Friday, September 16, 2011

Why Follow?

It's Friday. For my final post in my series on following I'm going to keep it short.

I just wanted to share some thoughts on what following means, why I do it, and how I go about reading blogs.

What does it mean when I follow you? It's a bit like a promise. I don't follow people arbitrarily, just hoping that they'll follow me back. I don't follow blogs that aren't about writing and publishing (unless they're really funny). Anyway, back to that promise. What I mean is that I follow a blog, because its content interests me, and relates to my own writing career and feeble attempts at achieving publication, and when I follow, it means I promise to come back.

That doesn't necessarily mean every day. It doesn't necessarily mean tomorrow. There are blogs I read every day, without fail. And even one I check on weekends, when I can. It does mean that I will be back. I wouldn't take the time to follow if I didn't want to come back.

When I read blogs every single weekday, I have a method. There are a few blogs I load up every morning, because I know they post daily, and I consider the people who run them good friends of mine, and I care what they have to say. I load these blogs from the links I keep on my sidebar. When I'm done reading them I go to my blogger dashboard, and check the rest of the blogs I follow to see if they have posted something new. I do not open every single post that comes up in my dashboard. I read posts that have interesting titles or pictures, or seem relevant to a current trend I'm curious about.

If a blog doesn't post something new between about 5 AM Eastern and around 11 AM, I am highly unlikely to ever see it. That is my blog reading time. If you want me to read your blog, you should try to post sometime during that time.

Now this is starting to come off rantish, and that wasn't my intent. This is just the way I do things, and it certainly doesn't mean that everyone has to do it the same way.

How do you go about reading blogs? What makes you decide to follow a blog? What keeps you from following a blog? Do I make any sense, ever?

55 comments:

Creepy Query Girl said...

come have some friday follower's bloffee! I mentioned you:) *bats eyelashes and holds out a hot mug*

Sarah Pearson said...

My new posts are listed on my feedly reader. I read most of them between 7 and 9am on weekdays and then keep up with them in breaks during the day.

I open the pages of everyone I follow, although there are some 'technical' blogs that I skim read.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You make sense to me!
I keep the blogs I follow organized in folders in my Google Reader. I hit my blogger buddies first (there are close to two hundred of you!), then the specialty blogs, then those in the file for that day of the week, then I go back and visit those who've commented but I haven't visited yet. At the end of the day, I clear out the Google Reader.

Laura M. Campbell said...

Like you, there are specific blogs I try to visit weekly because they're my friends. Other than that, I peruse the blogger dashboard. I read the titles, the little blurb and look at pictures to decide what I want to read.

When it comes to following a blog, the voice and style of writing are #1 and #2 on my list. #3 is subject matter. The majority of blogs I follow are writing related, the others are very well written or very interesting. Those three criteria will also turn me off from a blog if the writer doesn't catch my attention. I'm also turned off by people who post sporadically. It requires too much work on my part to determine if they've posted.

Pardon me while I butcher this quote, "The difference between genius and insanity is audience." You will always make sense to someone!

Andrea Mack said...

I tend to read blogs early in the day too, as a little "warm up" before I start my writing time. Sometimes, I'll look at them again later if I have time to kill while making dinner. I usually read the titles and beginnings in my blog reader, then investigate further if they catch my interest.

Jonathon Arntson said...

I am much more sporadic about my blog reading. I do auto-follow because it's just so easy. My sidebar represents the blogs I read most often, but I even find myself disenchanted with those every so often. I should find a method to my madness...but whatevs.

Amanda Bonilla said...

Like you, I follow blogs that interest me. I read blogs mainly between 7 and 9 in the morning. I don't always comment unless I have something to say in regards to the post. But I read all of the blogs that I follow. Some I skim, some I really take time with. It doesn't matter to me how many times a blogger posts, and I follow writers, reviewers, foodies, and photographers. And anyone who simply stands out to me.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm exactly the same, Matt. The only reason I'll read your blog outside my regular blogging time (5:00 to 7:30 am) is because you've left a comment on my blog, and I've visited yours in the evening. It's the only way I can keep up with comments. I used to check the dashboard later in the afternoon, but I can't do it anymore.

Michael G-G said...

I definitely read the blogs on my sidebar. After that, it's pretty hit and miss, especially is I'm knee deep in a writing project. I do always try to comment back to a comment on my blog (so I really appreciate it if there's an easy e-mail link back.) Matt, you are the master of comment-reply!

Mary said...

I use Google Reader to get updates from the blogs I follow. I do read the blogs that appear there everyday, but I do not always comment on them. I guess that makes me somewhat of a lurker, but in reality, I don't always have time to make comments, or have anything to say that hasn't already been said.

Carrie said...

I mostly follow writing blogs but also follow blogs of friends I know in real life. I try to read in the morning but if I don't get that done I'll try to stop by again later in the day.

elizabethreinhardt said...

I read a little here and there all day while the kids aren't going nuts! Blogs sort of take the place of news sites (since so many of them are filled with articles featuring kind of non-essentials, like Beyonce's baby bump...not that I'm not happy for B; I'd just rather read someone's funny/insightful/intelligent blog). I tend to post a tad later than you readers read; but since morning reads seems to be a trend, I may try to revamp my post times. Great post!

Becky Mahoney said...

I do my blog reading first thing in the morning, and I check throughout the day when I have time. My job, as a rule, tends to involve a lot of waiting (since I arrange a lot of meetings for my bosses, I have to wait on a lot of answers) so I write my posts while I'm waiting on phone calls. I usually do end up posting during the morning, too. By the afternoon I have usually slipped into a coma at my desk.

mooderino said...

I skim most blogs in Google reader and visit the ones that catch my interest. I don't think you can rely on people posting at a time to suit you, but you can collect all the posts in one convenient place and read them at your leisure.


mood
Moody Writing
@mooderino

Shannon said...

I really like this post, Matt. I think it's interesting how and why people you read blogs. You're far more disciplined than I am when it comes to blogging time. My approach is a lot more loose. I'm taking notes.

Hugs n shit,
Shan

Shain Brown said...

Most of my blog reading falls in line with yours. I read in the morning on and off until about 11AM. I post my blog on Tuesday and Thursday at 6 AM. And I try to set aside a little time on the weekend for any updating on my blog, catching up on any posts I want to read, and often times searching for new bloggers that have the same writing interest as I do.

Matthew MacNish said...

Mood - I didn't mean to imply that people ought to change their blogging habits to suit me. Sorry if it came across that way.

I already read hundreds of blogs every morning, and I don't plan on checking back at night. I don't have a problem with missing some posts, if that ends up happening, but I do sometimes end up reading a post that was put up the night before, the next morning. That usually happens if I'm checking someone's blog who commented on mine.

Carolyn V said...

I have a group of people I read and consider bloggy friends that I read everyday.

Then I have personal author friends (because I live where there are a ton of us), but don't follow as well, because I can pick up the phone and call them.

Last I have people I follow, but don't visit because there are only so many blogs I can fit into my day. Wish I could visit everyone, but...that would be impossible (especially since I have writing deadlines).

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've tried to organize my Google Reader, but that doesn't always work. I try to hit a few favorites and concentrate on those who've left comments on my blog.

Hart Johnson said...

So if I push back my posting time by 2 hours, you're more likely to see it? Aw, come on... don't you look what was posted over night? Come on, man... you gotta throw me a bone!

I used my blog roll and responding to commenters almost exclusively. The ones I skip tend to be book reviews (I have no money to buy new books, so it just makes me sad), though when I am behind, which I always am, I will choose stuff that looks like personal news or humor over other stuff.

Old Kitty said...

If it has a cat/dog/horse/donkey/goat and any other non-biped creature in it, I follow the blog! LOL!

So ends the method to my blogging madness!

But seriously - I just go through my blog list every day - and try to reach each one who has updated. I sneak in comments when I'm at work too! Yikes! These days I follow rarely and am very very loyal to my very early followers - ones who've stuck with me for the last two years - it's great to see their blogs evolve - I like that!

Take care
x

Laura Marcella said...

My method is pretty similar to yours! My reading time varies though. I read most blogs in the morning because that's when I post before my writing time, but later in the day I stop back and check out more blogs if I have time.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Like you, I keep the blogs I especially don't want to miss on my sidebard. Even then, when things are very busy, I don't always get to those for every post. But I try. I also either visit or email the blog of anyone who takes the time to comment on one of my posts. When time permits (and lately that hasn't been often) I like to to my dashboard and check out what people I follow have had to say. Is something looks interesting, I'll pop in and read the post and comment so they know I dropped by.

My challenge is that as my number of followers grows, it's getting harder and harder to keep in touch with them. And I've made some wonderful friends out there. I don't want to lose contact.

See, if I just didn't have a full-time job I could play more. Dang real life!

Chris Phillips said...

I decide to follow other blogs if the blog is written by a hot chick. I'm pretty sure I followed your blog because my cursor got stuck and to unstick it I had to double click and when I did I inadvertently clicked follow. Thought it would be tacky to unfollow, but not that tacky to tell you about it in the comments section of your blog.

Wine and Words said...

We are ying-yang. I generally do not follow blogs about writing and publishing. So why am I on yours? Why are you on mine? There's a reason. Someday we will know :)

Ted Cross said...

I use my blog roll, so I can check the titles to see what sounds interesting, and it will also let me know when I reach blogs that I already read, that way I don't miss any.

Angela Brown said...

You make perfect sense.

Those who want to be sure followers are reading should take heed to the timeframe you mentioned. You may not be the only follower with a set blog reading time.

I use my my Dashboard to read blogs I follow. I try to read every new blog, maybe because I'm still in blog-happy-overdrive.

Sarah said...

I do make more of an effort to read the blogs of people who comment frequently on mine, or with whom I interact on twitter. Aside from that... interesting titles! Content that seems a little different from the norm or involving issues I'm currently interested in.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Now that I've returned from some time off I have to redo my blogging read time. I'm unsure how I'm going to go about that yet.

Nicole Zoltack said...

There are some blogs I visit every day and others I check out when the blog post title catches my eye. I wish I had more time to visit more blogs.

Heather Kelly said...

Matt--You read hundreds of blogs each day??? OH, my. I am trying to find a new groove. I have spent more time writing (which is good), but I want to maintain blog presence as well. I have not been able to find a balance recently, but I think I'm going to focus most of my blog reading on Thursdays or Fridays (except for close friends) and maybe follow down a few interesting tweeted blog posts.

More and more, I'm relying on tweets to find out where to go for interesting, timely information.

Carol Riggs said...

Aw, Matthew, I had to come over and give you a cyberhug ((hugg)) after seeing your comment over at Stina's blog. As far as me following blogs--I follow anyone who follows me (within reason; I can't read Russian, for instance), but the ones I really read simply offer interesting posts. And that is subjective, no? I tend to glaze over when someone posts excerpts of their own work; I'm not interested in that kind of blog. Am I mean? Dunno. ;o)

Kelly Polark said...

Yes, I will follow if it's about writing or seems interesting. And like you said, if it's funny. I love the funny.
I do find it hard to keep up with so many, so I try to at least visit once a week.

Laura Pauling said...

I comment b/c I have something to say. I follow b/c hopefully I will be back but it doesn't always happen.

And did I see Andrew's blog, right? Is he writing a Marbury Lens' 2? I hope so.

Bish Denham said...

These have been great posts Matt. Maybe I should reschedule my blog post time? Hmmmmm?

Christina Lee said...

Geez, what a racket over here! ^_^

yeah, I pretty go about it the same except I do have blogs I folow that aren't for writing and it's refreshing to go over there sometimes, know what I mean?

Marsha Sigman said...

I read blog posts when I have time and that is somewhere between 8:00am and 11:30pm so...yeah, whenever.

I usually read a few blog posts before I committ to following someone. Compatibility, humor, or random weirdness attracts me. I'm pretty sure I had these same requirments when dating.

I don't follow someone if I see we have no compatibility, they have no sense of humor, or view acts of random weirdness as a character flaw.

I'm not sure I am the best judge of your sense but I like it.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i still can't believe you don't use google reader. I love it so much because of the folders you can create and the fact that it highlights blogs that have updated.

JEFritz said...

No, this makes perfect sense. I follow too many people to read them all every day. I skim through them in my reader and only comment if I have something to say.

CherylAnne Ham said...

I'm picking up what you're putting down. :D

Sometimes I find it hard to get to all the blogs I want to read each week. I use google reader and 'm slowly organizing the blogs I follow into folders by topic/genre/blah/blah, so I can get where I want to be easier.

So many great people and so little time, right?

Rusty Webb said...

I did follow everyone who followed me for a while, but it made my dashboard such a mess I stopped using it.

Instead I try to go visit the blog of folks who stop by and comment... even there I'm not terribly consistent, but that's my goal. I end up spending a hour or two every day and usually barely get through more than a handful of blogs.

I'm pretty sure I do it wrong.

LynNerd said...

I was very interested in reading what you had to say, since your'e an established blogger. I'm a newbie and don't have a system yet. Thanks for sharing this with us. I usually visit the blogs of those who leave a comment (which is usually because I left a comment on their blog! Haha!), then visit my favorites and the blogs of people I've connected with and become invested in. Then I go through the Google dashboard and read the blogs that seem to "pop" and look interesting. I also get lots of blog posts by email and try to keep up with the ones that sound interesting or fun. The longer blog posts aren't as appealing to me because I'm not a speed reader and am already overwhelmed trying to keep up with all of them. Even though I'm overwhelmed, I love reading the posts and some are so fascinating and educational that I'm constantly learning. Some are so darn funny that I laugh out loud. I'm always thankful for a good laugh. It's great!

Missed Periods said...

I always try to put myself on a blogging schedule or regime, but I never end of following it. I do always read the posts of those who have commented on my blog, and when I have time, I like to read the ones I follow. And when I really have time, I like to just putz around all over the blogosphere.

Talli Roland said...

Sounds like a good method.

I think you need to find what works for you. Like you, I seek a few blogs daily. Others I read as I comment... I tend to follow quite a few, because want to show support.

Liza said...

You have a sensible method to how you go about reading blogs. I try to get to as many as I can, but like you, I tend to edit my reading some. I do think following is a kind of promise...and when I realized recently that because I'd followed a few blogs that didn't match my expectations and therefore I wasn't commenting, I un-followed.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Mine are not on my sidebar because I share a blog with Casey. I have a list of favorites I often go through so I hit more of them but often use Blogger Dashboard. I can't read them at work so try before 8:30 and then at night or in the car waiting for my daughter to get out of swim practice.

There are some I follow regularly and am trying to follow more people who follow me. I agree with you that many you just can't read every single day. I'm going to have to put some limits on so I can get some writing done too.

Ishta Mercurio said...

"Do I make any sense, ever?"

HAHAHA only ALL THE TIME! :-)

I do pretty much the same thing. The blogs in my sidebar are my don't miss blogs. Then I log into my reader and catch what I can, what interests me, what looks particularly insightful or funny.

I only follow blogs that I think I will get some value from, and I wish I had more time to get to all the blogs, but I do what I can.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Ha! And yes you make sense. I think that most sensible people have a blog reading schedule (or lose their minds trying to keep up). I've noticed a lot of morning readers (like you) and then another rash at noon and night. Which is all good. I'm just happy anyone's reading at all! :)

Sher A. Hart said...

I'm here because you left a comment on my 9/11 poem which I posted in the wee hours as usual. So you may never see my posts again. My only excuse is hubby's snoring. He goes to bed early to get up early for his job, so I stay up late to write and blog. I use Google Reader through Igoogle,which lets me see my gmail inbox, the weather (gotta make sure it's reading weather) and whatever else I want(forget news feeds-I like cute kitty pictures and free stuff) along with the blogs I can scroll through. I didn't know Google Reader even had a folders option. I see something interesting about writing, publishing or humor, especially punny funny, and I'm gone. I love layered meanings. Oh yeah, and chocolate-with nuts. So we must be related. I mean I'm related to the nuts, not you. I suspect there's another explanation for you having my youngest son's name.

Travis said...

Hey, it's still a little shy of #1000 but i'm the 800th follower. Can I get a w00t.

Thanks for your entry on my map contest, and good luck on the quest to publication. My own agent querying was an abysmal failure. Thank god for indie publishers who are still willing to accept submissions.

I look forward to seeing your journey unfold.

T.B

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

i used to read every single post of every single blog i read, and comment 90% of the time. i ceased having any time to write.
now, i have pals i try to read every time they post- though i don't always comment if i can't think of anything to say.
people i open every post to scan through and really read if it's good.
and people i open up if it sounds interesting.
there is only one blog that i have followed that i stopped reading what they wrote. but that was because they use a black background with white letters and write verrrrrry long posts and i would have a splitting headache by the end! i only follow blogs i think i'll want to read, though sometimes i'll lose interest with some of them.

J.L. Campbell said...

To answer your last question, I did have a little lurk around your blog a couple of days ago from a mention over at Michael Offut's and you did make sense that time.

As to reading blogs, I scroll down the blogger dashboard. I'm sure Google reader makes sense, but I'm too lazy to organize my reads into some semblance of order.

I'll follow if I scroll down the page and see interesting stuff that relates to books, blogging and writing. I'll read about pets but I'm not going to follow if the whole page is about what someone's dog did today, yesterday and the day before.

I'll probably not follow the first time I come if there are a host of followers. Misguided, I know, but my first thought is that I'll be lost in the crowd.

Finally, I NEVER talk this much on a first visit. See what you get for asking so many questions. :D

Daina Rustin said...

I keep all the blogs I follow in google reader. It's practical, since every blog you add through blogger automatically goes there, only those not on blogger you need to add manually. It tels me who has a new post and how many posts of a certain blog I haven't read yet.

Now, finding the time to read them, that's the tricky part. I have some health issue at the moment that's making me dead tired after 3 PM, and some days I don't even have the energy to turn on the computer. I usually sneak a few peaks at work, and that's where google reader comes in extra handy, I don't need to open multiple tabs and it doesn't draw too much attention when someone glances over my shoulder. The downside is that if I want to leave a comment, I leave it for when I come home, but by that time I'm usually too tired to do it... I'm still trying to figure out what method works best for me.

Thanks for stopping by my blog :) I'll be adding yours to my google reader, and hopefully, find a system that will help me keep up with it more promptly ;)

Julie said...

Hi Matthew! Thanks for coming by my blog, I am your newest follower now, it's great to meet you. I'm now to the point where I am following more blogs than I can keep up with, so I'm working on an organizational system like this. There are some I am always going to check in on as they are friends, but I need to figure out a way to make the whole list manageable.

Thanks again and I'm looking forward to reading your blog.

Escape Artist said...

Well, I'm just doubly happy you popped in today my lovely new member!!
And thanks very much for the input on Indian Summer. I grew up in the cold, cold, and Indian Summer was something I remember looking forward to. I thought it was in late September, but it's been a while. Anyway, new piece of work is set down in your southern states....somewhere. Blame it on the voice that popped out of me. She's pretty cool and I can't let go of her, so gotta find a place where she belongs. Somewhere with creepy forests, dead trees, ravines and rivers! Thanks a bunch!