Tag Archives: Facebook

Un-Follow Your Heart: When Our Blogs Lose Readers

Got my ducks in a row?

Got my ducks in a row?

I know I shouldn’t focus so much on the numbers, but The Intrinsic Writer’s “following” has been rather stagnant for the past two or three weeks. Right now, I’m stuck on number 264, which is both low and high depending on who you are, and where you’re at on the blogger’s assembly line.

Last week my number was 266. Over the weekend it dropped to 263. Then yesterday, it jumped up a notch to 265. When I checked this morning, I saw that it had sadly fell to 264.

Sigh.

Let me tell you this. The more followers I lose, the stupider my latest post seems. On Facebook, the “un-friending” tactic is the ultimate social media bitch slap. On Twitter, it’s a little less severe, since avid Tweeters tend to have followings in the ten-thousands.  But on our personal blogs, the occasional “un-follow” feels a little more, well, personal.

I’m always two steps ahead with my blogging, often pondering ideas days before they are written. This alone takes vast amounts of mental energy. Then, when I compose a post, I don’t just write off the whim. Any of my loyal supporters (you know who you are and you’re wonderful) knows I’m no willy-nilly blogger. I take time to craft my pieces. I put thought into them. I aspire to spread knowledge and raise awareness.

So when someone dumps me, kicks me to the curb, gives me the shaft…it hurts.

And as a result, the slippery slope of toxic mental activity begins to roll: No one likes me, I’m not appealing enough, My writing is no good, I’ll never be published, He or she is interesting, but I’m not.

And so on…

Do I need to take the proverbial “chill pill”? Most likely, yes. After all, blogging is not about racking up the numbers; it’s about making connections with others. I have a group of blogging friends who have helped me in valuable ways, and in the long run that’s all that should matter. And it does. And I know that.

But I’m human and I forget sometimes. And no matter how you slice it, rejection simply sucks. Furthermore, I’m curious. What makes someone “un-follow” another writer’s blog?

Ducks walking Joses Tirtabudi → in Birds

Some reasons to possibly consider:

1. Posts too much

2. Posts too little or sporadically

3. No particular reason, just cutting from the list to make this experience less overwhelming.

4. Just not interesting enough

 Sound familiar?

In response to # 1: I don’t post too much. I’m not blowing up anyone’s inbox…I don’t think. At the very most I’ll post three times a week.

In response to # 2: I don’t post too little either. Again…three times a week. I’m consistent, yet not obsessive.

In response #3: Not much I can do about that.

In response # 4: My worst nightmare realized.

But hey that’s life, right? No matter what I do there will always be some “non-fans.” I’m a teacher, I know. You can be as fair and engaging and helpful as you can, but some students just will not take to your style.

Focus on the ones that do…in teaching, writing, and in any endeavor.

While I’m at it I’ll tell you what makes me ‘un-follow’ someone’s blog. I’ve only done it maybe three times at most. We are all striving to get our voices heard and we are all struggling with the truth that getting people to give a !@#$ about what you have to say is a very difficult enterprise. This is why I typically don’t kick people off my list. I know how it feels.

However, I draw the line at these two notions:

1. Not following the standard blogging “etiquette.” If I reach out to you, leave comments, make it known that I now subscribe to your site, and I hear zilch from you, yet meanwhile you’re posting away and responding to other bloggers, then likely, yes, I will set you free. No hard feelings. There’s just obviously no “blogger chemistry” there.

2. You leave a nasty, unprecedented, comment to one of my posts. I’m not talking about simple disagreement; that’s good, in fact, that needs to happen sometimes to keep the conversation going. But a rude, uncalled for comment or unrelated rant will give me plenty of incentive to give you the boot.

I’ll reiterate…it really isn’t about numbers. Unfortunately though, the brain recognizes numbers. We’ve been trained since a very early age to assign meaning to said numbers. Therefore it’s only natural that we bloggers become “follower counters.”

Still, it’s nice to recognize the true, underlying purpose in this enterprise and that is to make friends, to show support, and spread ideas.

I am still curious though…what makes you “un-follow” a fellow blogger?

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Filed under Why We Write, Writing Process

Over-stimulation

I wonder if Charlotte Bronte used to receive issues of writing magazines in the mail. Or if Jane Austen got email updates sent to her Blackberry (OK, yes, I know I need a new phone) offering discounted–or not–issues, classes, webinars, gifts, kits, tools, books, interviews, articles, etc. etc. etc. I don’t know about Bronte or Austen, but all my ‘boxes’ are certainly blowin’ up with it all.

See though, those two ladies were intrinsic writers. It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out where I’m going with this. I’ve got a new issue of a reputable writing magazine sitting on my kitchen table. If my BB buzzes ten times, six will be writing sources, either asking me to purchase something or offering me advice on crafting indelible characters. So, here’s the question: Should I read these texts, or should I well, I don’t know, write?

Charlotte Bronte didn’t have a choice in the matter. She wrote. Emily Dickinson–damn, talk about ‘intrinsic,’ she barely left her house–just simply wrote, wrote, wrote. She did have issues with publication though, too bad she wasn’t force-fed advice through tweets and FB posts on how to snag an agent.

Do I sound bitter? I’m not. It’s the business. It just gets confusing for us intrinsic types. My inner-inkling is to write fiction, or creative non-fiction–stories. But I’m learning that there is a lot more involved than just that. There’s conferences to attend, platforms to build, relationships to make, and so forth. And sometimes, well, all that stimulation can cause me to look in eighty different directions at once when I should really only be looking in one direction: my novel, my stories, my writing.

But hey, I want to do it write, (oh wow, no pun intended, look at that! Told ya, it’s intrinsic) and it makes sense in this world why it is the way it is. The writing aspect, I am discovering, is only one part of it. The sitting, the typing, the blocking-out-the-whole-world-and-creating a new one-phenomena is only a certain percentage. The best percentage, any intrinsic will tell you that, but a percentage no less.

The advice is good. It’s needed. In some ways, I still have no clue what I’m doing. I just need to figure out how to filter out the junk.

Happy writing.

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Filed under Breaking Through, The Writing Life, Why We Write