Etiquette around Following in Blogland

I know that I need to shape up very significantly in the Following department and am trying to sort out ways to achieve that.  These are my draft commandments on the matter:

1. Take the practice of Following seriously as their are real people with feelings involved.

2. Visit the blog of each person who is kind enough to Follow one’s own and, at least,  say ‘thank you.’  

3. Be sure to be an active Follower in the sense of  reading posts, and ideally leaving comments. 

4. Recognise that one is more likely to read blogs one follows if one follows by subscribing to receive emails about new posts. So, make a Follow a meaningful one by using the email route. 

5. Recognise that people who read and comment on one’s own blog more than likely also have blogs and that the conversations should be evenly balanced between both houses. 

6. Resist the temptation to Follow every blog that tickles one’s fancy because it will become impossible to be a ‘good follower’ if the numbers of posts are in the zillions.

7. Set regular time aside to read and comment on blogs that one follows.

8. Try and avoid depending on The Reader as many, many posts can be missed.

9. Review one’s Following practice on a regular basis and, if necessary, Unfollow blogs that just didn’t turn out to be what they first appeared. 

10. See Following and being Followed as fundamental to what makes blogging more than just a private journal. 

Please feel free to add or subtract or amend these commandments. I’d love to hear your thoughts and I promise that , in future, I will try and do better!

About socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.
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28 Responses to Etiquette around Following in Blogland

  1. Dale says:

    This is great, Jean! This is what I do first thing in the morning. (Hubby is amased at the number of emails I get every day.) While drinking my coffee(s), I read the posts and comment on most of them – some are just “liked” as I have nothing to really add but I do acknowledge I have read them. I love when I get responses as well. It feels like I’m being heard and acknowledged! Let’s face it, I figure most times we have something to say that we hope people will be interested in. It’s always nice to get a “like” or a comment which does just that.

    And yes, I have had to unfollow blogs – either they were not what I thought they were or some bloggers are really, REALLY prolific – more than one post in one day, too often and you’ve lost me! I have others to read! ;-)

    • socialbridge says:

      Hi Dale, you have to be amongst the best Followers I’ve come across. Sounds like you’re super-organised or else it’s the coffee? You certainly epitomise the ‘no wo/man is an island’ aspect of blogging and thanks very much for that.

      • Dale says:

        Organised? Yeah. No.! I think I spend the most time on those I truly enjoy (like you!) – and you’ve seen what happens when I fall behind! I’ll go back and read every post I missed! As for others, not so much. Mind you, I may spend a tad too much time reading and commenting and not enough on writing and working on my still in it’s infancy stages business!
        Hmmm… Procrastinate much?

        • socialbridge says:

          Interesting point, Dale, about the balance of time devoted to writing posts and reading/commenting on others. That’s a very tough one, I think, and would love to know how others divide their time.

  2. Great post Jean. I find my blogging practices I find need constant reviewing and its on ongoing learning curve not just how to blog but how to follow and how to look after ones followers and so on. That said I find you the most attentive, supportive and polite of bloggers :)

    • socialbridge says:

      Thanks for you kind words, Clare. Yes, a learning curve, indeed, and I love the idea of ‘looking after one’s followers.’ It sounds like being a shepherd/ess in the best sense of the word.

  3. Jean, this is a superb post that tackles issues that I have grappled with since I started blogging last September. I started out in naive fashion: a prospective author “must” blog and build a social media platform. Most of my follows were of the mutual variety. Like you, I use email alerts, and as a courtesy I attempt to read every post and at least “like” as a sign that I have read it, even if I do not comment (though I try to, to be supportive).

    However, the daily email volume came close to being unmanageable for a period, until I learned not to check the box to be informed of further comments when leaving comments. I also no longer reciprocate with new follows, but will typically thank a new follower and explain why this is so. I am beginning to reassess and thus prune those blogs that I do follow, as you suggest.

    To me, blogging is a fundamentally social activity, and thus certain protocols of civility must necessarily apply. Thanks for this post, which is appreciated at my end.

    • socialbridge says:

      Hello Navigator, many thanks for your kind words and for outlining your approach. It sounds like you have managed to get well on top of the Following issue. Yes, the ‘social’ side of blogging is fundamental.

      By the way, I have a bit of a thing about ‘prospective authors and blogging. Maybe I’m alone in this but I feel that I’m being lured in at the start and then the soft or hard sell starts. It’s something that has broken my interest in many blogs. I’d love to hear about it from the other side, so to speak.

  4. Suzassippi says:

    Your photograph to illustrate this is perfect! I just had to smile and chuckle.

  5. thevanbrown says:

    As you would expect, I did some research into the proper etiquette on the subject, and roll back to a post from four years ago which I think is powerful, and almost sober.

    http://vanbrown.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/blog-manners-etiquette-and-courtesies/

  6. Each time I unfollow someone, I feel supremely guilty but there it is. I’d rather give quality time to a few than diluted time to too many.

    • socialbridge says:

      Hi Sarah, yes the unfollowing can feel pretty grotty but I think you’re right about the quality time. The sheer volume of blogs and posts can get out of hand so, so easily unless one has a firm grip on things, especially one’s own enthusiasm to try and read everything!

  7. Val says:

    Thank you Jean for sharing your guidelines and opening up the discussion! Val x

  8. Linne says:

    The photo drew me in (love sheep), but the post is excellent, if not about sheep. ;-) I have to say, I was receiving 50 – 100 emails a day before I began blogging (not all requiring reading or answers, but still . . .) so I don’t check the email box. Once I checked the box that says “email any further comments on this” (well, the wording is different, but I’m sure you know what I mean) and I had SO many emails! Never again . . .

    #6: I am guilty! Sometimes I click the follow button, but many times I save the blogaddress to my favourites folder, which has numerous sub-folders; that way, if I’m looking for information about something in particular, I have a group of blogs ready to begin with.

    I have contacted most of my followers as they came along, but not all of them. I agree that one should, though. Some days are just too busy except for a cursory glance at the FeedReader.

    Your love of bridges and your excellent posts dealing with death and dying caught my attention in the beginning; then there were the poetry posts . . . and the photos!

    What I try to do these days, if I haven’t been to a blog for a bit, is go and catch up with a bunch of posts all at once. I’m pretty low-maintenance myself, so if I don’t hear from a follower, I don’t worry. If I know they are going through something or other, I contact them to see if they’re doing ok. So far, that seems to work.

    ~ Linne

    • socialbridge says:

      Linne, many thanks for your kind words and your description of your Following’ practices.
      I love that you check on followers to see if they’re okay ~ now that’s true connection!

  9. How interesting that you should post about this. The state of my inbox is never far from my mind, these days. It overflowed to 800+ at equinox, so I actually wrote a post poking fun at my blogful crisis ;) Still chuckling half a year later, though currently teetering at 1100 or so… must read faster! ;) Commenting takes time, so tend to click the “like” button to at least let the blogger know I was by and liked what I found. I’ve checked the box to receive comments updates once or twice in the beginning… whew! But once followed, I’ll not ever un-follow a blogs. If a blog fails to hold my interest, then I just opt out of receiving further email updates. Simple and tear-free :)

    • socialbridge says:

      KWH, many thanks for this insightful comment. Love your humorous concept of your ‘blogful crisis.’
      Interesting that you never ‘Unfollow.’ Sounds like there’s lots of sense in that.

  10. Good advice. I follow too many. (This, not being one of them.) :-)

  11. Sheila says:

    I’ve tried to be this way and I feel too guilty when there’s not enough time to comment on everything. So every once in a while I have to take a break from it all. It’s refreshing to do that and easy enough to jump back in. I don’t unfollow and I’ll always follow anyone back because after all, we’re here to share our lives and make friends. But then, there’s no way I can comment on everyone’s blog because it would take over my whole life. I think that’s ok though – as long as we make some friends here and there that we like to visit (like you)!

  12. socialbridge says:

    Sheila, sounds like you have a very balanced attitude to the whole following business. I’m so glad that I’m amongst your chosen ones!

  13. willowdot21 says:

    In all things be honest, be fair and kind!

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