Monday, April 19, 2010

Follow me, don't follow me...

For some reason I have a REM song running through my head. I feel Orange Crushed... I can't imagine why...

There are so many nuances about blogging that I'm slowly learning. I believe most blogging skills have to be learned by trial and error, but today I’d appreciate YOUR tips, input, and advice. I’ve been to your blogs and have said, “How did they DO that?!” Or I’ve received great help from your posts about blogging. For example, Elana Johnson is an amazing blogger with a thousand great tips about efficient blogging (and because she takes her own advice, she has over a thousand followers).

One thing I really struggle with is being able to click on new followers and view profiles. Sometimes they link up, sometimes not. Is it something they haven’t set up or is it my ineptitude? Often I know they have a blog, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why it’s not showing up.

I have other burning questions too:

Do you allow Google to have your email so that people can respond to your comments that way? Do you use pop-up security, Google Reader, or a networked blogs feature? If so, why? Do you respond to your commentors, and if yes, do you do it on your blog or via email?

And what about blogging etitquette? I had to learn some the hard way! Like, when is it okay to unfollow without hurting someone’s feelings? Is it ever okay to lurk? (Because I only lurked for a long time.) And how do you create a Voice for your blog, a voice for yourself? Mine was certainly and evolution, which is still evolving….

Since I’ve gotten serious about blogging, I’ve met fantastic friends. Great friends! But blogging is work at times. It’s like having to call 150 best friends everyday. And the cool thing is I want to! But how to find the time?

What are your thoughts on blogging?
Here’s what I think: Blogging is awesome fun when I view it as a way to reach out rather than to build a platform. When it's all about it me it feels like drudgery.
Tips I believe in: Use Google reader! Ditch the security pop-up windows—I lose more comments that way when I close the window before the verification window comes up. Be gracious to followers and they’ll come back! Follow others, those that support your blog as well as those that just plain need the support. Somewhere along the way you’ll find your voice, your niche, and meet a few life-long friends. Let Google Profile have your email so that you can receive the personalized comment replies bloggers want to give you. And most of all, Be Yourself!

And… If you’re following me and I’ve not reciprocated, please let me know. Give me a link, I’d love to find out all about you!
Happy Monday, friends!


  1. Good thoughts, particularly regarding followers. I've recently figured out it's good business to reciprocate to those who follow your blog. But what if you're not interested? I then realized I don't have to actually read every blog I follow, do I? In our busy lives, it's hard to manage time, and so choosing which blogs I read is part of my prioritizing without offending anyone. (Obviously, I read your blog!)

  2. JACKEE--I try to follow everyone who follows me. At first I only kept writers on my blog roll and the others on my dashboard, but them I found I didn't check my dashboard enough, so I put everyone on my blog roll. I'm trying to work on putting them into groups, so readers can look at the groups and say, Oh I'm interested in YA writers so I'll check out such and such blog. I have a section for agents/editors another section for resources for writers, but selfishly I have a section for my critique group and soon will have another section for my other critique group. I organize my roll mostly for my benefit...Hopefully, some one else can use it too. :)

    An agent once told me to read five new blogs a's a good idea, so I choose the five new blogs a day that I read from one of the current blogs I subscribe to...I figure like minds to learn from. :)

    I can't read every blog everyday, so sometimes I start at the top of the list and sometimes the bottom. The colors on my blog roll tell me if I've read that post which is helpful.

    If someone new reads my blog, I immediately check out their blog. I blog about three hours a night. (When I'm supposedly eatching tv with my husband.)

    Great topic!

  3. I wish I could help with the technical issue. I don't know why some blog links show up and some don't. I've been told people have had trouble with mine and I'm clueless as to how to fix it.

    I'm with you on the rest though. I've got verification off and my email on and I LOVE google reader!

  4. I definitely follow the bloggers who follow me! If they are regular commenters on my blog, I always comment on their blog. If I've tried commenting several times and they never reciprocate then I stop commenting.

    I'm not sure about the techinical things. I have the same problem that you do. Great topic!

  5. We all struggle with this, but it is a good kind of problem. Too many friends--who would've thought that was bad! :D
    I know a lot of people are starting to use email response, because they say people don't return to a blog to see if there is a response. I still like to have dialogue in my comment section. It makes it feel like an old-fashioned salon where people exchange ideas.

  6. I think if you click on their link and their blog doesn't come up it's because they've blocked their profile. But I could be wrong. I go through and look at everyone's blog that I follow, but sometimes I can only comment on my core group of followers and commenters because of time or some other constraint. It really depends on how many blogs you follow and how many followers you have.

    Blogging can be very time consuming. And if I follow and comment and the other person doesn't reciprocate, I stop dropping by. That might sound harsh, but it really is all about the time.

  7. Oooh these are good questions! Don't worry - I sometimes click on a person's picture to return the follow, but there is no link. This is their fault - they need to adjust their settings - not yours. And blogging etiquette... I unfollow if a blog hasn't been updated in a month, and I don't feel guilty about it. We are doing them a favor by following and being interested in what they have to say, and if they can't put in the commitment to blog at least once or twice a week, then there are other bloggers that can go on the bloglist. I always try to comment back for my commenters, and look around for bloggers who haven't gotten many awards to give my new ones to.

  8. I don't know if you are following me or not, but if not I'd love to have you! I went for awhile with no link on my profile, and when I noticed I freaked "How did THAT disappear?" and I promptly put it back in. Every blogger needs to check things frequently to make sure their blog is easy to access. I comment and follow people who comment on my posts. I don't always follow those who follow me, but I try. And I think it has to be fun. The second it becomes drudgery, I'll pull back. As for the voice, that develops over time, but one thing i know is that it has to be true, can't be fake or forced or it just won't be appealing.

  9. The only etiquette I really follow is to follow those who follow me. Wow, that is not my finest sentence. Anyhow, other than that, I just try to be myself, and hope that's enough. My blog is kinda un-flashy in that there are no polls or contests or anything yet, and I'd like to improve on that, but I'm new at all this too. So, I appreciate your post!

    As far as reading and commenting. I set aside time each day, read what I can, comment on what I feel like. It is a job, but it's fun. Like writing.

    With all those followers, you must be doing something right!! I'm learning from YOU! :)

  10. nice entry - blogging is interesting, to be sure. I am not sure my stance on any of it...I just know I like to write and I have a small group of real followers (very small) and I've decided it is to them I write. Because trying to reach out and gain new readership on a constant basis is not working for me - no time - and it takes the heart out of my blog...the more energy I waist trying to gain readership, the less energy I have writing and keeping my blog the way I want it to stay...a fun and frivolous place ....

  11. Great points! I think a lot of people haven't linked their blog to their Google profile yet. It's sad because there are some people I want to follow back but I can't.

    Blogging does take a lot of time but I really enjoy it!

    And I agree - those pop-up word verifications really annoy me!

  12. I lurked for a couple of years, before I had a blog. Now that I know how much fun it is to get comments and interact with other bloggers, I wish I'd quit lurking a long time ago.

    And I'm not trying to build a platform. I blog because i love reading writing blogs. If I ever get to the point where I need a platform, I'll worry about it.

  13. I’m not sure what you mean by “security pop-up windows”. When someone wants to leave a comment on my blog I have the link pop-up rather than reload the entire page, but I don’t require word verification. Is that the same thing or is it different? To avoid spam I do have comment moderation turned on for posts over a week old.

    I’ve tried Google Reader, but it so messy. At least it seems that way to me. I created a blog that lists all the blogs I follow listing their most recent post. Then I click, click, click my way through them.

    In regards to commenting on comments, it depends. Sometimes I’ll response within my comments but I know how hard it is to find a blog I’ve commented on, so now I go to their blog and respond there when appropriate.

    I don’t have my email available because I often dread checking my email. :)

    I’m still learning the ins-and-outs of the blogging world too. Is there any way to unfollow without feeling guilty? I don’t know.

  14. Oh, and I tend not to notice new followers for a while, but I always check out blogs of commenters and reciprocate in kind - usually that reminds me to look at my followers and then I reciprocate there too.

  15. I'm also not sure if you are following me or not, but like the lovely KarenG, would be very happy if you did!

    I am definitely more about reaching out, making a connection, writing for the fun of it, and just really enjoying my blog. I like posting, I like commenting, but you are right - it is tricky as there is simply not enough time in the day to respond as I would like, and I have to give time to my writing as well. I am always waiting for the mythical balance to shake in and then I'll be able to do it all seamlessly! Hm, wonder when that will happen...? :)

  16. It's all good, Jackee. I think we all struggle with enough of the same issues not be offended by the little things. Enjoy yourself, do what you can do, and we'll love ya no matter what! :-)

  17. Thanks for popping over to my blog, Jackee. I followed you back. Great Shakespeare quote, and these are terrific questions. I'm still figuring out all this stuff, too ... recently learned how to import my blog to the "notes" app in facebook, which I thought was pretty cool!

  18. Enjoyed this Jackee. I saw a blog today that looked exactly how I wanted my blog to look, but I have no clue how to accomplish it. Also now that I saw someone else has the beautiful blog I had envisioned for myself, it would be a little like plagiarism...wouldn't it? Don't answer that.

  19. You ask lots of good questions. And I see you've gotten some helpful responses.

    It's important to do what you think is write. If you want to lurk, go ahead. It's legal!

    I'm just finding out about Google Reader & might try it sometime.

    I'm new to blogging myself but I have noticed that there are a lot of highly talented bloggers out there. And you're definitely 1 of them. :)

  20. waste. not waist. I am an English Major and teacher no less. Tired brain equals poor spelling.

    thanks for coming to visit my blog!

  21. I asked my critique group this same thing a few months ago. This is what they told me.

    1. Find your voice and keep it.
    2. Write things on your blog you enjoy so it doesn't become a chore.
    3. Don't worry so much if people come and go (which I did too much of.)

    My own advice:
    1. I'm okay with security checks, it means a little bit longer on the site, but that's fine with me.
    2. I have an email attatched so I can reply to those who reply to me. I think it helps us connect as bloggers.
    3. I only post once a week so I'm not so stressed about having a great post.
    4. I try to follow those who follow me and leave comments (because to me, it feels like they care about what I have to say and I care about what they have to say).
    Okay, This is super long (sorry). I hope this helps. =)

  22. I just found your blog over from Write because you must! I love her blog and I'm loving yours!!

    I've been on the blogosphere for a little under 2 months and love all the wonderful people that are on here, I am constantly inspired and moved by those around me regarding their goals and aspirations. It keeps me going!!

  23. Jackee - Great thoughts! I get a little frustrated too when I click on a new follower's profile and it doesn't direct me to their blog, because I want to check them out and follow them, too! I'm pretty sure this is because they haven't included their blog link in their profile, because I had mine set up that way at first, and after a while I went back and checked and realized it wasn't showing up and people couldn't get to me that way.

    You are such a gracious blogger! You were my first real follower that wasn't someone I already new. Because you followed me, I went from lurker to actual blogger. Thank you!

  24. Such a nice post Jackee. I seriously don't know how people keep up with lots of blogs....I do my best, but only in the evenings, and I often miss stuff I wish I hadn't.

    I want to turn of the word verification on my blog, but as I cannot check it from work, I worry that if something really awful is put in the posts (usually adds for something inappropriate on a children's author blog), I won't see it soon enough...


  25. Lots of good questions! Elana is ablogging genius & all around great lady! Her advice is gold.

    I'm working from an iTouch so I'll keep it short. Some people's profiles won't let me find them unless they leave a comment - don't know why. I respond to all on my blog - might go to email at some point.

    I love your advice to be yourself - so true!

  26. I love finding new blogs to follow ... new friends to make ... new lessons to learn :)

  27. I have had a hard time lately of keeping up with everyone. I do believe that returning the favor on comments is important to keep people around. I am guilty of taking awhile to get back to someone, but give me time and I will eventually do it.

    Sometimes blogging does seem like a job though. When it feels like that for me I just walk away for a bit and come back refreshed so it isn't so forced.

  28. These are all great thoughts. I believe I'm going to have to make another post with just all YOUR comments!

    And to be clear: word verifcations are great and good for many reasons, but they become a hassle when you write your comment then push publish only to have another window open with a word verification. They are best embedded, if used at all. Like Southpaw and Shelley (storyqueen) mentioned, they have valid places for use.

    I wouldn't mind word verications at all (and used them until recently) except when I comment I move on quickly and the comment is sometimes lost before it's posted. :o) Elana had a great post on this last week. Check it out!

  29. Argghhh, can't figure out the technology part :( Don't know why when you click on my little picture it doesn't show my blog link. It's like that for a lot of people! Anyhow, I guess that'll teach me, I need to comment more!

    Thanks for the heads up!

  30. Oh just few little questions. :)

    Yes, my email is linked. I like it when others do that so I can respond personally to their comment if I want to.

    I think a number of followers don't have blogs, but still want to follow other blogs, hence why nothing shows up when you check their profile.

    I used to have a blog roll, but I follow so many great blogs, it became too much of a mess on my blog. Now I access them through my dashboard.

    I loved Elana's advice. It's what helped me gain 60 new followers in a week!

  31. First of all, I came here because you came to me. So that is working! You left a great and complimentary comment on my blog, and I had to come over to reciprocate!

    My biggest problem is time. I have two young kids, so getting around to everyone's blogs each day, or even once a week, has become hard. Especially now that we are outside all the time instead of curled up away from the winter weather!

    So how do I post and expect commenters without taking the time to do the same? Obviously, something has to change. I can't give up my kids totally (hmmm...), but I can budget an hour a day to visiting blogs.

    So that's really my two cents...Glad to have found you! Thanks for finding me!


  32. Elana is the blog master. I think the more we can do to make our blog interactive and create conversations in the comments, the more rewarding it is for us as writers and (hopefully) our readers. We always appreciate it when readers leave their e-mail address in their blogger profile because it makes it easier for us to connect with them.

  33. I agree that Elana Johnson has been a great resource. She's a cool person too.

    Oh blog etiquette. I've been asking myself similar questions these days. I want to follow, but don't have time to follow everyone who follows me. I try to periodically check our followers that I don't follow. I'll check out the posts of all commenters each time they comment.

    Not everyone links their blogs in Blogger, which is a problem. If that's you - fix it!

  34. I think you pretty much summed it up perfectly! I think you need to be yourself and not worry about how many followers you have. And by reaching out and truly befriending fellow bloggers, your blog will grow all on it's own. But it looks to me like your blog is doing just great already!

    Thanks for visiting my blog, I'm glad you did so I could find yours :)

  35. I always make sure to follow anyone who is kind enough to follow me and recipricate with a response if one is left for me. I think as writers we have such a special community online. I love meeting new authors and catching up with their blogs.

  36. I have a hard time giving advice on blogging because I'm actually quite inept at it. This is a learn by trial and error thing with me. There's an award for you at my blog. :)

  37. Very nice post. :) I've found the Reader is more accurate than my dashboard in Blogger. I like emailing responses to comments, because it feels more personal that way to me. :) I hate word verification.

    And I think you've summed it up very nicely--it's important to be yourself. That, I think, is what gets people to come back. :)

  38. So many good questions, and comments! I too have had the experience of wanting to write back to someone who commented, and then for the life of me not being able to figure out where that person's link is! By the way, I'm impressed by the quality of the comments on this thread. I think we should open a shop where we sell our blogging advice, like those people in the market stalls of olden days. I'll man it 4-6 on Tuesdays.

  39. Great post, Jackee. I'm still figuring stuff out too.

    I've also had trouble visiting people's blogs through their profiles, and I think it's the way they set it up. Sometimes I can trace someone back via a comment easier than his or her profile.

    Blogs are cool and such an easy way to meet other writers. Time is definitely my biggest issue.

  40. This is a great post and I don't know how I missed it, Jackee! I've been thinking a lot about it lately and it is great to read what others think! Thank you.

  41. You bring up some good questions. The way I blog is this: follow anyone I like and even some people I don't :) haha there really isn't anyone that blogs that I don't like, but I just follow everyone, even if they don't follow me back. I try to post about once a week and try not to overdo the same subjects all the time (of course mine is a personal blog so it's a little different) I try to give shout outs to people within my posts and tag them hoping that they will be able to find more followers as well. I don't make my blog searchable on google because it's a personal blog and I don't like the idea of just anyone finding me. My hair blog on the other hand is a little different :) I also reply to people on the blog, on email and on facebook depending on the situation and who I think can benefit from my reply. I don't know if a lot of people have follow up comments sent to them so if it's a direct comment back, or an answer to a one on one type question I just message them on facebook with the answer. If it's more general or something everyone can enjoy I comment back within comments so that future readers can enjoy it too. That's just me :)