Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Playing nice with others

I’ll warn you now, I'm going to break yesterday’s rule on keeping posts under 500 words.

But it’s perhaps the most important topic I want to cover in my week of blogging about blogs, so bear with me.

One aspect of the blogiverse I didn’t grasp six months ago is the social side of things. In the last six months, I’ve learned a lot. Some good things, some bad things, and some things that make me want to slap myself in the forehead with a celery stalk.

Allow me to share:

A comment on comments
Six months ago, I’d read plenty of blogs. I had even commented on some, and seen blog authors reply back in the comment trail.

What I’d never grasped is how much that matters – maybe more than the content of the blog posts themselves.

From the start, I tried to reply to anyone who left a comment on my blog. I didn’t know at first if it made a difference, but when people began emailing to say how much they appreciated it, I knew it was the right thing to do.

A lot of people mistakenly think of blogs as the author standing on a soapbox shouting words of silliness or wisdom at loyal readers, but the true beauty of a blog – at least the sort of blog I want to have – is what happens after the post goes up. The discussion in the comments, the back-and-forth volley of ideas and dirty jokes – that’s every bit as important as what I write each day.

I didn’t know that six months ago. Now I do.

Are you following along?
See that little follower widget on the side of the page? Until Blogger asked if I wanted one, I’d never noticed them on other blogs. I had never “followed” a blog, and never noticed who followed the blogs I read.

Once I started noticing it, the concept seemed simple enough. I would read a blog I liked, click “follow,” and we’re all friends, right?

Sort of. My wake up call came a couple months later when I got a private message. The gist of it was this: I’m unfollowing your blog because you aren’t following mine.

Wait – what?

I naively assumed “following” was about which blogs you like to read and want to keep tabs on. While that’s true to some degree, there’s a social side I hadn’t anticipated. An element of I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine, and if something changes, we scratch each other’s eyes out.

I don’t like that.

Look, I do my damndest to visit the blogs of people who comment here. It’s not because I “owe” you, but because you’re part of my circle of friends and I like knowing what my friends are up to. I may or may not comment, I may or may not remember to click “follow.” I may go for months without visiting someone’s blog (if it’s yours, I’m sorry – please raise your hand in the comments so I can stop by).

I’m uncomfortable with this idea that Jane will only read Susie’s blog if Susie reads Jane’s blog. I'm uncomfortable with the idea that there's a retaliatory element in play.

Maybe I’m naïve in hoping people come here because they’re interested in what I say. Hell, maybe half of you are here because you secretly hope my amazing agent will notice you (she rocks, so I don’t blame you, but still). Maybe I should just shut up and play the game.

But the fact that there is a game? That surprised me. And I don’t like surprises.

The numbers don’t add up
Anyone want to guess which of my blog posts had the most readers in the last three months?

If you judged by the number of comments, you’d assume it’s the July 26 post titled Are you calling my name?, which got close to 50 comments.

But that didn’t even make the top 10.

My most visited post in the last three months was the June 22 one titled How not to be an email goober. It got almost 400 more visitors than the name one, yet it had fewer comments – 39, to be exact.

The second most viewed post was The monkey business of social media, which had double the number of hits as the name one, but generated 20 fewer comments.

What gives?

For starters, the email goober post and the monkey one were tweeted and blogged about by others who were either amused, disturbed, or some combination of the two.

But the name post or What writers put in their mouths generated lots of comments because they invited readers to share simple, fun facts about themselves.

There are a few lessons in this experiment, but here’s one for new bloggers: if people aren’t commenting, don’t assume they aren’t reading. Download a tool like Google Analytics and check it out for yourself. You may be surprised.

And if you want comments, try sprinkling your posts with questions that prompt readers to share their own ideas and experiences.

Speaking of comments, I’d love to hear yours on the social aspect of blogging. Is there anything I missed? Any secret handshakes I haven’t learned? Tell me now so I can start practicing for the one-year blogiversary.

I’m a slow learner.

45 comments :

Jade said...

I have similar feelings about the whole following thing. Just because someone follows me doesn't mean I'm going to automatically follow them back. I don't see the point in following someone just because, and never actually reading any of the content.

Most of the time I reply to comments but sometimes I forget. I try not to let it stress me too much. If someone unfollows me because I wasn't following them, so be it.

Often I get an email/comment from a follower asking me to follow them. Ha!

Liz said...

I don't expect anyone to follow my blog just because I've followed theirs. When I stumble upon an interesting blog and want to read more from the blogger, then I'll follow so I won't miss any posts. If they follow me back, great! Glad to make a new connection with someone. If not, that's ok, too! If they are not interested in my content, they shouldn't feel obligated to connect. I would rather think that people following me are actually interested in what I have to say, instead of just "returning a favor".

It's amazing how social pressure extends even into the virtual world...

LR said...

You were the very first comment on my little blog. What an honor for me! :)

This is a great post and I totally agree about all the "followers" nonsense. This is not a popularity contest. No one is going to get published because they have 500 followers.

On the contrary, lots of "quiet" blogs with few followers often have a post one day that announces, "I got an agent!" or "I sold my book." Why - because the person was busy actually writing.

I follow a few people with whom I have regular exchange. But I only did it because I know it's important to them. A vote of confidence, so to speak.

Piedmont Writer said...

Thanks for this post. It's everything I've always wanted to say but don't have the balls.

I follow someone because I like their content. Being a writer I can only devote so much time to commenting (on their blogs). I read everyone's but don't necessarily comment except on my own. Which is the most important thing in my view.

Linda G. said...

Spot on, as usual. I'm loving your blogs about blogging -- I'll bet you have a real doozy planned for tomorrow!

Uh, no pressure. ;)

Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

Spot-on, Tawna. The personal connections are huge. It took us a while to figure this out. We were afraid to comment on sites, and then we realized you've got to get in the discussion. The connections have been rewarding and very helpful. By the way, you're going to find yourself in our Friday round-up like crazy this week ;)

Thanks so much!
Marissa

Alexa O said...

The thing that bothers me about the following game is that I am getting a sense that people only comment when they agree. They want me to follow them, so they say something complimentary. I find that very annoying.

On the other hand, I love the comments I get, I love leaving comments, and I've found a lot of great blogs by checking out the profile on a funny/thoughtful comment.

It's so fun to have an audience that participates!

Lisa said...

Great post! I know I need to be more consistent with my blog commenting. I go in spurts.

Patrick Alan said...

Wait. You have an Agent? Who?

I'm not good at blogging or commenting on my own blog. I like commenting on others. I was forced into blogging by a friend who's blog I commented on too much.

Seriously. At her first book signing, which I flew to Arizona for, half of her readers walked up to me and asked if I was that guy on her blog..

Shortly after, I started my own blog and I suck at it. I am happier when there is only two or three readers. Maybe if I had a book contract or some published books I would feel differently.

Penelope said...

Interesting! I've never once thought about asking someone to follow me just because I enjoy their content. Either someone finds me funny/intriguing/insightful...or they don't! And I'd rather followers be people who are authentically interested in what I have to say.

I think you do a marvelous job of responding to comments and that interaction is great.

Great series, Tawna!

Patrick Alan said...

What the????

Who is that dude stealing my name and commenting all serious-like? Certainly one as awesome as I would never comment in such a boring fashion.

Candyland said...

You pretty much said it. I don't follow people because they follow me. I follow because I want to read their blog.

Danica Avet said...

I think you got it all, Tawna. It can't be easy to comment on every comment on your blog and I imagine when you get hundreds and hundreds of comments, you'll be even more stressed trying to keep up. I try to comment back to comments on my blog, try to write interesting things to keep readers coming back for more, and I do have some regular visitors. The most popular days though, are my fantasy man fridays (go figure), lol.

It's okay though, not to follow absolutely everyone who comments or follows you. You're only human with responsibilities. If you followed everyone, you wouldn't have time to write and that would be a shame.

Pauline said...

I rarely comment on the blogs I read because I feel like I'm eavesdropping & then butting in on strangers. Maybe if I introduce myself first I'll feel better...? Hi! My name is Pauline :)

Patrick's Alen's comment hits the nail on the head for me! "Shortly after, I started my own blog and I suck at it. I am happier when there is only two or three readers. Maybe if I had a book contract or some published books I would feel differently."

That's just how I feel about my blog. And no, I don't mind chatting away to myself at this point.

Love your blog Tawna!

Matthew Rush said...

I hear you about the follower conundrum, and it is different with blogs than it is with FB friends or twitter followers.

On the one hand it is kind of awesome, on the other it's as terrible as the mean girls were in high school.

My blog has close to 300 followers. According to Google Analytics only about 10-20% of those people actually visit on a regular basis, although it's hard to know if every visitor is a follower, of course. It's completely arbitrary, but then again amazing blogs do tend to have more followers.

Commenting is different. I comment on hundreds of blogs but only get a few on my own. I'm okay with it though because I don't always write posts that inspire people to comment, and when I do ... they do.

This is a great post Tawna, thanks for sharing!

SM Schmidt said...

Like someone else said earlier, I feel weird commenting like I'm butting in on the cool kids talking. I'm still a wall flower that squeaked if someone asked me to dance, taking a step away from the wall to comment isn't smooth yet but heck I'm trying.

Tawna Fenske said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tawna Fenske said...

Can I just say I was a little nervous about this post going up today? I wrote it Monday before we left for our trip, and all week long I've been thinking "someone's going to get pissed about that whole follower thing." Glad to hear I'm not alone in my feelings about that!

Jade, good for you not letting yourself get too stressed about replying to all comments. I do it because it's something I want to do, but I'll admit there are days where it seems like one more thing on an already lengthy to-do list.

Liz, amen to this: "I would rather think that people following me are actually interested in what I have to say, instead of just "returning a favor"." My sentiments exactly.

LR, you're totally right about the popularity contest aspect of this not meaning much in the grand scheme of writing. I will say though that editors/agents do sometimes look at an author's blog and consider that lots of blog readers = lots of potential book buyers. Not an immediate concern for authors in the earliest parts of their career, but it might make a difference later.

Piedmont Writer, so you're saying I have balls? That's the nicest thing anyone's said to me all week!

Linda G, now I'm trying to remember if tomorrow's is a doozy. Hmmm...well, I guess I'll let you decide tomorrow :)

Marissa, thanks for including me in the round-up! I appreciate it!

Alexa, I had a few commenters in the early months who'd show up and just say, "nice blog, come read mine." I just tuned those ones out. However, I don't mind one bit if a regular commenter hops in and says, "I blogged about this same thing yesterday, you might like what I had to say." That's great, and I like it when you guys direct me to stuff I might genuinely like to check out.

Lisa, based on Google Analytics numbers, I know only a small fraction of readers actually comment, so don't feel bad!

Patrick, LOL, I've been thinking people might be wondering the same thing about my blog this week! Lots of serious advicey stuff, not so many random stories about moldy bread and underwear.

Penelope, sounds like you & I think alike! That's exactly how I assumed things worked, and was surprised to learn there was more to it than I realized.

Candyland, don't you sometimes wonder how often the early "followers" actually visit now? I'm always curious about that. It's easy to click that "follow" button and never show up again, and I can't help but suspect there are a few on my list who do that. Doesn't bother me at all, it's just interesting.

Danica, you're right -- there probably will be a day when I can't comment back to everyone because there are too many. That will be both an exciting day and a very sad one for me :)

Pauline, why do I feel like we should all welcome you like at a support group?! "Hi, Pauline...how long have you been laughing at immature jokes?" :)

Matthew, great point about the difference between blog followers and Twitter followers. I'm also curious how many of the people on my "followers" list really come here very often. Are there a bunch of readers who just never click that "follow" button? Based on the number of hits I see, I suspect that's the case.

SM Schmidt, I'll admit, there are certain blogs where I do feel a bit like an outsider where everyone else knows each other and I'm jumping in making stupid jokes about my pets. I know I love to see your comments here, so I hope you don't feel that way on this blog :)

Thanks for reading and commenting, guys! Great discussion today.

Tawna

Jessica said...

I'm just bumbling around on here as a new blogger myself. I'm aware that there is a "game", but I don't like it, don't want to play it.

I enjoy the discussion as well, my only motive is to inspire, encourage and share what I've learned. Maybe that's a bit naive, but I like to think we're all playing nice in the big sandbox of life! ;)

Summer said...

I use the same policy for all my networking sites (Blogger, Twitter, Facebook): I only follow you if I'm genuinely interested. I think the auto-follow thing is ridiculous--and I'd rather have 50 followers with whom I feel a connection than 500 who're only their obligatorily.

And Twitter? I don't understand how people have 1000+ folks that they follow. I haven't even breached 100, and I can barely keep up. Then again, I'm not really into using Twitter for honest networking yet, so that may change.

Some days I feel like commenting. Some days I don't.

As far as comments on my own blog, I'm afraid I've pretty much gone this way: if they have an email address enabled, then I will 98% of the time reply to their comment via email. But if they don't...so be it. Honestly, I never go back and check to see if an author responded to me. I have limited blogger time, and I don't spend it seeing if someone thinks I'm clever.

Anyway. This comment is getting far too long, so--great post. I agree 100%.

Michelle Wolfson said...

Wait, someone unfollowed your blog?? Tell me who it is so I can go scratch her eyes out.

Margaret said...

I only recently got up the nerve to start leaving comments, and still won't in many places. There's a sense of "what have I got to contribute?" It's easier when answering a question, because I have a lot of answers, both personal and because I've done a lot of research/have unusual experiences. But bringing that up at random feels a lot like a dinner party where there's interesting conversations all around me and I have to butt in to say anything. I'd prefer to listen and soak it in.

That said, I had to respond to the "following" problem, and I do think it's a problem. For following to mean anything, it has to be for real. Reciprocal following, commenting, tweeting, whatever, does not indicate anything about the person's interest level (or their time management ;)), and so is irrelevant as a measure. There are people I follow who I would never expect to follow me back, and I've had some fun surprises. However, I don't know if they really are fun, or just someone checking a button. I'd prefer people follow me, my blog, my Twitter, or whatever, out of genuine interest so I can tell that I've got something useful to say.

And now that I've gone on too long, I read your blog because you're funny, open, and interesting. While I manage that on occasion (the funny at least), people aren't going to check back every week for that on my blog.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Tawna, this is such a great discussion! I clicked the follow button my first visit to your blog, 'cause you have such a fantastic voice. But I follow blogs for a variety of reasons, and one of those is that the writer/blogger found and followed mine.

I don't feel the same way about non-writer bloggers, you know, mommy bloggers, sportsman/hunter bloggers, religious/political bloggers -- I have followers from all those groups, too. But I assume writer bloggers are here for some of the same reasons I am: to get my name out, to build that online platform I keep hearing about, and to connect with the writing community. So, I follow back.

And it's happened that I wasn't especially interested in a blogger's first post I read on my first visit to their site. But I scroll through Google Reader every day, and I always wind up reading awesome posts later on by that same blogger.

Now, all that said, I want to emphasize that I don't view this as an unspoken rule, to follow back. Nor do I expect writer bloggers I follow to follow me back. But, I love it when they do :D

That's my perspective. And since I follow a huge number of blogs, I don't have the time to read and comment every day on every post. I wish I could! But then I'd have to relinquish my self-proclaimed title of "Writer Blogger," and change it simply to "Blogger."

I missed the beginning of this series, so I'm off to get caught up. Keep doing what you're doing -- 'cause your blog is awesome!

((hugs)) Nicole

Kimber said...

I'm pretty suckatudinal when it comes to my own blog. Although I do share a lot of what is going on in my personal life, I am still afraid to let people see the “real” Kimber. I can be a tad warped and freaky and I do not want to send anyone running away from my blog waving their hands over their head in utter fear.

On the other hand, I do have a number of blogs that I follow and read on a daily basis. But as far as commenting...not so much. No. I find the blogosphere to be extremely cliquish. It makes me feel like I'm back in high school. With the click of my mouse I'm back to being the freakish girl who wore too much eyeliner and combat boots with her dresses.

beingcrys said...

I am terrible blogger, and a worse commenter. I just don't do it well. I'm also an old-fashioned follower. I don't use blogspot or blogger or whatever it's called now so that follow option isn't available to me. I follow from my bookmarks. hehe. I don't like the game that goes with it, as you said. That game is why I don't have a favorite blogs list either, or links or ... gahh. Stopping now.

Elizabeth Ryann said...

Oh, man. I don't even know how to unfollow a blog. I'm trying to imagine being pushed to the point where I'd send a passive-aggressive email about it, and I just can't. It's just so very far from the point. Though I had a similar instance of someone guilting me on Twitter for not following back. It's awkward, and certainly doesn't promote positive feelings.

Sierra Godfrey said...

Oh, you OWE me all right, Monkey-toes. You owe us a picture of you smacking yourself in the forehead with a celery stick.

(Incidentally, I couldn't agree more with everything you've said, from the import of a blog being the resulting discussion, to it being somewhat of a game --which is disappointing and annoying.)

Now, here's the interesting part. Your monkey toes post which CLEARLY LINKED TO ME -- after all, we were complicit in that post, I got very few click throughs to my blog, which had the sister post up to yours. That was very curious to me although I haven't really been arsed to examine why.

kd easley said...

Hi Tawna,
I'm with you on the follow thing. I haven't put one on my blog yet. Maybe I should, but I have a blog roll where I list blogs I like to visit and I update it periodically to include new blogs I've found. (not to self, add new blogs to blog roll) I wouldn't unfollow someone that didn't follow me for the simple reason, that it would never occur to me to look and see if everyone I followed was following me.

I love the friends I've made through blogs and it's fun to see some of the same people commenting on different blogs. I think it's a great way to make friends. If you run into the same person on a couple of blog comment trails, you've probably got a little bit in common so you have a place to start a friendship.

I do get a lot of visitors to my blog, but very few comments. Even when I sprinkle a few questions here and there throughout the post. Sometimes I feel like I'm just telling stories to myself. But that's okay. Maybe one of these days with a little more research I'll figure out the secret handshake. I think you've already found it. You have a great blog and it's one of the highlights of my morning blog tour.

Claire Dawn said...

Comments- I don't always reply to my commenters, but I read all my comments and on occasion, I respond to them in subsequent posts. I like that you respond to all your comments, and I do peep back in sometimes to see what you've said to things I posted on your blog.

Followers- I agree. I follow because I want to read. Currently I follow almost 50 blogs, and I read each of them every tim they post (or at least I did, until this trip to Tokyo). And it's hard work- it's like a job. I have no intention of following blogs I don't want to read. Or when I know I won't have time to read them. There are other awesome blogs out there. But there isn't enough time in the world to read them all.

The other thing that doesn't add up here, is that while it requires minimal effort on your part to have and keep 200 followers, it would be ridiculous to keep with 200 blogs.

Numbers. I realised a while ago that even though I only average 3 or so comments per post, I pick up new followers. Even without the help of google analytics, that obviously means I'm saying something someone wants to hear. Especially considering I only know 2 of 62 followers in real life.

Great post! :D

Anne R. Allen said...

Thanks for this post. I think LR makes a good point when she says "lots of "quiet" blogs with few followers often have a post one day that announces, "I got an agent!" or "I sold my book." Why - because the person was busy actually writing." We need to keep the whole blog thing in perspective.

I'm like you--my following is very random and sometimes I forget. I always wonder when I get unfollowed if I've said something to offend or it's just the follow me/I follow you rule. Mostly I don't follow writers who are just starting out, because I've been there, done that. But sometimes a newbie will grab me with something I hadn't thought of before.

I didn't know about Google Analysis. I'm going to go check it out right now. I saw a statistic somewhere that said only about 5%-10% of blog readers comment, which makes me feel better if I don't get a lot of feedback. Sometimes asking questions gets people commenting, but sometimes it falls flat. That happened when I asked about bad critique experiences. I think people didn't want to badmouth others in the writing-o-sphere. Probably very smart.

Claire Dawn said...

Comments- I don't always reply to my commenters, but I read all my comments and on occasion, I respond to them in subsequent posts. I like that you respond to all your comments, and I do peep back in sometimes to see what you've said to things I posted on your blog.

Followers- I agree. I follow because I want to read. Currently I follow almost 50 blogs, and I read each of them every tim they post (or at least I did, until this trip to Tokyo). And it's hard work- it's like a job. I have no intention of following blogs I don't want to read. Or when I know I won't have time to read them. There are other awesome blogs out there. But there isn't enough time in the world to read them all.

The other thing that doesn't add up here, is that while it requires minimal effort on your part to have and keep 200 followers, it would be ridiculous to keep with 200 blogs.

Numbers. I realised a while ago that even though I only average 3 or so comments per post, I pick up new followers. Even without the help of google analytics, that obviously means I'm saying something someone wants to hear. Especially considering I only know 2 of 62 followers in real life.

Great post! :D

Elizabeth Flora Ross said...

I follow blogs that interest me. I do assume those bloggers will at least check mine out, but it may not be something they are interested in. I don't expect them all to "follow" mine. I had been told that was an unwritten rule, but I don't like it.

The responding to comments thing is huge, but it is hard to keep up with at times. I am committed to it, but I have never heard anything back from people, so I don't know how much of a difference it makes for them.

You are SO right about looking at how many people visit your blog versus comment. That always surprises me. I try to comment on all the posts I read, to give the blogger feedback and/or validation. And I wish people would do the same for me. But, some people just may not have anything to say about a particular post. Doesn't mean they didn't enjoy it...

Suz said...

Tawna, you're becoming blog obsessed with stats and stuff. I went through that. Had to remove stat counter from my blog, it started to freak me out.

Like you said, people should just chill about the whole followers thing. I clear my following cache all the time and start over. Most of the kind peeps who follow me, I'm already following back anyway, but that's because they write good blogs!

Oh and one more thing, yours is my fave of them all. I'm not over flattering here. Just being honest. I can tell you take time on your blog posts and it shows in the amount of followers you've gained (and rightly so!) in just a few months.

Can't wait until the first of your books comes out! Your fiction writing must be brilliant if your blog writing is anything to go by!

Terry Stonecrop said...

Google analysis tells you, you have a lot more readers than you think and from all over the world. So it's helpful.

I always follow anyone who follows me. It doesn't cost anything to follow. And, as a writer, it's good to network with other writers. I always enjoy their blogs. If they blog daily I can't always keep up.

But I don't quite understnad the numbers game with the bloggers. Celebrating, like 50 followers.

I just wrote a blog about that but have been a little reluctant to post it. I'm tweaking it.

I love my comments section. I love the dialog with other bloggers. It's fun for me.

Great post! Good discussion.

My blog is about sex this week if you'd like to check it out;)

Harley May said...

I agree with all of this. You don't read and comment on someone's blog with the thought, "Oh, hey. Now they'll comment on mine." No. Great post. Great. Great.

You're pretty and we should braid each other's hair.

Ashelynn D. Sanford said...

As always, great post.

Confession time: I follow whoever follows me. But that doesn't mean I always read their posts, or even comment. I very rarely comment, actually. And like most people with blogger, I use Google Reader and if the post doesn't catch my eye right away, I skip over it.

I do comment back to whoever comments - most of the time. *eye roll*

Bethany Mason said...

I follow way more people than follow me but that doesn't really bother me. If I get a new follower I tend to visit their blog and after reading a few posts (or more if it's really good) I'll decide whether I like the blog enough to follow or not.

As for commenting, I often don't comment on blogs that have more than 10 comments - you're the lucky exception today - as I don't have the time to read through all the previous comments (no, I haven't read through them today) so if there is a discussion I don't want to enter it not knowing what's being discussed. However, if, like today, I can comment on the actual post then I will. I also only really comment if I feel I have something to actually say about the post.

Kay Bigelow said...

I read this post with interest because I'd been thinking nearly the same thing about the following issue. Once I started twittering, I noticed there were many people who followed me who had as many followers as they were following. Doing the math, I figured out that they weren't really interested in my tweets, they just wanted me to follow them. Several of them unfollowed me when I didn't follow them.

When I started blogging a few months ago, I decided I wanted to build a following slowly. I didn't realize who slowly it would be, though. LOL Perhaps I should spend as much time on reading blogs as reading tweets.

Jeannie said...

I always comment on comments left, even if it's just to say thanks for reading. I feel this is very important and shows readers you want to engage and are happy to hear what they have to say. As far as following, I appreciate blog followers, but I'm not keeping score at this point.

Tawna Fenske said...

Note to self: the next time you decide to do a week-long blogging series and make statements about how important it is to reply to comments, try not to do it when you'll be traveling all freakin' week and won't be able to reply as quickly as usual!

*sigh*

Jessica, I'm with you, I tend to have a "we're all here to help each other" attitude, and it annoys me when things turn out not to be so simple.

Summer, I started off following everyone on Twitter who followed me first, but that quickly got overwhelming and I had to stop. Now I try to keep it to people who make an effort to interact with me. It's getting easier, but I still don't have it nailed down.

Michelle, the mark of a great agent = willingness to scratch eyeballs on my behalf! :)

Margaret, the whole idea of seeing a comment trail as a discussion among participants is new to me. I always used to think of it as individual comments meant to be read separately, but I'm just now realizing how much commenters interact with each other. I find that fascinating.

Nicole, I like your rules, and the fact that they're a bit flexible. I should nail some of that down for myself.

Kimber, hey, "warped and freaky" can sell. Just ask my agent & editor :)

Beingcrys, I don't use Google Reader much myself, so I rely on the same method you do of bookmarking blogs I want to visit regularly. I'm sure there's an easier way, but this seems to be working for me right now.

Elizabeth Ryann, you know what? I have no idea how to unfollow a blog either! I never really thought about doing it, so I'm not sure how these people are managing it.

Sierra, how funny on the Monkey Toes post not sending many hits your way! I think I had at least three different links to your blog, but people must not be clicking through. I'll admit, I often don't click links in blogs myself because I don't want to lose my place. I wonder if that's part of it? Interesting.

WHOOPS, I'VE WRITTEN TOO MUCH! BLOGGER IS CUTTING ME OFF. MORE COMMENT REPLIES TO FOLLOW...

Tawna Fenske said...

...CONTINUED FROM ABOVE...

kd easley, you're right -- it seems like an awful lot of work to spend time figuring out who's following you back and then go unfollow them. Incidentally, I've wondered if that person who unfollowed me & then sent the note about it has seen this post? I assume not since she made such a point of unfollowing me, but I'd be curious about her take on it.

Claire Dawn, this is an excellent point, and I couldn't agree more: "while it requires minimal effort on your part to have and keep 200 followers, it would be ridiculous to keep with 200 blogs."

Elizabeth Flora Ross, I, too, wonder how many people check back to see if I replied to their comment. I've heard from a few people who choose to "subscribe" to my comment trail, so maybe that's what they do? (I'll be honest, I didn't even know that was an option on my blog 'til someone told me).

Suz, I'm not becoming obsessed with stats, I've ALWAYS been obsessed with them :) It comes from having a background in Marketing & Corporate Communications and needing to constantly measure ROI (return on investment) to determine what's working and what isn't. Stats help a lot with that, and I'm definitely learning which tools in my social media arsenal are most effective. Thanks so much for the flattery, btw! I'm excited that YOU'RE excited about the books!

Terry, I am soooooo heading over to your sex blog as soon as I'm done catching up post-vacation. Thanks for the tip!

Harley May, I agree wholeheartedly. Can you French braid?

Ashelynn, I think every blogger or blog reader just has to find a system that works for them. I'm spouting my personal "rules" this week, but I know they won't work for everyone :)

Bethany, very interesting about not commenting on blogs with more than 10 comments. I had never considered that and actually thought people sometimes do the opposite -- jump in when a blog looks like it's generating a lot of commentary. Thanks for giving me something new to think about!

Kay, I'm still trying to figure out the Twitter follower game, but I've definitely had to slow down on the number of people I follow back. It was getting nearly impossible to keep up!

Jeannie, do you have a tough time keeping up on replies to comments? Do you think there will be a point where you just can't keep up? I'm not at that point yet, but I wonder if I will someday reach it.

Thanks so much for reading, guys!
Tawna

Meghan Schuessler said...

I agree with what Terry said. It doesn't cost a thing to follow someone back. To me, following someone who follows me is the polite thing to do. If you don't enjoy their blogs, don't read them. Just because you're a follower doesn't mean you're forced to be a reader as well.

Now when I follow blogs of bestselling authors or in-demand agents, I don't expect a follow in return. But, especially when it comes to writers who are all trying to build a platform, if I follow a fellow writer who is new to writing and/or publishing like myself, I do get a little peeved if they don't follow me back. To me it's about reciprocity. It's not a "game", it's about helping each other out in any way possible

Suz said...

Wow Tawna, you marketing juggernaut you!

Tawna Fenske said...

Meghan, I do make an effort to click that little "follow" button whenever I remember to, but it annoys me when people DEMAND it or get pissy when someone doesn't follow back. Once upon a time, I had a job where I worked a lot of long hours because I enjoyed the job and wanted to make the extra effort. I didn't expect extra pay or pats on the back because it felt good to work hard & do a good job. Then one day, the boss informed my team that it was EXPECTED we would put in those long hours. Guess how much I enjoyed it after that? And guess how grudgingly I kept track of every single overtime hour I put in? I guess that's my issue here. I want to follow people's blogs because I WANT to do it. Not because someone tells me I have to.

Suz, yeah, it's a sickness sometimes :)

Thanks for reading, guys!
Tawna

Regina said...

I follow blogs that bring me inspiration with their words. Bring me joy and entertain me. I learn a lot reading what others have to say.

I agree with what you are saying. I did have a person offer to follow me if I followed her and I tried for a little bit but it seemed like her blog was all over the place and not giving me the information that I was looking for.

She never commented on any of my posts making me assume that she didn't really care for what I had to say either so it really made me wonder if she really was only trying to gather a following.

I only follow those who are interesting to me. Mostly I get them from others that I am following and they suggest other sites to follow and when I check them out, I become addicted. I don't expect anything from anyone. So if I have two followers or two hundred, it makes no difference to me because I believe in what I have to say.