Blogging, Bean Counting and Social Networking

In Late February WordPress.com Staff implemented brilliant little change at the bottom of our posts. They introduced nesting of the gravatars of “like” button clickers behind a link that we bloggers can click to see them all. I am happy the big blocks of gravatars which are not representative of actual page view stats are now nicely tucked away. But there were bloggers who are not and they posted to the support forums  to say so.  They wanted to see the gravatars for all their “friends”.

The reasons why I like the change Staff made follows:

1.   Gravatars aren’t linked to blogs; they are linked to Gravatar profile pages. They drive traffic to the Gravatar profile pages not to blogs and many bloggers don’t even enter their blog links on those profile pages.

2.  I am an introvert who is not comfortable in large groups. I have always been deterred from subscribing to blogs that have high number counts displayed.That’s why I’ve never felt an inclination to brag by displaying number counts for followers, likes, subscribers, etc. on my blogs.

That said, I love getting page view stats and comments, and I’m keenly aware that likes and shares are misleading when you are talking about page view stats. In fact our followers and anyone with a WordPress.com blog, who is logged into WordPress.com can “like” and “share” our posts in several locations such as the Reader, without ever clicking into our blog and creating a single page view stat.

3.   When it comes to aesthetics, my readers are well aware that I am a minimalist inclined to strip more and more off of my blogs. I’m currently welcoming discussion about which widgets are essential and preparing to remove some from my sidebar. I also want my blogs to load quickly, so I think it’s a good thing that the big blocks of gravatars are now nicely tucked away, rather than increasing page loading time on my blogs.

The Fear of Losing Followers

The reason some bloggers did not like the change was because they feared they would lose friends if like button clickers could not see their gravatars as they had previously.

I wondered who it was that they thought they would lose and what exactly they thought they would be losing.

I don’t believe the number of likes on any post is an accurate reflection of the number of true followers any blogger has.    Do you?

Even if the likes were equivalent to followers ask yourself this: “How many people can one blogger become close enough to in the online only context to become friends with?

That question prompted me to recall that Facebook did a survey of its accounts in 2011 which found that the average number of “friends” there was between 120 and 130.  How Many “Friends” Can You Really Have? But surely we recognize that most of those contacts are not close friends, don’t we?  At most, most Facebook “friends” that aren’t family members and face-to-face friends offline are online acquaintances.

Dunbar’s Number: Why We Can’t Have More Than 150 Friends

Can social networks expand the evolutionary limit on how many people anyone can truly be close to?

Across the primate order as a whole, here is a general relationship between the size of the brain’s neocortex and the size of the average social group, and this relationship predicts a group size for humans of 150. This value is now known as Dunbar’s Number, because I was the first to point it out, in 1992. –Robin Dunbar in  How Many “Friends” Can You Really Have?

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Can we connect with more than 150?  Of course, at varying levels of closeness we can connect, but it takes more than hanging out now and then and being in touch irregularly to establish a true friendship. There’s also a quality factor that has to do with depth of communication. We have to get together face to face and invest time in being together and in doing together to establish the relationship bond that creates a close and long lasting friendship. Beyond that Dunbar defined ‘maintained’ friends as those you care enough about to contact at least once each year.

‘Does digital technology in general allow you to retain the old friends as well as the new ones and therefore increase the size of your social circle?’ The answer seems to be a resounding no, at least for the moment. — The Dunbar Number, From the Guru of Social Networks

Bean Counting and Social Networking

Clearly, for some bloggers social networking is a numbers game. They believe that  the more likes, followers and friends they have the better so they accept all friend requests and reciprocate. Authors among them have been told by publishers that they must acquire ever increasing numbers of followers to market their books to. Business bloggers and those who make money by blogging get the same advice. Well, I disagree.

Never lose site of the fact that it is content that attracts readers to your site and keeps them coming back – high quality, original content.  It’s the blogger’s ability to promote their content that creates traffic flow, and it’s their ability to initiate and sustain discussion that leads to building a blog centered community. — Blogging and Community Building

Of course social media numbers have value, but it’s foolish to believe those who click like buttons and share links to your posts on sites like Facebook are truly your friends. Don’t kid yourself. There’s a reason why Twitter disabled the ability to automatically reciprocate when followed. Anyone can buy followers and those who can be bought and sold aren’t friends. Very few of the followers you acquire naturally will actually become close enough to you to become your friend.

No one in everyday life can be a good friend to hundreds and thousands of people and the same goes for cyber space. The value of the friendships you make is based in the quality time you spend with friends both online and offline. – How to form blog centered relationships

Measuring Success

I think we each measure blogging success in accord with our own goals and measurement system. Next to securing traffic from search engines, it is relationships you create with other bloggers that is where your blog traffic will come from.

Conclusion

I’m not a social networking maven nor am I, a thought leader.  As I said here Promoting Blog Posts on Social Media: Does It Work Anymore? I’m not convinced the time I spend on Twitter is productive in terms of attracting and new followers and retaining the ones I have. I’d rather be creating content than social networking.  However, if you are willing to accept some tips from a blogger who is less than a success at social networking here are mine:

  1. Create a gravatar for global recognition, complete all profile fields to reveal your interests and where you are active online.
  2. Don’t seek followers; seek connection and engagement.
  3. Search for people with common interests and follow them.
  4. Be responsive. Be curious – ask questions.
  5. Provide valuable content.
  6. Invite discussion.
  7. Don’t post too frequently.
  8. Be authentic. Be helpful. Be friendly.
  9. Don’t feel obligated to follow all followers back.
  10. Promote as if you’re at a cocktail party. Keep it light.
  11. Promote others.
  12. Give credit (links) and thanks where they are due.

Here are three social networking etiquette references I consider to be useful:
An Insider’s Guide to Social Media Etiquette
10 Tips to Master Twitter Etiquette
The Ten Commandments of Facebook

Discussion

As much as I do care for every one of you readers,  I don’t equate blog followers with face-to-face friends. Maybe this is because my friendships predate the advent of email. You see, my friends and I have been there for each other in sickness and health, through good jobs and bad ones, through home building or purchasing, through relocation to other places and spaces,  through marriages and divorces, through miscarriages, births, and deaths, and we have never shared any of that ie. our personal business online.

Do you fear losing followers if their gravatars are not prominently showcased on your blog?

How many of your blog followers have become your friends?

How do you define and measure your own social networking success?

46 thoughts on “Blogging, Bean Counting and Social Networking

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  3. I so enjoyed reading this post and all of the reader comments. You’ve put into words a lot of what I have been feeling, mainly that it is dialog that we seek as bloggers, not “likes” and stats. I don’t get a lot of comments on my blog — I wish that I did — but when I hear from, for example, someone on the opposite side of the globe who saw himself in a gay love story I’d posted, it means so much more than tracking faceless stats. I’ll keep writing and having faith that the comments will come if I am patient and keep at it, as one of your commenters encouragingly wrote. Thanks for all that you do.

  4. Dear Readers,
    I love you guys. You are all so bright and thoughtful. It’s wonderful to read your comments again and again. Yes, that’s what I have been doing. I read each one prior to approving it and have read them a couple of time since. The thing being that when I get to the end I don’t feel any inclination to post a comment in response to each one. As I know almost all of you and your blogs very well It feels more like a group conversation to me if I don’t post one on one replies.

    To be con’td.

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  6. This is such a rich post, and the comments are equally interesting.

    Our approaches to blogging have a good bit in common. I’m not on Facebook, although I try to remember to tweet new postings to some followers I have who adore Twitter. I’ve disabled likes, and I’ve never clicked the “like” button myself. If I’m impressed enough with a blog entry to respond, I’ll leave a comment.

    Because I have no intention of monetizing my blog (and, in fact, have purchased the “no ads” option) and because I hope to engender good conversation, I’ve become more and more aware that exponential growth isn’t something I hope for. A hundred comments per entry is really pushing my limits, both of time and ability to engage, especially since I try to read and comment on every entry of my regular readers. (Daily posters excepted, of course.)

    Of your list of twelve bits of advice, I’ve come to follow every single one. So, take this as a word of pure affirmation – everything you’ve listed is important, and it all works.

    And just in case someone’s missed it, here it is again: content trumps all!

  7. i’ve not participated in any social media outlets having barely enough time to stay connected with real friends in real time let alone virtual friends in a virtual reality. That said, I appreciate the connections I’ve made via my blog and WordPress. I do feel like I have real relationships that I value with a number of people whose blogs I found and now read, or who have found their way to my blog. But there is a limit to how many blogs I can keep up with, and how many readers with whom I can develop a relationship, and it is way less than Dunbar’s number. So there is no way I can subscribe to, or even read the blogs of everyone who subscribed to mine. The blog content has to totally grab me and keep me interested over time to become a regular reader and a commenter.

  8. I find that those few who do “like” my posts only overlap slightly with “followers,” and that I get far more hits per day than could be accounted for by followers. I do appreciate and enjoy having blog followers who like to keep up with my posts, but I know that there are other regular visitors who read via rss feed, or they see & click on links on FB that lead to my posts, or they just visit when they are online & catching up with the sites they enjoy.

    I find it odd & unhelpful that the little avatars lead to the gravatar site when the person actually does have a WP blog but they haven’t put a link to their blog on their gravatar site. I often do check out the blogs of people who “like” my posts, partly to see what may have drawn them to my blog and a particular post, and partly to see whether it’s a blog I might want to visit sometime. If there’s no link to their blog on their gravatar page, I very rarely try to find the blog using other means.

    One thing I would enjoy seeing more of on my blog isn’t so much more “likes” or more “followers,” but more conversation through blog comments. I’ve been lousy at building that, though I do try to be welcoming, but it could also be that my content just isn’t the sort of thing people comment on. I also get a lot of traffic through either search engines (most of it sent as a result of a relevant search) and through links from a couple other sites where I have stuff posted. I think the people who happen upon the site via a search engine usually come, get what they wanted, and leave, and people who find me through one of the sites where I post regularly either already have a correspondence with me (via email) or at least have the opportunity to connect with me (or my content) through other sites and means.

    Anyway, I think that the nested gravatars are neat and clean looking, and if people won’t click the “like” button anymore because they don’t see their gravatar showing all by itself, then maybe they weren’t really liking the post, but just spreading their gravatars around.

    • I finally am getting the kind of conversation I enjoy on my blogs, but it took a good long time to develop. It took commitment on my part, too – not only to respond quickly, but to find the “hook” in the comment where I could respond personally. I’ve been at this for five years, and I’d say the comments didn’t really begin to develop until after year three.

      I get very, very few “likes” on my posts, and I’m convinced it’s because I went into my dashboard and hid the gravatars. ;)

  9. I must admit, I do get a tiny bit of thrill every time I see the top right corner of my screen light up with an orange star from a like. It’s always nice to know someone out there is appreciative of your work. But ultimately, I think the part I like more is the forging of a potential connection. I like heading over and seeing their posts. I like reading a particularly intriguing comment that gets me to think differently. Those things make it worthwhile, much more so than simple likes when you know the person hasn’t read it (I know. My posts are long and take more than 30 seconds after posting to read!)

  10. I wasn’t even aware until a month ago that Likes were nested after the latest 12 or so Likes. No I don’t fear terribly that I’ll lose readership. I have made some regular friend-readers. I am selective in who I reciprocate and tend to choose those who often comment meaningfully. No I don’t always reciprocate likes for new reader-likes if I’ve never seen the person before. But then, life is like that: there isn’t always mutual exchange if there isn’t soulful “click” ….now that click is not a mouse click, but gut intuitive feel.

  11. Blogging is as close as I get to social networking outside the office, and I prefer to interact electronically in almost all cases. I do look at my stats, mainly because it’s interesting to see how many people may have been interested in what I had to say. I suppose that’s feeding my ego to an extent, and that makes me want to write more. I write frequently, probably too frequently, and maybe that’s why I don’t get that many comments. On the other hand, those that do comment are usually from blogs I frequent and who post things that are interesting enough for me to want to comment on their sites. It’s a trade, and much like you said, there are common interests. That’s why I follow them. I come to your site for the same reason – you post interesting information. As for the “like” button, sometimes I like a post, but I don’t have anything to say. Sometimes I think that I’d like to make a comment, but just can’t come up with anything, so like becomes a default option.

  12. Hi TT, I am with you on less is more and re-thinking widgets down to those that will serve my readers and make my writing more accessible to them if they enjoy it. I am consciously re-building my personal blog right now and exploring Twitter as a marketing tool for my skills – and my professional contacts are fairly social media heavy folks, so I need to do something in that space.

    As for Facebook, though it has served me well professionally, and I know I am missing stuff by not being on there more, I have become pretty cynical about its usefulness with all the gaming by FB to show your posts to only a small percentage of your followers. That’s when they lost me. I look at it perhaps once very few weeks, and then only for a specific few key people and groups.

    As for Likes on WordPress, I turned it off when it was introduced and have no plans ever to turn it on. Doubly so now it seems the spammers have found it. A few recent posts had likes within seconds of being posted, which was suspicious, but when I followed the links the underlying blogs stank to high heaven – though based on WP they were garbage writing filled with commercial links. I would not want to risk introducing my readers to those kinds of things by allowing the gravatars to be visible and clickable.

  13. The nesting gravatar thing is confusing me…When I liked this post my gravatar appeared in a visible line with other likes. They do not appear to be tucked away at all. Am I missing something here?

  14. I thought your post was insighful and well rounded. Blogging and WordPress offers something for all types of bloggers and covers off the needs of their various modus operandi.

    Thank you for including my post Getting to Know Dunbar’s Number as a Related article. The post linked back to an earlier post – http://elladeewords.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/come-on-in-and-sit-right-down-and-make-yourself-at-home/ – and answers some of the questions you pose in your post, from my frame of reference. It is was an awards post, that notwithstanding it essentially lists the community of bloggers with who I’ve communed over the past 12 months. I exchange regular comments with the bloggers I cited. They are my virtual neighbours, but neighbours I have selected by choice, for common interests or interesting variants…

    About Likes… bloggers seem to love and hate them. I rarely Like without a comment unless I’m really pushed for time (and to that end drastically reduced the number of blogs I follow earlier this year). I Like because it links to the Posts I Like widget on my sidebar, which should anyone be interested acts as a real time BlogRoll.

  15. As always with your posts they provide me with much needed and very valuable insights. I can recognize myself completely in your number 2 above. From the outset I have only one measure of the Lantern’s success; to spark however little light on the endless and densely populated cyber highway … I love comments, likes and such as much as the next blogger, but over and above all I care about people … and that might be why I have made some really great friends via my blog!

    Many thanks,
    Daniela

  16. I didn’t know we could “hide” our Likes, or whatever. I’ll have to look into that. (It would be nice if WP would tell us when they add functionality like that.) I have Likes enabled because I assume (there’s that word) that most people use them like I do, to indicate “hey, I was here, I liked your post.” I may or may not add a comment.

    I don’t automatically follow everyone who follows me. My follows are my reading list, blogs that are important to me for one reason or another, and there’s no point in following someone whose posts I’ve no interest in reading. (I’ve never gotten into using Reader; I prefer email notifications.) I may be in a minority here, but to me WP is not a social network and likes and follows are not trophies in some popularity contest. Frankly, I abhor social networks.

    Comments are important and highly desirable; they mean someone really gave some thought to or had a reaction to my post. A lively discussion stemming from one of my posts is the ultimate compliment.

  17. (I clicked through for a page view for you and read on your blog though I’m on my WordPress app at present.) I’m wondering, after reading one of the articles you linked to, whether or not my having a png of 3 book covers morphed into one turns people off as opposed to a picture of my face. I come from a perspective of work first. I guess it doesn’t matter too much. After reading Nicholas Carr’s recent post and this post by you I’ve cemented my decision to spend a finite amount of time on social media. Diminishing returns, to be sure. I share your sense of ennui and displacement, and am glad to hear someone else wonder if they have cyber cooties. I certainly have wondered that. I think the bottom line is that, for myself, I need to back away from social media, from the incessant stat checking and all the rest of it. I spent more time writing verse today than checking social media and that always feels better. I will follow my bliss. Thanks for the insightful post.

    EGB

    • Hi there,
      I don’t think people are put off by bookcover images. I do think they are attracted to images of blog authors though. Without doubt social networking takes time and the returns vary. Some say it’s the main source of traffic to their blogs. That isn’t true in the case of mine.

      Writing a sonnet every day for a year was an amazing challenge. kudos. I’ve just read your post Always. Be. Revising. and now I’m considering what you shared about obstacles we face when revising our work. http://365daysofverse.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/always-be-revising/

  18. So many salient points to ponder here TiTi! I had forgotten all about widgets until you mentioned them – the fewer the better as far as I am concerned as I find them too distracting, too cluttering, they hurt my eyes, which are sensitive.

    I am not sure how many subscribers I have, and I rarely check my stats. As you say, it is not the social networking, it is the subject matter of the content and the ensuing dialogue which means more to me than all the loud noise of a raving party. Give me a salon, where we are all talking to each other, hearing each other, while working the work.

    As for the likes and the comments . . . . some of my favourite blogs have disabled likes, others comments, and one or two of my favourites never respond to comments. Some people are naturally very shy and don’t cope well with inundations of praise etc, but as ever, the work speaks for itself.

    Oh, and I adore my face to face friends even if they are on the other side of the world and stuck in the pages of Facebook!

    • Hi Patti,
      It’s interesting that your penultimate paragraph sums up my own experience too. You reminded me that there are some blogs I like very much that don’t have open comments. Best wishes to you and your Facebook friends too.

  19. wow, your readers sure do get involved with the discussion. I like that you made me think of lots of things as i am a new blogger but mostly the part where you said we needed to define success etc and look for encouragement not acceptance- or something like that! I really appreciated it…very east to get caught up in the trap!

    • Aren’t they great? My readers rock! Love them I do.

      Do make sure that you define blogging success in your own terms. Don’t let anyone ever do that for you.

      You could look at blogging from this point of view; as long as you are enjoying it, you have a successful blog.

  20. Interesting post, My blog is relatively new but based in a past one i feel that it is possible to create connections as close to friendships as you can get with people in the blogging world. In some cases these people are expressing themselves freely so you feel like you know them, they are encouraging you or supporting you when you need it and you are sharing interests etc (though if you’ve read my blog then maybe I’m not the best judge of character lol)

    . More often than not I will respond to commenters and it will spur me on to visit their latest and repay the favour – IF it’s something I Have an opinion on, otherwise I’ll “like” it as a sign of my reading it and like a virtual pay on the back.

    I don’t always follow back my followers, it has to be something I can relate to or learn from and even then if they don’t post often or if it doesn’t hold my attention on most posts they will be unfollowed lol.

    • Hi there,
      I think there are many people who do get encouragement and support in their everyday lives from being part of blog centered communities. I think that wherever like-minded people meet they do inspire conversation and create relationships. Playing the numbers game isn’t my thing. But I always try to visit the sites of those who comment on my posts and I rarely fail to do so.

  21. Goodness there is a lot to think about in this post! I added the like button so people who were shy or didn’t have time to leave a comment could communicate they had visited if they felt like it. But some very odd people click it, so I guess some people do it just to get publicity?

    Sometimes I click the like button on blogs where I would normally leave a comment as a way of saying I have read your post, usually I go back and write a comment. I wish that the images linked to blogs and not gravatar as you say.

    To your discusion points :- I too had friends long before email and they are different, but I am very fond of the people who read and comment on my blog. They come and go, but I am OK with that. Some I have other contact with; on Twitter, by email and a very few by phone, one or two I spend time with, but those are rare and we met via an online bread forum I used to post to long before I blogged. I never thought about whether I would lose followers if I didn’t have a like button. I am uncomfortable about the words success and failure and don’t do much measuring.

    • Dear Joanna,
      We are much the same when it comes to the like button question. Yes, there are those who may be referred to as like button spammers who like many posts on many blogs to gain attention.

      Regarding your last sentence I experience discomfort too. I don’t define success the way others may define it. I consider every so-called failure to be a stepping stone to future success, so that’s why I feel discomfort when those subjects arise.

      Thanks for chiming in here.

  22. Ditto to Jim and The Laughing Housewife. I also found you through your (and others) help in the forum. I felt it only right to at least give you and others a look-see for taking the time to help me out. I started following you right away because your posts are very helpful, at least to a WP newbie like me. Not because I want to “recruit” you, but for other selfish reasons — the content!

    About “likes” — many times, I’m finding, I like a post, but have nothing substantial to say about it. That’s when I click like. Some posts in my reader I feel “eh” about so I pass it by — or — I’m starting to find it difficult to keep up, so “no like or comment” means just that!

    I admit that I love getting comments. I want to share my thoughts/passion in posts and I want to talk about it!

    This one was very informative – one to use as a reference. Thank you :)
    ~ Colleen

    • Wow! You hit on something that resonates”
      “About “likes” — many times, I’m finding, I like a post, but have nothing substantial to say about it. That’s when I click like.”

      That’s me too. I read some posts that are thoughtful, insightful and/or informative essays. They are so beautifully written that I truly have nothing meaningful to add. I liked reading them most of all. So not having anything to say does not mean one does not appreciate what has been said, and using the like button is a means of expressing that appreciation. That’s why I’m not convinced that I ought to hide it from appearing on the bottom of my posts.

  23. gosh I have so enjoyed reading this. You state facts and give answers and your views on things I have been asking myself.

    Thanks for your valuable insight on the subject of Likes, Followers, number of friends and connections one can really have. I was actually wondering whether people follow everyone who follows them (hundreds? thousands?), as I find it difficult enough to read some posts of blogs I follow.

    Also thanks for always replying to the help questions on the WP forum.

    • Hi there,
      It’s good to know you are finding what you need in my blog. I am honored to have some very knowledgeable readers and their comments contain valuable information too. I like helping by answering support forum questions. :)

  24. Hi TT :]

    How many of your blog followers have become your friends?
    I have a couple of people online who I like and admire. I think if we met in person we’d be friends irl too, and some that the friendship could probably only continue to exist online.

    Do you fear losing followers if their gravatars are not showcased on your blog?
    I didnt know about the change until reading your post. I dont get enough ‘likes’ for them to be hidden, so it’s not affecting me.

    How do you define and measure your own social networking success?
    –I have no social networking success. :]

    I’m not worried though because I haven’t applied myself to winning at it.

    • Hi Jayme,
      It’s good to hear from you.You’re clearly not a bean counter type but then I already knew that about you. Thanks for answering my questions. Blog on!

  25. I pretty much agree with most of what you have written. I’m fascinated that the Dunbar Number theory seems to suddenly be the latest dinner party topic of conversation (so to speak). One of my long standing blog commenters also had an interesting piece on it a couple of weeks ago. Before I chucked FB, I too had around 135 ‘friends’ none of whom I had ever met. Nor had any desire to.

    I really have no interest in the likes. I disabled it for ages on roughseas and brought it back as an experiment and have forgotten to take it off again. I really must do so, as I find it totally meaningless. Especially when I publish a post, and even while I am still re-reading it yet again for errors, two or three people have clicked on like. Really?

    I’ve always focused my WP blogs on discussion rather than ‘Great post’ sort of comments. I like that people are happy to comment repeatedly on a post and often take the discussion in a different direction, plus people are happy to comment on someone else’s comment even when they don’t know that blogger. To me that suggests a relaxed and friendly environment.

    I like your point about not posting too frequently. I know the standard advice is post on a Tuesday or twice a week, or every day, so your readers know what to expect. I actually don’t think it matters. I have had people asking why I haven’t posted which is why I will sometimes put a status alert up if I’m planning on being offline for a while or seriously reducing the number of posts. I don’t believe you can write a thoughtful post with quality content every single day unless you are blogging full-time. For me, I spend as much time commenting as I do writing actual posts. (obviously, by the length of this comment).

    I suspect blog satisfaction, goals and achievements comes easier for older people to define than it does for younger people who may well be doing it for different reasons. Although I do have younger readers, they come and go. Mostly, my readers are from a not dissimilar age group. As with life, we gravitate to those with whom we have something in common. The experiences of a 50-year-old are very different to those of a 25-year-old, and I have learned some great things from young women in their 20s on the internet. But it doesn’t usually last.

    As for widgets, the only ones I have tend to be for my benefit. I never really got out of the habit from blogger, where the blogroll was personally useful with a regular update of new posts, plus I liked having the calendar archive on the sidebar. I think it’s a shame that people get sucked into award widgets and glitzy distracting images however. It does nothing for appearance, and as you point out, just increases loading times. If people can manage to click on an About Me page, they should be able to click on a page for whatever else, so I would say more use of pages, less use of widgets. Although I probably won’t change my sidebars in the near future :D

    • @roughseasinthemed
      I agree that comments are gold. I’m not sure how I feel about likes. I don’t feel convinced that I ought to disable them. As I’m always on the run and not a chatty type to begin with, I read lots of blogs but comment only sporadically on a few. I visit the blogs of everyone who comments on mine and I try to visit the blogs that I can find for those who click like buttons on my posts. I don’t click like buttons on posts I don’t like. Clicking a like button means at the very least the other blogger knows I did read it and have shared it on Twitter and maybe on StumbleUpon.
      P.S. You have the cleanest sidebar I have seen in a long time.

      • I pay no attention to likes to the extent that I hadn’t even realised they were now nested until reading this post and your readers’ comments. I hadn’t thought of it from your point of view, which I guess makes me selfish, but it’s my regular commenters who get my attention.

        I’ve only just discovered you linked to EllaDee’s post! I normally click on links, but because she had written so much about it, I never bothered so didn’t even notice it was hers you had referred to.

        Thanks re the sidebar. i doubt many people see it anyway, as it only comes up on home page and not per post. As I said, it is totally for my convenience. I do think it looks odd without something there though. Sort of unfinished. Because I’m basically treating roughseas as a newspaper (local news with a personal slant thrown in and hopefully some useful info for potential expats or tourists), I’ve always tried to keep the blog clean and sharp. 2011 works well for that, and is pretty similar to my previous blog over on Blogger which I had managed to customise nicely in the days when Blogger was better than WP.

        Hope you had a lovely spring/easter/passover/whatever break

  26. I always try to look and see who has clicked like or followed my site, but try to be selective about reciprocating. If it is interesting and I want to read what they are saying, then it is worth it. I find having a larger number to check up on means less time to read what people are saying. I don’t do much social networking, and try to limit myself so I can, like you, enjoy the world outside. I am always concerned about the likes that arrive seconds after I have posted something, like someone lurking in the dark corner of a bar. I prefer people to comment, then you can create a discourse. But friends are friends in the real world. You can get to know people on the net, just not very well. No matter how interesting and interested in you they seem. And after all, I may miss your perfect post, or you mine, just because we are off-line, I hate to think I may offend someone for not catching them all the time, so yes, be selective.

    Jim

    • @redjim99
      I began spending more time outdoors and less online but found that time became less when I started social networking. I stepped back from Twitter these last two weeks to regain some of that time. I agree that it’s strange when likes come so fast after you publish that you wonder if the button clicker read the post.

  27. I don’t fear it, but my ego liked to see lots of Likes :)

    After almost four years of blogging and checking stats, subscriber numbers, etc, my first instinct for a long time has been to check the comments first. I can often tell who’s written a comment by their style, because my readers and I know each other so well.

    Some of them are definitely my friends, and we have met in person. Others are long-distance friends and we send each other stuff. I email regularly with even more. They all have value to me.

    I once read that we only ever have six life-long friends i.e. once met, stay friends for life. Increasingly, I believe that; but I enjoy all my friends while they’re around, whether in person or cyberspace.

    An interesting and thought-provoking article.

    BTW, I often visit and hardly ever comment – we’re not friends, but I like you and your blog. I discovered it when you helped me out with a question I posed on a forum – a friendly act on your part :)

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