The explosion of social media and the internet during my lifetime means that unlike our parents, the online generation have been exposed to a whole new world of social politics through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and various other apps and sites. It’s actually crazy to think that in my lifetime, things have developed from that huge box computer in my dining room, which was ridiculously slow and blocked the phone line, to a world of laptops, iPads and smart phones. But it has happened, and with it has come a whole new social etiquette that can make or break friendships and career opportunities – as us bloggers know only too well.
Now there is the complicated web of retaining boundaries by separating personal accounts from professional, through dividing friends across Facebook and Twitter depending on your relationship, and even having a system for following people back. It’s just crazy that this is something we even have to think about – but I’ve noticed as my blog has grown over the last seven months that I have had to think more and more about these types of things, and I’m sure that many others have felt the same. So, after a lot of thought, I have come to a few conclusions over blogging social etiquette that I think might help out other bloggers who might have found themselves in a similar position.
I’ve noticed that as my blog and social media sites grow with more followers, readers and comments daily, that while most of them are people interested in my writing and reading what I am putting out into the world, there are also a small proportion who are just interested in gaining more followers. This to me is just sad. I absolutely love when I get new followers because they have seen a post of mine or they have engaged in discussion of a topic with me. I love meeting other bloggers through the FBL and Lbloggers chats because we all engage with each other and talk about topics we share interests in. So when people just follow to ask for a follow back, or they follow you and if you haven’t returned the favour within 24 hours they unfollow you – I just find this a) incredibly rude and b) just plain ridiculous. I just don’t understand what these people think they are gaining by having high numbers of followers or “friends” who are not interested in what they have to say or are posting.
I am lucky to have so many Facebook friends and Twitter followers because I have so many who do interacts with me on a daily basis both about day-to-day life and about my blog posts. I value my readers and appreciate their comments and feedback – so I just can’t understand why some would rather have faceless and nameless masses of followers who never speak up or give you any feedback.
So, I have made myself some new rules that I thought might also help my fellow bloggers:
- I will no longer be following back those who ask me to follow them, but if you ask me to check out your blog I will happily do so and if I like what I read I will return the favour, as I do often.
- If you comment or message me asking me to follow you so that you will follow me – it is an instant no-no because what is the point in that?
- If you follow me on Twitter, I will check out your Twitter and any blogs – if I like what you post and have to say, I will return the favour but only then. I love my newsfeeds on all of these sites because they show up the topics and information that I find interesting and inspiring. I refuse for them to be clogged up with spam and rubbish instead.
- I will continue – as I have always done – to leave three lovely comments on other bloggers’ sites every day. This is something I have done from the beginning because I think it encourages us to be more of a community and I love to give positive feedback to great posts. I expect nothing in return – just to have put a smile on someone’s face.
- I will very rarely become Facebook friends with those I meet through blogging or work – this is because I have a Facebook page for my blog and would prefer to use that. But also, because my personal Facebook page is for close friends, school friends and family. I will on occasion break this rule if I have become close friends with other bloggers – but this just helps me retain a little privacy.
I hope this hasn’t come across negatively, but I think that when we are all as busy as we are, not all of us have time to sift through the genuine followers and friends as well as the true ones. I would much rather spend my time talking to those who are genuinely interested in reading what I have to say and discussing it instead of those who just want to up their digits. I have a wonderful core following of readers and I appreciate every comment you leave, every tweet you send and every Facebook like. It is what keeps me writing these posts and excitedly waiting for feedback – everything you guys have to say is what fuels my mind and my hands to want to type the next piece. Thanks for all your feedback guys and I hope this post will help my fellow bloggers in making their own set of rules for dealing with the follow-back demands.
What other social media and blogging advice would you give? Comment below and you could be helping other bloggers.