Friday, December 10, 2010

soul food friday ~ being unfollowed and measures of success

I've lost a few followers in the past couple of weeks (but thank you very much to the four new readers since I first drafted this post :). It isn't the first time people have unsubscribed, and I have no doubt it won't be the last! [And as an aside, the word 'followers' really needs reviewing Google!]
I'll be very honest with you...the first time it happened I was horrified. What have I done wrong? Why don't you like me any more? Can I make it up to you? Please come back :( And it wasn't just the first time that I felt that way either!

And then, last weekend after another spate of 'losses'...I laughed the next time it happened! Because I just knew that when I turned on the laptop there would be at least one less of you...and I found it amusing that my intuition was so spot on! Or that I'd actually willed it to happen because I'd focused on it (but that's a whole other 'law of attraction' post isn't it!)

But importantly, it started me thinking about success. What makes a blog successful? How do we measure that? Most of us use the number of followers as at least one of those measures don't we? If we're being honest. It's lovely to think that there are people out there who might like what we do...who appreciate the effort we're making...who 'get' us. But does it matter how many there are? The 'right' answer of course is no. But I suspect we do care...just a little bit. And I don't know about you, but I certainly get a thrill when the number ticks over one by it did while I was editing this post!

So...success...what are the 'best' measures? I've decided it's not in the quantity, even though that's really lovely and I'm not denigrating it at all and I'm very grateful for the number of people who've clicked on the 'follow' button here. And I love to follow blogs...for me, it's a sign of appreciation of the effort someone has gone to. Have I 'unfollowed'? Yes I have, but not much. When I started to worry about getting to everyone I followed, making comments so you knew I was interested, it all got a bit too much. Now I regard following someone's blog as a big round of applause...but it doesn't mean I have to clap each and every day :)  

So I thought about what measures were important to me...and they are these:  
  • the fact that we make a connection with others...some stronger than others, true...but connections nonetheless; 
  • the sincerity and/or quality of what we present to each other; 
  • staying true to the many reasons we started doing this in the first place, or finding different, better reasons;
  • the care we take to think about and then compose something that we hope others might enjoy; 
  • the sharing of thoughts and ideas and discoveries and skills...or yes, even pretty pictures, whether it be with one person or a thousand :)

And then, my mind wandered off to one of my favourite pieces of writing...attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson (although I believe that is disputed) goes like probably know it...

"To laugh often and love much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the approval of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give of one’s self;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived…
This is to have succeeded"

Nothing much there about numbers :)
So thanks so much for sticking with me...and for getting to the end of this long post! I've said it before, and I'll say it're a top lot!


  1. I have to say Kerry, I couldn't for the life of me understand why someone would unfollow you. Your blog is everything a good blog should be, funny, thoughtful, inspiring and many more things...
    I'm not sure I have lost any followers but I'm sure I'd be upset. And yes, I do get very excited when that number goes up by one.
    Have a great Friday!! xx

  2. And I'm glad I found you too!
    What a great post :)

  3. Oh're so kind. I didn't write this to get a pat on the back (really!) because Friday's are just my rambling on about things I'm thinking about days...but I appreciate your comment so much. Thank you xx

  4. Very well written, as always Kerry. The writing by Emerson always speaks to my heart, in fact anything he writes really. I have his prose works and essays and refer to them a lot. I have had people un-follow me and it is probably because I have such little time for blogging and don't always get to everyone. I do try to leave a comment when one has been left for me as a way of saying I do care but it's not always possible. There are bloggers like you who genuinely like my blog and like me and the expectation of commenting on every post disappears. That's how it should be I think. I have people leave a comment & follow me only so that I will follow them - I then never hear from them again no matter how much I visit their blog. I find this behaviour interesting from a social point of view but it doesn't bother me. I don't want to go much further with anyone disingenuous as my blog (as basic and frilly as it might be) comes from my heart.

    At the end of the day, it matters more to me that I'm making a sincere effort in blogland and spending the rest of my time with my little family..Have a great weekend my lovely..Rachaelxx

  5. Great post Kerry.Not being a blogger but just a reader, I often wonder how people react to the numbers. I know that I am not reading nearly as many - not because they aren't interesting but because I just don't have the time so I am not sure how all you bloggers find the time to write, read others and comment so regularly. I am not commenting as often but am still reading. Yours is still the first one I check to see what is new. I love that your blog touches on more than just 1 thing but that you cover everything that is near and dear to your heart. You make me laugh so keep it up please. Have a great weekend. Mary xx

  6. hi :] I'm not a google follower, because for the life of me, I can't actually understand what google following does, but I've added you to my google reader app, and have been reading a while! so add one to your follower number in your head any time you see your count going down. haha, I think, like you said, success, as far as this blogging venture goes, is like you said, putting yourself out there and connecting in whatever way you can. and if it's anything, my blog has 0 followers but I still try to keep at it when I can, though it's still a lil baby blog at the moment, and like you said, it's nice to just take the time to put your efforts into something, put it out there, and hope that others may enjoy it! so, hi and i enjoy your blog and sorry for repeating myself, i keep getting distracted (at work D:) and forgetting what i've already said.

  7. Well done, well written and so true! Keep up the good work!

  8. I feel the same way about 'followers' as I do about feedback on eBay - I honestly don't care, and I don't think you should either. Count yourself lucky if what you say gets through to one person alone. Anyway, I'm off to unsubscribe from this God awful blog (only joking! x)

  9. Dearest Kerry,
    Yours was one of the blogs that originally inspired me to cross the line from being a 'browser' to a 'blogger'.
    One of the things that I liked about your space was the honesty, that and you are one stylish beacon.

    Thank you for the honesty in this post. It is actually a bit ironic because I'm in the process of unsubscribing to blogs at the moment [perhaps we're all doing a bit of late spring cleaning]. My list is ginormous and it has become unwieldy not only manage but read my Reader files each day.

    The process has helped me to realise that I have subscribed carelessly in the past and will be much more judicious about whom I add to my list from now on. I like your comment about choosing those blogs to whom I would give a loud round of applause.

    Felicity x

  10. great post Kerry ..great attitude to have.i've loved your blog from day one and its always a great read and a inspiration :) I've been blogging for a while now, i don't have as many followers as lot of blogs i read but that doesn't bother me as i know people pass through each day and to know my post has been read and has taken a interest for a little is what make's my day. Xx

  11. Hi Kerry,
    Great post! I think there are autobots that follow and unfollow, especially on twitter. You're so right though, it's quality of the connections and the ones who support you are kindest bloggers in the world! I just subscribed to your blog. Forever!

  12. Another great post Kerry! That writing by Emerson is so inspirational, I've always loved it. Xx

  13. HI Kerry I also think it is pretty weird that someone would unfollow you as you have such a lovely place to visit.. S

    ometimes people get overwhelmed by the number of blogs they follow and think they just have to reduce the numbers. But generally I think that if I like a blog enough to follow it then it is not very polite to stop following just because they don't post much especially if the blog does not have that many followers. When you are starting out you really need that encouragement and it is so easy to give it.

    I agree the word 'followers' is strange, I loathe it and in fact have changed on my blog. I have been unfollowed too, sometimes it is by people who I know never visit, other times by people who still come and comment occassionally which I think is a bit odd. And of course you are likely to have at least 100 other subscribers who are not followers.

  14. Love Tom's response! I'm grateful to anyone who would spend a few minutes reading my blog and positively thrilled when I get comments. xx

  15. Great post Kerry. I think you get to know your regulars and it doesn't matter if they don't always leave a comment but I am sure they all still read (like me). You have to do it because you enjoy it and 'try' not to worry about numbers. I always enjoy your fun loving and honest blog. Keep it up! ;-)

  16. Very interesting post Kerry. I've come to the conclusion that my Follower #'s in no way reflect who actually reads my shambolic blog. The #'s go up & down like the Share Market on a volatile day & have always been low compared to other more 'elegant' blogs! However, I love it when a lurker leaves a comment along the lines 'I've been reading your blog every day for 3 years & have never commented until now.' That vindicates my theory. I'm not a Follower here but I stop by every day 'cos I think you are one of the bestest bloggers around. You are absolutely right about those bloggers who look at this as a numbers game, they are not in it for the right reasons.
    Millie ^_^

  17. Right on Kerry! Agree with everone's sentiments. Just keep on doing what you do, for you, as obviously ALOT of people are enjoying it, myself included! Sonia

  18. Great's a little like FB hey, I watch my 'friend' list go up and down in number, and wonder who's left FB, rejoined FB, defriended me - then I wonder why?
    I read a quite a few blogs but only 'follow' a half dozen. All the rest are just in my favourites list, perhaps I should follow some more after reading Jane's comment about encouragement?

  19. Well said, Kerry (and Tom). Followers don't matter. Many people follow just to enter giveaways, or to draw attention to their own blog/business, and they may never return to read anything again. Readers matter, and I guess it's the faceless people who add you to their rss feed who really like your blog the most. Boo to followers (except the nice ones!)

  20. I think some followers follow you just so you will follow them back. I do think it pointless, because it doesn't really mean anything. I was going to get rid of my followers "thing" but then I thought if soemone wanted to read my blog, how would they find it easily. I think being on someones sidebar may be a better indication. All my favs are on my sidebar so I can see when they have updated. I never use the google reader thing.

    It's not quantity, it quality. I know many of your commenters from my own blog and they are top knotch.

  21. Plenty of food for thought. You know I feel fairly new at the blog stuff and I must admit I love seeing a new follower. It is great when you meet up with people with similar interests or blogs that stretch your mind a little. I have come to the conclusion I can only keep up with so much and enjoy the blogs where there is some tooing and frooing of information.(MoerksStyle language there). So I think you are spot on when you say it is all about the connections not the numbers. Have a great weekend.

  22. There is something a bit cultish about the follow button...

    I actually thought about getting rid of that little button or at least the number on it - but I haven't worked out how to do that (anyone know?) I

    It was becoming the first thing my eye was drawn to whenever I opened my own page and annoying me when it went down and exciting me rather too much when it went up. I really don't want to care about numbers - this is not a business/my career/popularity poll - I just like it and like all the blogs I "follow" and many more - I tend to click on "follow" as a sign to the blogger that I'm around reading and sometimes because I know I'll never find it again if I don't.

    And of course you're very followable. The non followers are fools....!

  23. oh my my...very well said! it's hard not to pay attention to numbers, but oh how silly, isn't it?.....we spend way too much atttention to this damn following thing!! what about all these silly giveaways to gain followers? that's a whole other story!!

  24. Ann - I know the secret of getting rid of the number!! (See my blog). You go into the widget and edit the number colour so it is the same colour as your background so it is therefore invisible. I realise that is a pretty rubbish explanation but if you mess around a bit you should be able to work it out.

  25. Yet another thoughtful post, Kerry. I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments.

    It happened to me for the first time the other day and I was surprised at how upset I felt. Then I reminded myself that I've recently done some unfollowing as part of my bloggy rehab (from 532 blogs to 212) so that's one reason why people do it (that said, I just checked and I'm back to following 399 blogs. This rehab is hard ☺).

    Keep doing what you do, Lovely. You're ace in my eyes. I'm not going anywhere! J x

    PS Thanks for the explanation, Jane - I'd been wondering how it was done!

  26. Hi Kerry. I have for days been trying to find the time to write a comment re: your MYC post .. and now you have written this - I think it is even more applicable. The things we worry about are nothing compared to the real life struggles every day of people in our own community (perhaps even our neighbours). I must admit to checking followers and who lists who on their blogs - but really, like when you left a message on my post ages ago - we do what we do with our blogs because we like it. A LOT of people (myself included) love visiting your blog. For those that un-follow .. well, their loss.

    Have a lovely bloggy day (-:

  27. This is such a touchy subject, Kerry. We don't want to perform to an empty theater, obviously. Yet we can't always expect a full house. I try not to think of numbers, but I don't want to post {and we must admit it can be a writing challenge} to a crowd of ten.

    Feel a little bad and then move on. The numbers will go up until you have no time to respond to everyone...and then you are in trouble!


  28. there simply are no wrongs. I do experience the same. you win some you loose some. there are only 24 hours in a day. there is life next to/after/beyond blogging. blogging should stay fun. it is not about numbers..aaaarrghhh. love you my dear blogging friend xoxoxo

  29. Wonder if you realize that your blog may be read by persons like myself who may bookmark your blog to read but not subscribe simply because that is how I prefer to manage blog-reading.

  30. I've recently started my own page, and I know how the numbers matter... it's nice to feel that the effort is going out to the people you want to reach.
    I just discovered your blog, and I'll certainly be back! I'm moving to Brisbane with my Australian partner soon, and it's quite daunting... but blogs like your inspire me to see the beauty of my soon-to-be-new-home, the potential for the life we can create there, and remind me that there are a whole new bunch of like-minded friends-to-be-had. It's lovely to meet your page!
    - Catherine at The Spring

  31. Well put Kerry...and a wonderful Emerson quote! You have a great writing style and a lovely blog...I will be back.:)


  32. Sorry I'm so late in commenting, but you know how it is, life and all that? And speaking of which, that's the only reason I can think of that someone would decide to unfollow your blog. I agree with Millie - your 'numbers' are only a small percentage of the people who read and enjoy your blog, so I really try to not read too much into it. Having said that, the first time I lost a follower I was devastated. Your writing is so witty, honest and engaging, so my advice is to keep on doing what you do best, and don't change a thing! Oh, and get rid of the 'follow' stats maybe:) K xx

  33. It's very exciting when you first start blogging and people start to "follow" and at first it's upsetting when people unsubscribe, but after a while it doesn't really matter. Reading is what counts. I used to put pressure on myself to comment on every blog that I followed but sometimes a comment isn't necessary...and I feel the same way about my blog...people shouldn't feel obliged to comment. One thing I always feel is important though is to respond to comments on my blog..just to show my appreciation. Some bloggers don't do this at all...but again it's not important. We're all different and that's what makes blogging so interesting.

  34. Hi,
    I recognize myself in what you write about. It seems important to have more visitors. But is it that important ?? Do I blog for anyone else or for me ? Good writing !!

    Have a lovely weekend !


  35. Great post Kerry and I love the 'success' piece by Emmerson - very appropriate and very true. I must say, in the early days I was always so excited to see a new follower. While it still makes me happy to see someone new reading my blog, I'm not as focused on the 'number' aspect anymore. For me, I'm just happy to belong to this little blogging community of ours with blogs I thoroughly enjoy reading. I've learnt to accept that I can't comment on everyone's post every time they write and that others will be the same with my blog. In saying this, I was devastated the first time someone unfollowed my blog although there are a few I might think of doing the same to in the new year simply to make things more manageable for me. I've enjoyed your blog posts for as long as I've been following and really appreciate the support you show for my blog too xx

  36. I lose about two or three followers a month. And like you, the first time it happened I took it so personally, like what had I done??? Why don't they like me anymore?? I'm happy to say, that now I can shrug it off because it's not what's important :-)

  37. Kerry,
    I loved this post. I had someone 'unfollow' me the other week ... and I was shocked! ANd then I felt hurt. I thought, 'what is it about me you don't like? Am I annoying? Am I boastful?' And then I thought, who cares. If someone doesn't want to follow, well that's they're right and there are another 100 who do ... just keep doing what you're doing. You can't be liked by everyone, just as I think there are a lot of blogs I'd never follow.

    What I find uncomfortable are the silent 'followers' ... I have four! I don't know why someone would want to follow my blog and not want it known. I think it's strange.

    I love your blog ... I won't ditch you!

  38. I am not sure of the benefits of "following"..I have just added the function to my blog but am worried about being held at ransom to it. Thanks for sharing this post.

  39. Dear Kerry,
    thank you for this very interesting post! Yes, it hurts the pride if one loses a 'follower' (I wrote about that in "youarewittyandpretty" on 27 October 2010 - embedded in a laudatio - and then I learned that the same follower had left others,too - our little blog community knew exactly whom I was speaking of without mentioning a name. That is what I love so dearly: we come to "know" each other - a bit - and from some I get even emails, and I would call it a special sort of friendship. Of course - with 2 very different blogs in a week - I sometimes feel under pressure - but then everything is forgotten when after a pause through a move to Berlin 'my followers' cry out "Britta, we are glad that you are back in the Internet".

  40. I try so hard to visit every post by my absolute favourites but somehow this one just dribbled right past me until I read todays!!
    I think the time comes when we all have to spring clean a little and clear out some space for a few newbies and it's not because we don't like you it just means we've changed.
    Somehow though, I cannot stop following blogs that only have a few followers!
    Guess I will be here for awhile longer my sweet as you continue to amuse and now I am back to try and win a dishcloth!!!!!!

  41. Wow!
    Looks like you're got plenty of followers :)
    But you can call me One More.
    Found you through a Google alert for Law of Attraction. I look forward to reading more of your work.

  42. I knew when I read this post on Friday, that I'd want to come back and read it again, along with all the comments. I love the way you put it so eloquently Kerry - 'a big round of applause , but it doesn't mean you have to clap each day'. I think this puts it perfectly. The first time I was unfollowed I was really hurt, as I knew who the unfollower was, and couldnt think what I had done to upset her. I know that the numbers aren't everything, and shouldnt be the only benchmark of success, but I still get a little thrill when they go up, and hate it when they go down. But I know too at the end of the day, I write for myself, and just really hope that I can make my blog a worthwhile place for a few to stop by and enjoy. And, the real connections I have made make everything worthwhile. I agree with Sarah and many others - why anyone would unfollow you, I have no idea! I think Jane's idea that following is a great form of encouragement is so true. xx


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