Day 8 of Writing 101: A (bitter) confession

Disclaimer: I never enjoy being in a  position of giving offence, but I’m afraid this post may not please everyone. I apologise beforehand for this, but sometimes, some things just need to be said. So, please forgive me if the following paragraphs irk you.

Thomas Dohling at Assignments recently wrote this article about how poor reader response to our blog-posts affects us. I could feel his grief, because I have faced the same issue from time to time.

In my introductory post of W101, I said my writing was my voice. My blog is my channel to articulate that voice. I write each post expecting reader feedback. Readers’ responses make the process of writing all the more joyful. I am sure most bloggers would agree with me on this.

I have been blogging on Scribbles@Arpita since March. I recently crossed the 150 followers hurdle. As more and more people follow this blog, I question myself: how effective is my growing follower count? When I had about 50 followers, I had five to seven people who regularly read my posts. Now that I have 150 followers, the number of regular readers may have increased to 10 (excluding the fact that I am currently taking Writing 101, which draws a lot of traffic). So, whereas my follower count has increased three-fold, my regular reader base has doubled, but to no big number. I don’t think you’d call that satisfactory.

That leads me to thinking why this happens? Why do people follow my blog and then disappear, never liking/commenting/interacting on any future post again? I know everyone is busy, but if someone follows my blog, is it not natural for me to assume that the person enjoyed the kind of things I write about and would like to read some more?

For example, before I follow any blog, I take the time to read a few past blog-posts. If I enjoy more than three (on an average), I infer that I like the voice of this blogger and would like to hear more from him/her. That’s why I never follow back every person who follows me. Don’t get me wrong, but there is only a few blogging genres that I like to read about. As much as I enjoy watching movies, I wouldn’t probably follow a blog on movie reviews. I religiously go through my WordPress Reader, reading the recent blog-posts by the authors I follow and giving feedback. It helps me build connections that last long. So, I follow only those blogs which I’d like on my Reader.

What I infer from the poor regular readership of my blog, in spite of the growing follower count is this: Most bloggers follow blogs on a whim. Say, I publish a picture of a cute cat in one of my blog-posts and immediately a few cat-lovers follow me. Sadly, I am probably never going to publish a cat-picture again, because it was once-in-a-while post. My regular posts are probably still going to be about self-publishing, fiction writing and some personal anecdotes. So here’s what I would say to the blogoworld:

  1. If I publish a cat picture (or a dog picture, for that matter), DO NOT FOLLOW ME. If I suddenly publish a cooking recipe, DO NOT FOLLOW ME, because my blog, in all honesty, is not about those. Those are truly once-in-a-while features, when I feel I have something cool to share and do not want to create a whole new blog to accommodate the craving to write about it.
  2. You don’t have to follow me just because I follow you. Seriously. I follow you because I like what you write, but that doesn’t mean you’ll like mine too. And I understand that.

Sometimes I think, wouldn’t it be great if all the the hundred and fifty people following my blog commented regularly on my posts? Sadly, utopia doesn’t exist. But we all do strive to reach it. So, on my part, I will try to make my blog-posts more consistent, so that readers can easily relate to it. As for you, dear reader, please take note of points 1 and 2 above before you hit that Follow button. I will be deeply grateful to you.


What about you? How do you deal with the high-follower-count-low-regular-reader-base syndrome? Would you make any changes to your blogging style to remedy this? Or do you have a message like me for your readers as well? Let me know in the Comments.

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About Arpita

Arpita Pramanick is a little, young woman with a bright face (who'd rather not look directly into a stranger's eye) you'll find walking on the corridors of Mu Sigma, Inc. She tells herself she wants to be a properly published writer (by which she means she wants to be published from the likes of Penguin), but isn't really so sincere about writing everyday. So if you see her, tell her to go write. She'll love you for doing that!
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55 Responses to Day 8 of Writing 101: A (bitter) confession

  1. Nick Langis says:

    Hi Arpita, You are not alone in this struggle. According to my stats I show a similar trend. I believe, like you. that most of these folks were a one and done. Read something and said, oh hey this Nick guy seems neat, I’ll support him and click follow to be nice. BUT – they never come back. Before this comment blows out of proportion I’ll end by saying this. Don’t dwell on the numbers, write what you love, publish it to the world and then network yourself. Like the Blogging 101 task mentioned today, commenting on other peoples blogs can generate traffic to your blog. It’s a win – win. Anyways, that’s all much more than my two cents worth.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Arpita says:

      You’re right. I have seen comments generating traffic as well.

      I don’t intentionally dwell on numbers, but being from the Facebook generation, dwelling on numbers seems to have become ingrained in my genetic make-up! 😛

      Thank you for your response. I am glad you shared you feedback honestly.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. kelsee727 says:

    Reading this kind of confused me because I thought I was reading something of mine. Only you went in more depth than I did. I think this all the time. Though I don’t care much on the number of followers. It just bothers me that people follow, but do nothing else. When I follow somebody, it is because I liked something about them. I want to follow their journey. I am glad somebody else feels similarly. I can’t agree with you more.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. AVoice says:

    Honest appraisal! Getting the right kind of dedicated following to one’s blog is a blessing. However I feel this happens by a dedicated keeping in touch and personal interactions with other bloggers. Have seen this happening on other blogs.
    Also, participating in more blog events like A-Z Blog Challenge, etc. gets you more exposure. To generate more traffic, the groundwork that needs to be done is a lot and most of it behind the scenes !
    All the best 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arpita says:

      Yes, indeed. I agree with you. I make it a point that I regularly interact with those who I am follow. What bothers me is not that no one follows me, but that people follow and forget. I’d prefer being simply unfollowed!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Annie says:

    Great, thought-provoking post! I have something to share, and it’s a bit long, my apologies.

    My current blog is fairly new. (I started another blog last year, which, sadly, I abandoned.) For couple months, I had very few likes and comments, but I reminded myself that I started this second blog fully aware that the only audience could be *me*, and that’s OK.

    Lately, since participating in W101, as I’m getting to know more bloggers, I’m also getting new followers and likes on my posts. Still nothing compared to the more seasoned bloggers here, but I must admit, it’s exhilarating. Consequently, I’m feeling the pressure of delivering what *I think* my readers like. And, as you rightly pointed out, I’m feeling that if someone follows me, I’ll have to follow them back. So thanks for your advice.

    As for your question whether I’ll change my blogging style – too soon to tell. I’m still finding my voice here. I’ll try them all out until I find my style.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Arpita says:

      The good thing about the the Blogging U. courses are they generate a lot of traffic. The real test will be after the course is over. But I have read your posts previous to W101 course as well, and I loved them, so you can count me in as your long-term interactive follower. 🙂

      It’s a good thing that you want to experiment. But be cautioned against catering each post for an audience, because that way you’ll end up writing what others want to read, and not what gives you happiness writing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Annie says:

        Thanks for your kind words. 🙂

        Yes, I’m aware of the danger of writing to suit the audience’s liking. For me, it’s about learning to find the right balance to write something that reflects who I am and what the audience identifies with.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Anushka H. says:

    This was straight to the point. And I completely agree. Just getting a particular number of followers is not enough if these followers never read my work again. Once-in-a-while posts attract a lot of followers but they always disappear. Even I have very few followers who religiously read most of what I write and take out time to respond and provide me with feedback. I find it really annoying how people follow on whims and then just poof!
    Anyway, your post was well written and very focused. Thanks for addressing this issue!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. mterrazas32 says:

    I understand where you coming, but isn’t this the trend with any social media. People will follow, just to follow you. If you have a lower follow count doesn’t that say thing? For me I deactivated my facebook account because most of my friends, the majority I when to school with would never response to thing I would post on facebook. Not even a “hello”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tough, isn’t it? But we have to keep climbing until we plateau out and meet mutually dedicated bloggers.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I fell asleep last night with these same thoughts on my mind. There are some followers that I have never heard a peep from them and yet I make an attempt to communicate with as much people as I can. Well its a win-win situation. We just have to trudge on and I guess as time goes on, we lay off those that are simply occupying space 🙂 Regards http://acookingpotandtwistedtales.com/2015/09/16/just-my-two-cents-worth-of-an-opinion/

    Liked by 1 person

  9. rosemawrites says:

    Thank you for voicing my thoughts, Arpita. Mr. Thomas’ post also affected me because I also felt the same.

    Prior to W101, I only have 100 followers, that was after one year of blogging. It felt like I really have to exert an extra effort just to be noticed. The sad part, just like what you said, followers are just followers. There are only a few readers among them.

    So thank you. I guess we really have to be true to our writing-selves instead of pleasing people just to get more clicks on that follow button.

    To your question, I don’t think I would like to change anything yet. I am quite getting used to my regular posts though W101 also made me realized that I can also write fiction and poem, that I do not usually write.

    So, thank you again Arpita. You have nothing to apologise for. You are just saying the truth and the not-so-good area of blogging.

    Good job! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Vibrant says:

    “What about you? How do you deal with the high-follower-count-low-regular-reader-base syndrome? Would you make any changes to your blogging style to remedy this? Or do you have a message like me for your readers as well? Let me know in the Comments.”

    I don’t feel it’s happening to me. Maybe because I don’t aspire to be an author.

    I feel I have been given more love and support than I ever expected or dsereved.

    I am grateful.

    This is a wonderful post–though our priorities are different so my suggestions might not work for you.

    I wish you very best in blogging, writing and life 🙂

    Anand

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: Khan's Lantern

  12. MySkyeLark says:

    Thanks for your thoughts as a new blogger it is easy to get caught up in the idea of attracting more followers. I have noticed that I have a small group of regular readers and just making sure I value them rather than a follower number. Thanks for the reminder

    Liked by 2 people

  13. anankhan98 says:

    Hey Arpita!
    Your post inspired my to write this today.
    https://anankhan98.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/392/

    Liked by 1 person

  14. susurrus says:

    People blog (and follow others) for different reasons, according to their character. Don’t dismiss everyone who is silent. Not all views of a post trigger a page count. I’ve read many posts where people whose own comments flow freely ask themselves why others are quiet. Extrovert/introvert is perhaps too simplistic an answer, but many of the silent ones need gentle encouragement to feel they can leave their mark or their ideas on another blogger’s post.

    Sometimes blogs can seem like private house parties where a few, regular people socialise together. This can make it more difficult for a shyer person to enter the conversation, even though they’d like to.

    People who comment less may not see interaction on their own blogs and will be unable to understand why others who seem popular crave even more comments. I read somewhere that for every new WordPress post published, a comment and a half is received (shared between all existing posts, not just new ones). The only way to increase that rate is for us all to read much more widely than we write and leave thoughtful comments that inspire a response.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Arpita says:

      Thank you, Susan for your thoughts. Comments are a wonderful way of promoting interaction. On my part, I am regular on my Reader and whenever I find a conversation that is interesting, I leave my thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. leannenz says:

    Great post and not offensive at all! I, like you, and I am sure most others love getting comments and feedback. I don’t mind if it is in agreement or a different point of view but by the same token I don’t mind if there is no response. I just feel happy that I put my thoughts out there.
    The follower thing is interesting. I follow many blogs but probably don’t show up on their number count as I find the reader inbox can be overwhelming if I follow too many and if I go by email my inbox gets flooded. I choose to follow by bookmarking blogs I like. When I have a decent block of time I can sit down and explore each person’s blog and check out several posts. I feel like I can give them the time they deserve.
    The other way I support fellow bloggers is to make sure I check out at least 10 other contributors to any challenge I take part in.
    If someone visits me and leaves a comment or a like I try and return the courtesy and check out their blog.
    Of course I am very flattered if I get a follow and love to see who has done me such an honour but I hope it doesn’t offend people when I say I don’t automatically follow back.
    I will say that I have more than enough reading variety solely through all you lovely people who do visit or comment or participate in the same challenges as I do so your work is appreciated!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Arpita says:

      I like that you are honest. This is also the reason why I am extremely selective about following. I am hungry to read, but not all writing genres fancy me, no matter how well-written it is. I also tend to bookmark blogs that might eventually end up on my follow-list.

      I believe in having a regular relationship with the blogs I follow, and that’s another reason I am so selective.

      I respect your habit of checking contributors’ post in the challenges you participate. 🙂 It is a lovely gesture.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Marquessa says:

    Totally agree with you Arpita!

    I try not to be a “hollow follow” and try to read others on a regular basis. I always try to leave a meaningful comment and if not, at least a “like” if I have read and enjoyed it. I can’t say that I am super “selective” about the blogs I follow because my thinking is that if there are a few posts I like, there will be more and I wouldn’t want to miss out…and I do a lot of reading when I am forced to wait in a line, sometimes on my lunch hour, etc.

    However, after the challenges are done, I will probably “trim” a few as I go along the way.

    I do understand that some bloggers may follow me due to the WP challenges but I am always hopeful that they will come back from time to time if they can’t on a consistent basis.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. BERYL says:

    whoa! straight to the point. N I completely agree coz I feel the same way. I write bcoz I love to and wanna be heard so that somebody other than me feels a little bit of something that I feel.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: Day 8 of Writing 101: A (bitter) confession | BERYL

  19. Well said. I could have not said it any better. This is by far the most engaging post I’ve read in a long time (but then again I don’t get out much from my lair. been blogging for a year now btw) To answer your question: No, I would never change me or my (writing) style for the sake of likes/comments/ votes/follow. I rather stay true to myself than be popular.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I want to say so many things on this topic but I don’t have the right as I do the same thing of not commenting/liking/interacting but now I won’t commit the same mistake. It’s time for change. Thanks for triggering the self-realization process 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. There’s a ton of comment already here, so no clue how much of a difference this will make.

    Long story short: Forget the numbers. That’s it.

    Longer version:
    People sometimes look at your post and don’t like or comment on it. It happens. I have seen the anomaly in the WP-Admin.
    Some people have so many blogs followed that yours probably gets lost in the heap in their reader.
    Some people follow in A HOPE that they will read more of your posts, but never get to it.
    Some people who follow you might not be logging in their wordpress account anymore. Seen it happen a lot more than you would believe.

    So, you never really know how things are. Take it as an encouragement. I know our blogging goals are different but I understand how you feel. Write what you feel you want to. Even if it is a one time thing – it’s your blog. Do what you like.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I feel the same way, but alas! I have been guilty of hitting the “follow” button a little too often recently. Mostly, I’d rather have those who like what I write, even if they can only stop by from time to time, as I do with them.
    Thanks for putting your thoughts across so honestly!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I am happy that people leave comments, LIKES and/or follow me–even if it is only one time. I don’t expect that everyone who visits my blog will build a lasting relationship with me. I am very grateful for the loyal followers/people who comment AND I am delighted with the folks who maybe have only once looked at one of my posts and it made them smile or touched them in some way. If you own a store, not everyone who walks in will buy someone. Would you hang a sign on the door then, instructing people not to come in unless they are going to buy?

    You have a thoughtful blog, Arpita, with your unique point-of-view. Each time someone visits your site, even if only once, you have touched them.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Thank you for your post. I am new to blogging and your advise helps me a lot. Please don’t worry about offending people with the truth usually after they give thought they realize you were right.
    http://stretchingyourfaith.net

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arpita says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I am glad you spend some time reading my blogposts. I did check out your site. Even though you say you’re new, I think your website is very much organized: there are widgets in their proper places and you also have a About page! It’s very beautiful. Keep up the good work, good luck to you! And keep that faith blazing strong! 🙂

      Like

  25. Pingback: The Art of Commenting: what holds us back and how we can fix it | Susan Rushton

  26. Pingback: What a year of blogging taught me… | Scribbles@Arpita

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