curious how that would turn out because I really had no idea if I was typical of most people who read this blog or not. I’m giving it some time for more readers to weigh in and take the polls, but there will be a follow up and some additional questions. 🙂

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  23. Great post, and perfect timing- A topic that has been on my mind lately. I don’t follow many blogs, nor do I blog that often (working on a single post for a week and a half now), and I find it hard to keep up. I’d read every post, but don’t always have time to comment. I perfer to write a worthwhile comment, or none at all. (sometimes I’d throw in some silly comment in reply, just for laughs.) And replying to comments on my blog takes time. I feel bad when I take over a week to reply to them. But I am determined to reply to everybody’s comments on my blog. Luckily, with 19 followers, I don’t get too many. 🙂
    To see 50% of people follow 100-200 blogs, that is crazy. It would become a fulltime job.

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    • You’re lucky to have realized early on that we shouldn’t rush into following too many other blogs. You haven’t succumbed to the dark lords of the blogosphere, tempting you with statistics. 🙂

      Replying to comments on our own posts is time-consuming. But the best way to develop good relationships is by doing it. And when the following grows slowly, you can adapt with it. In many ways, I’m glad I’ve never been “Freshly Pressed.” The number of comments would be overwhelming because I’d feel obligated to respond to everyone. And then I’d crash and burn when the stats numbers returned to normal. 😉

      As for those of us who follow 100-200 blogs? We’re not commenting on every post by every blogger!

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  24. The first few days of blogging, I followed anyone who sparked my interest. It quickly became clear that there were too many interesting people in the world to do them all justice. I knew that my reader would become overwhelmed with so many posts that I’d miss the ones I wanted to read the most. I wanted my follow to mean something besides, “I found you interesting once.” Of course following isn’t a lifelong commitment, but dropping a blog feels vile, and I try to be sure now before I click the follow button that I’m not going to regret it.

    I want to read the blogs I follow, and maybe even comment from time to time. So I assess everything from how often a blogger posts, to what they post about, their voice, basic writing skills, and personality. Eventually I have to ask myself, “Would I actually read this regularly? Even when I’m tired/cranky/have a million other things I could read or do?”

    Many an excellent blog exists that I haven’t followed for the above reasons, and it’s not because they weren’t well written, or intelligent, personable, or plain lovable. I just don’t have the time, and cuts have to be made somewhere.

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    • It sounds to me as though you have found the right balance for following/reading other blogs. I did the “follow everyone who follow me” dance for a while, but I see where it got out of hand. Some of the blogs I still technically “follow” aren’t ones that I read anymore. And as you say, it’s not because they aren’t well written. But most of their posts may not be my tastes. Or they’ve changed focus.

      And there’s nothing wrong with that. Some of us, though, need to get over the guilty feelings we have about not maintaining a blogging relationship we’ve been in….

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