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.
I completely agree – I’d much rather have 10 completely loyal and devoted followers who take the time to read my posts, leave comments and start up conversations about various topics than 100 half-arsed followers who don’t speak to me!
It’s great that you always take the time to comment on other people’s blogs too – I try and do the same (as you can probably tell from the bazillions of comments I’ve left you! Haha) but you do notice the ones that never bother to reply or return the favour xx
Absolutely Jenny – I’m the same! I love having a dialogue with those interested in the same things as me, and you’re a big part of that. I would always rather hear from people, especially if something isn’t quite right. Haha I love the bazilion comments and I’m sure others do too – it’s so easy to just like a post but to not give feedback and explain what you liked, but all of that is so helpful to us bloggers to know that you enjoy what we do. I understand that some bloggers are overrun by comments but no matter how many I had, I would always reply or like them to show acknowledgement. Sometimes you’ll get a replay a week or two later but it still means something because you know the blogger has taken time to read it. xxx
I totally agree with you. I had a little drama with online privacy a few months back and I am vigilant on social media now. I try to keep my blogging life and social life separate. But I am friends with a few select bloggers!
I also hate the follow for follow comments.
You poor thing Jess – it’s a very fine line between the public life of a blogger and retaining a private life, but we are all entitled to keep things to ourselves and to separate certain areas of our lives. I’m glad you got your situation sorted and hope nothing like that happens again for you. I’m the same, a few bloggers who I am a bit closer with have graduated to facebook friends but I’m always very guarded about who I become friends with on there because I find that so much more personal for some reason… Have you got any other tips for keeping things separate and maintaining privacy? I keep thinking I should have a separate Twitter for my blog but don’t want to lose all my followers who follow my personal one for blog stuff in the process – plus I’m not sure if I have time to manage two as well as the ones for both of my jobs.. xxx
Reblogged this on The Voice of Social Media.
Very informative post and identifies the numerous social media available though it makes one wonder how one finds the time to work and maintain a social media presence. What can I add,, perhaps be selective as to who we accept as a friend on Facebook as most of use FB for family and social interaction including aspects of life that makes us tick. In my case cruising , dog rescues, news from UK, Barbados and such. Yet , if you look within it identifies my outer life and my pictures identify my family , travels and silly , stupid ones to makes one laugh. On the Blog side I write a cruise blog and to make it a bit different than the thousands of others in vapour world , it is devoted to where I live , Vancouver Island for the Alaska Cruise season.
I did use Twitter and finally got fed up while my wife and daughter use FB, Twitter, Instagram , and numerous others.
I am now retired, missed my fortune in buying shares in IBM but was one of those nerds who was in the early days of punch cards , male / female wiring plug boards and left managing medical telecommunication systems. Have my PC and Mac humming and until I retired never had the time even though I worked electronically from home to use social media. So my cruise blog was my initial attempt at blogging course being a geek I married my cruising interest to be the reason to share a bit about others and myself. I admire those of you who actually write as in todays version of a daily journal which gives me an idea to make my blog more personal.
My FB started as my more direct friend outreach but I have discovered some real jerks exist and make comments that can ruin one’s day so they are vaporized real fast. . My reading allows me to walk into blogs and if I like the blog I will add to my blog list so my email notification says , ok Rob ,, lets have a read and you all are wonderful as it allows me to laugh, learn and share. Speaking of sharing ,, I have gone on too long , sorry about that , time for breakfast
Cheers / Rob
Thanks Rob 🙂 I know exactly what you mean, I work one full time and one part time job, manage social media for my personal accounts, my blog, and both jobs – I don’t know how I keep up! That’s great advice, definitely something I’m trying to stick to in order to keep my two lives separate – and if you have different interests in each area – as you do – that can also benefit your readers 🙂 I find your journey from stocks to blogging amazing – such a change in lifestyle and work compared to those of us just starting out. You should make your blog whatever you want it to be – don’t feel you have to make it more personal if you like it being general, but if you do want to make it more personal I’m sure your readers would enjoy that too 🙂 at the end of the day, your blog is your own and if you don’t write what you love, people won’t love to read it! You’re so right, I think as long as the anonymity of a screen exists, there will always be trolls and jerks who want to bring others down. Th trick is, like you say, to get rid of them quick and put them out of your mind. Haha thanks so much for the comment Rob – have really enjoyed it 🙂 Hope all goes well for you in blogging – will be interested to see how your blog develops over time! xx
I agree with you 100 percent, there are soooo many losers out there that are all clambering for views and followers that they go to such extremes as paying for empty followers and such…And I hate when people try to guilt me into a follow back as well….What I do though is add people that I meet from virtually anywhere to my personal Facebook, because i find it easier to engage with people than for my other business fb accounts.. its all inclusive…I don’t know i think ppl just need to step back and realize what things are acceptable in life…because the internet rules really aren’t that different
Thanks lovely 🙂 you’re right – it’s such a waste of time trying to guilt me – the more people try to persuade me the less likely I am to do it! That’s why the delete button exists! haha I can’t believe people are sad enough to pay for followers – why not just put a little time into being yourself? Far more worthwhile! That’s a very different way of working with your Facebook but it sounds like you have a great system and it works well for you 🙂 You’re right, I think some people get behind a screen and forget common courtesy – it’s just basic manners at the end of the day!
and I find it so intriguing that you have a pet tortoise…not even a turtle but a tortoise…you never see pretty ladies with reptile pets, thats such a draw….ok I’m done here loll
hahaha thanks! He’s such a babe 🙂 you can read a lot more about him in these posts if you’re interested – http://wp.me/p3SwKd-gw and http://wp.me/p3SwKd-9I 🙂 enjoy!
I used to worry a lot about the numbers in the early days. Especially since interacting with bloggers in the Mumsnet circle, many of whom have lovely blogs and very nice people, but seem to get hundreds of views each day. I just can’t do that whole lifestyle blog thing – I don’t have enough of a lifestyle.
Nowdays I accept that I will never compete on that level, and indeed, it’s not even a competition. It’s all about exchanging ideas, having my thoughts stimulated, learning about different people’s lives, getting something new in my blog reader and twitter that I wouldn’t have thought about otherwise.
Your blog ticks the boxes on all of these!
Also I have limited time to comment and answer, and I want to be able to have meaningful conversations with peopleI know fairly well, and not leave people feeling neglected.
I know what you mean Denise – I did too, but it means you are in competition with yourself all the time and it’s not nice to feel down because you can’t keep up. I stopped worrying about it all and focused on the writing and amazingly that was when my views and comments increased – people come back for great content not mediocre stuff 🙂 Thanks that’s such a lovely thing to say! I know exactly what you mean – I prefer leaving a great comment on a few peoples’ blogs than liking 10 posts. It means so much more to the blogger and brings more interaction 🙂 I think you’re doing great as you are and as long as you’re enjoying what you do – that is the main thing!
Yep, totally agree with your musings on this one. I have blogged or to put it better, bleated about “blog for money” followers a couple of times before. Its a pity that WordPress doesn’t have the “block follower” function as I would of been reaching for it a few times before now.
Thanks – It really is annoying and I know what you mean, sometimes it would be great just to cut the problem off at the start before they get too persistent!
I always find it difficult when to ask for people to have a look at my blog and begging for more views. In some ways you genuinely want that person to look and in others you don’t want to badger them! You’ve made some very valid points…thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks Leasha – love your name! So pretty 🙂 I know what you mean – but I have found that in the long run that it is best just to focus on content and your writing rather than views because the readers follow that. I still share my posts and links with those writing on similar subjects if I would like their input on the subject, which I find really helpful – especially if its a differing viewpoint. But I don’t generally ask for people to look at my site because I feel it’s a bit too forceful, I prefer to leave insightful comments and let them choose whether to have a look or not and it seems to work 🙂 xxx