We all love to get new followers on our blogs. Isn’t it great to see that notification that so-and-so is now following your blog? Remember the first one? What a good feeling. Not only did someone actually read your stuff, they clicked ‘Like’, then followed to read more. It seemed to add value to the blogging experience like nothing else, and made starting out all the more worthwhile.
Then they came back! They carried on reading, continued to leave comments, and even engaged with other followers. In many cases, they followed others who followed you, and you followed some (or all) of them back. Before you knew it, there was a community. A definite group of regulars, valued and treasured, giving extra purpose to your daily blogging, and soon feeling like good friends too.
As time went on, you might have started to notice that many of those followers never once left a comment. If you took the time to visit their own blogs, you might have been confused to find that their posts were always about blogging. Driving traffic on blogs, maximising your audience, monetizing your blog posts, and optimising your ‘opportunity’. The numbers of blog followers continued to mount, and pretty soon you were thrilled to discover that you had 100 followers. WordPress sent you a congratulatory notification, and it felt really good. Remember that?
If you were lucky, that figure rose to 1,000, then 2,000, and in my case 3,413, as of this morning. But then I started to feel ungrateful. The comments were from the same people all the time. Those good, solid bloggers. The people who worried if you went missing, the people who emailed you privately to discuss things not suitable for blog comments. The people who had stuck with you for six years, and survived your blogging insecurities, as well as the ups and downs of your posts. What had happened to the other 3,000 ‘followers’?
Some had stopped blogging. A few had sadly died, and many had grown tired of your similar output, and moved on to something more exciting to read. One or two had violently disagreed with an expressed opinion, and others just seemed to be on ‘Pause’, popping up out of the blue, after very long absences.
New followers replaced some of those lost. They engaged, commented, and became familiar; blogging friends from afar, with their own stories to tell, or interests to share. But most were still trying to sell something, offer a paid service, merely promote a book, or asking you to ‘follow back’, to build their own stats.
Since last Saturday, I have been notified of no less than twelve new followers. I should be over the moon that twelve strangers want to follow my blog. I should be grateful that they took the time to read a post, liked what they saw, and clicked to follow my humble blog. Of course, I went onto their sites to add my thanks, read some of their posts, and to see if I might want to follow back. But I wearily discovered that ten of those bloggers were not real bloggers at all. Six of the sites were just offering to ‘drive traffic’ onto my blog. One was selling a range of cosmetic products for women, and another just re-printing texts from The Bible, to warn me of the impending apocalypse. Another listed a baffling array of drugs and elixirs that would make me live longer, and the last one was offering to find me a bride in China. None of the ten had read a single post, obviously, or they would have known how unsuitable their blogs were to me.
These people are just spammers, ones who have managed to slip though the net by creating what looks like a blog, and following others to promote themselves. Without wishing to appear ungrateful, I do have a message for anyone like that.
Please don’t follow my blog.