A few weeks ago I heated up water so I could make some tea. I put on my as yet unhacked spotify and put my ipad on the little table next to my favorite reading chair. As the water heated up, I opened up my wordpress reader. I spotted a post by one of my blogging buddies, Andrea, and under her post was the Load More Post thing. I heard my kettle go off so I clicked on “load more” and I got up to make tea. When I got back, Andrea’s post had gone off into thin air.

I went into my “Manage” section and I found I had a lot of blogs that I follow. Ok- I know that. But I also realized that I didn’t recognize many of these blogs.

Hmmm

What’s a decluttering girl like me going to do?

I went into “manage” and I started clicking on sights. I clicked on every sight. Every one.

Yup.

Ok- first thing I noticed: I had a whole ton of blogs that hadn’t written anything since 2017, when I first started my blog. Ok- I know this sounds mean, but if they haven’t blogged in two years, well, I’m guessing there’s no shot they’re going to pick it up again. So out they go.

Then I noticed that I have a lot of blogs that I didn’t recognize, but they wrote often. How could this happen? How could they not show up in my reader, ever? Ok- we’ll table this for later. Just remind me. So I began reading some of them. Good stuff- so I kept them and now consider them blog friends.

The last phenomena I noticed were the amount of blogs that had three or less posts in total. Back when I started blogging, I would follow anyone that followed me. I immediately recognized the quid quo pro theory- to have followers you needed to follow. Ok fine. When I got more established, I also began following newbies: I knew how hard it was in the beginning to not have anyone read  my blog, and how thankful I was for those who gave me a chance. I was paying it forward a bit: I was willing to give a new blogger a chance to find their voice and support them.

Ergo- I followed a lot of bloggers that gave up real quick.

The bloggers that gave up quickly: I noticed a pattern among them. Almost every one of them used the phrase “Join me (us) on this journey”. I have now decided that those words are the bloggers kiss of death. If you write these words on your first blog you are not going to survive.

Why?

As I have not done a research study on this, I can only give you my humble (?) opinion. When you use the word “Join” you are specifically writing to an audience. You expect that people will listen.

Bad expectation.

Anyone who has blogged for awhile knows that you blog for yourself. You put the words on the page because you want to write every day in a public platform. Of course you want to be read, to have followers, to be liked, but that’s not the reason you blog. You blog because you have something to say, but the audience doesn’t matter as much as you putting words on the page and hitting publish.

The people who say “Join me” have set up very high expectations. The people who say “join me” are disappointed when 5,000 people don’t immediately follow them. And they stop writing. Probably because they weren’t writing for the right reason.

Blogging is hard, especially in the beginning. Advice to new bloggers: remember “Field of Dreams”? If you write, people will come…. you just need to be patient. Do you know how long it takes to clear a farm and make a baseball field?

But back to that other pesky question: how can I have blogs in my rotation that I never actually see? Here’s my other theory: you know how you’re out with your cell phone and you’re in a remote area? You know how your battery runs down because it keeps searching for signal? I think reader does the same thing: there are so many blogs that it keeps circling, expecting these dormant blogs to post, and then it gets trapped in some sort of loop. And when it’s in the loop, things get lost. And you miss posts.

So now my reader is lighter. I am seeing all my friends on a regular basis. Life is good in blogging world…

As long as you don’t want me to join you on this journey…

 

 

109 thoughts on “Join Me on This Journey

  1. ‘You blog for yourself.’ I agree with you – you do, at the end of the day. The number of followers you have doesn’t necessarily mean what it may look like – you have a few readers, a few people you connect with. But blogging is a public platform, and that helps me to work out what I can say in public and what not – this is the latest conclusion I have come to.

    Liked by 9 people

  2. I do an annual clean up like this and really rather enjoy it because organization is very satisfying to me.
    I’ve never had many followers (perhaps a few hundred over time) and that’s okay because as you said, I began this blog as an extension of a story I started for my kids long ago. The number has come way down since my last removal. So many of those were those random follows that never interact and that bothers me to no end, so off they go!
    I do find it hard to remove a few blogs that have gone MIA though. They were wonderful blogs and I secretly keep hoping they may return someday, but that’s now rather naive of me to expect they will return.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I know what you mean about the MIA. The ones I loved I kept, hoping that they’ll return. But there were others I didn’t even remember. I felt a little bad, and I made sue I read the last few posts of theirs to make sure there was no hint that they were taking time off

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I have to get around to a reader clean up too- it is on my list… Life is so insane lately that I rarely get on here as often as I would like. I hope that when things settle, I am back blogging more and able to read through more posts. I have goals to upgrade my site etc… I always seem to see the same five people on here and I follow a ton of blogs. (Now that you have pointed it out- I am curious to see who has just given up and who is still truckin’ along)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Once you get in and manage the blogs you read you’ll be surprised at what you see and don’t see. I had so many dormant blogs!! But now I feel better! Amazing how something seemingly silly makes you feel better

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes I reveal some personal things and am hoping that the reader has not joined me when I reread the blog. I am hoping for some interaction from those who may have some advice or have been in the same place at the same time and be brave to offer their observations.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I need to de-clutter. I feel like I’m missing everyone’s posts, and unless someone likes my post, sometimes I don’t see their blog…ever. Anyway, great post. I so agree. Blogging for yourself. Followers are important, only in that I like to interact with people! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Exactly! I like followers because I love the interaction amongst everyone. It’s makes it so much more fun when people interact! And yes…the problems with reader are crazy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes!! So true. The reader is insane. I’ve just decided I’ll have to read posts through the manage section…which is so unappealing, but at least I’ll see everyone’s posts.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Whew. I did it! haha. I can’t believe how many blogs I was following that hadn’t updated in 1 or 2 years.

        Like

  6. I must admit that someone who tells me to do something isn’t going to get a lot of positive action (follow) from me. Like the ‘must read’ headings (not just blogs, also social media). Who are you to tell me what I *must* read? lol

    The way to get followers, if this is how you want your cookie to crumble, is to go read blogs, and then COMMENT on and LIKE the blog you read (if in fact you liked it and have something to say about it). This is how dialogue happens and for many of us, this is what drives us (I think).

    It’s easy to just put words on the screen and hit publish. Something may come of it, something may not. If it matters to you that something happens (dialogue, follows) then you have to consider that it takes work to foster that relationship.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Completely agree. There are many bloggers who just assume that people will follow their journey, without realizing that everyone else is on a journey too. The best thing about blogging is the interaction!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. If I really just wanted to write to work through my stuff, then my blog would be private, or a handwritten journal. As you suggest, I want to be heard, and I want to be able to engage, and if I can entertain or teach in the process, that’s great.

    I used to feel compelled to comment on each and every post from each and every blogger I followed. It’s good manners, right? I’ve realized that some people are writing to be heard, and they need the reader to bear witness. To hear them. Comments or advice are not necessarily welcome or appropriate in some cases. Then the like button is all I can offer to show that I’m here, I’m listening.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sometimes a blog is perfect as it is, and require no additional comment. And some posts beg you to comment. And some days I’m bust and reading on the subway or bus and I can’t comment because it’s tough. But I admit I love the whole interaction of blogging. It’s fun

      Liked by 1 person

  8. So now you’ve led us on a journey to declutter our feeds and follows. LOL. “The best thing about blogging is interaction.” I have just begun to realize that it is okay for me to comment on a comment made by someone else on a blog that I follow. For the longest time I’ve been shy to do that. Guess it’s the introvert in me coming out.

    Liked by 6 people

  9. I did the same thing and deleted some of those folks. I also have followers who have the same story over and over and over on their blog whenever I click on it so I deleted them. However, there are two followers who I never see on my reader list when they post and they also have the same story time and time again on their sites. It gives me the creeps and I’ve tried to block them, but have been unsuccessful. I absolutely agree with your statement “that’s not the reason you blog. You blog because you have something to say, but the audience doesn’t matter as much as you putting words on the page and hitting publish.” That is the only reason I blog.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Me too! I love the interaction, but I don’t write for the crowds. I write because I like it and if people follow and comment it’s a delightful bonus

      Like

  10. I had to come back and comment again because I spent some time after my first comment looking at followers and followed blogs on my end. I was rather surprised to find that blogs I believed I was following, ie: many of the folks who comment so wisely on your posts LA, only to find that I haven’t been following them at all!!
    Some follow me already, some don’t, but I enjoy reading the comments from others and even interact with them on your blog sometimes, so there must be a positive reason to follow them as well, and I am not 😦
    Sadly I’m not sure if I have just not gotten around to hitting follow for those folks (which is no excuse) or I may presume that I thought I was following them and clearly do not know what end is up!
    I am having coffee now and am going to make a concerted effort to add some folks to my list! Thanks for forcing me to confront this issue 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Great post! I noticed some similar patterns and have been saddened when some bloggers disappeared because their writing seemed promising. I’ve also heard of this thing called “churning” where people people follow you expecting the return follow, and then they dump you after you follow them. I suppose they think they are in a competition in racking up numbers of followers – to what end? I have no clue. You’re completely right about blogging taking work and about how we write for ourselves. I do have a list of favorite blogs (your on that list) that I make a point of visiting because I enjoy the read. I’m not always timely, but I do make a point of circling back and catching up on these blogs. Basically, I just love to read good writing. It doesn’t matter what the topic is if it’s written well. No journey to join here 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Thanks for this post! I’m pretty new to blogging and I found your post so encouraging because it assured me that I am blogging for the right reason – for me! I’ve read a lot of posts about building successful blogs and they often seem to be about the numbers of followers. When you only have a handful that can be a little discouraging. It’s really lovely to have people read your blog but it’s also good to know as a newbie that that’s not what it’s all about and I’m not crazy (maybe?) because I want to write.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. That phrase makes me think of some scary movie with little girls saying “Join us!” in the creepiest tone of voice you can imagine. Since I’m so not a scary movie person, I’m just going to NOT on that one.

    The ones I’m most puzzled by are the ones I’ve recently started getting email notifications for that I have no memory of ever following in the first place and what I’ve seen of their blogs, probably never would have. I had a couple pop up this morning that has left me scratching my head and wondering if I need to be concerned about memory loss.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I had someone pop up in my feed recently that there is no way I would have followed. Though I do know I’ve seen bloggers change there blog title, and their mission statement, so it could be a case of that

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Possibly, but they would have had to put together a lot of posts because the one I looked at this morning didn’t look new. That and I got an email of a post, but there wasn’t one in my reader feed. It was just weird.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I stopped getting emails of posts unless that’s the only way to see a blog. I’m trying to find the best way to read posts. I think I’m going to houseclean every few months

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I just finished doing an Instagram purge where I ended up unfollowing over 200 accounts that haven’t been active in anywhere from 1-3 years. I have decided to go through all of my social media accounts and do this. I am currently going through twitter.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Great post! I really do need to declutter because I follow lots and lots of blogs, but I need to wait until I’m thinking clearly because I don’t want to unintentionally get rid of any really good blogs:)

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Brilliant post LA, your observation is spot on correct. Time to time a newbie will comment myself saying they are new here and would I follow them, but ‘sadly’ of course their blog will be sooon abandoned because as you say they are writing to an audience. Never works out!

    Anyone who has blogged for awhile knows that you blog for yourself, I’ll go further you have to try and interact otherwise you’ll get disheartened and just no bother. Interacting is half the fun!

    Liked by 4 people

  17. I always let my blog friends (ie readers) know when I am going to take a break. I too hate it when bloggers just disappear. Since I don’t have a regular posting schedule it only seems fair to tell people I will be gone however long.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. That’s an interesting observation about the “join me” bloggers. I’ve been sad to see some good blogs fade away and keep them on my follow. I occasionally go through and delete ones that haven’t posted in a long while. I had NOT noticed that some blogs I follow just aren’t showing up in Reader. I’d better look into that.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I went through manage and looked at every blog to see when they last posted, because following that many blogs slowed down my feed. It’s just another thing to declutter

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Interesting. While I’ve never been a “join me on this journey” poster, I’m close to deciding on a destination. I think it time to move to an infrequently updated portfolio post. Cull the content, be crisp but not always fresh, and jot a note in response to another when that “post a day” jones acts up.

    In other words, I lack the guts to deal with Gutenberg, and have no patience for bloggers lacking the grace to even glimpse at one’s about page.

    Nice write, thoughtful post.

    Liked by 5 people

  20. I know what you mean. I started blogging about 15 years ago over at blogspot. Moved over this past year as my life changed. I’ve always said blogging was my therapy. I do it for me. I’d love more followers and interaction but ultimately, yes, it’s for me and I really enjoy it.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. I blog for myself, I love to look back to ‘what I did this time last year’ and often have a laugh at myself.
    I never really care if anyone reads or follows, now that sounds really bad and ungrateful to those that do read and follow, I love you I really do.
    I have never notice missing blogs from my reader, what I am having a problem with at the moment is following people, I click the follow button and nothing happens and I can’t get blogroll to work at all!!

    Liked by 3 people

  22. I love this and I completely agree. When I started blogging back in early 2016 it was just after I had my first baby. It was definitely for me and was largely self care. I wanted to express myself and be a part of a community of like-minded people.
    I could certainly blog more often, but now that I have two babies it is a lot harder. I’m hoping to get back into the habit!

    Liked by 3 people

  23. You’ve got a lot of people reflecting as a result of this post, LA! Good job. There’s no doubt that looking for instant hits and Likes as soon as we hit “Publish” is addictive. We’ve chosen a topic, thought about it, articulated it to the best of our ability … responses give us validation that we have succeeded in connecting with our readers. It’s awfully hard not to take it personally when you get little response to something you poured your heart into. But the biggest value in writing a blog post, as you and do many of your responders say, is writing for yourself. Writing allows you to sort through your thoughts. Writing allows you to open the door to creativity that you didn’t know you had. Similarly, when I make a quilt for someone, the recipient often doesn’t savour the finished work nearly as much as I did during the whole process, choosing the pattern, fabric, and lovingly putting it all together. I had to train myself that it was enough that I felt a sense of accomplishment, just as I train myself to do with my blog posts! I’m just so grateful that blogging exists and I get to interact with so many of you all over the world. Who could have imagined!

    Liked by 5 people

  24. Hmmm. I may have to go back and remind myself how I started!!! I’m still relatively new as a Reader user so I don’t have any trouble. But I have “met” a lot of bloggers through other bloggers and gained some followers from them as well. I would like more followers but you’re right. I write for myself. It’s often my therapy.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. Great post. I’ve never given much thought to the “join me” folk, but I suppose you’re right that they’re not always writing for the best reasons. It does have to be for yourself first, otherwise you’ll have a whole set of unmet expectations.

    Slightly off-topic here, but have you noticed that WP has begun a more aggressive way of showing similar posts from other bloggers in the Reader? I clicked on one after finishing a post from someone I follow, and it opened up into this hideous series of gifs of hardcore pornography under which was an erotic story. I think my blogger buddy had posted about her brother’s 60th wedding anniversary, so I have no idea how WP’s algorithm matched them up. Ugh. – Marty

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Omg you stumbled upon my other blog!! 😉 but anyway, I only noticed the join me phenomena after I opened up every single site I follow. Then I noticed a pattern. I have not seen bizarre things in my You should be interested…but now that you’ve said it I’m sure I will!!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Excellent words re writing for yourself and so true. I find it doesn’t matter how many people read my posts, I’m the one who has to be satisfied with them, not others. If they are, that’s a bonus. Great topic, as usual.

    Like

  27. Hey! Well, this post reminded me that I need to do some decluttering myself. I believe the responses give us a sense of…validation. That you’re doing a great job and people are listening to your words so keep it up. Also, when people read your writings, they also offer criticism and you get to imrpove. It was one of the main reasons why I started blogging. Cuz I wanted to improve my creative writing. But that definitely doesn’t mean that you’re writing for others to notice or for them to “join” you right from the first post. In fact, you write to put more of yourself in this big, wide world. Thanks for reminding me that.😁
    And sorry for this looong comment.😅 Your post got me talking.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Love this post! I may have thanked my readers for joining me on my journey (oops), but my heart is full of love and a feeling of accomplishment for finishing my memoir (now in the hands of my editor). I agree that needing validation from others can hurt us more in the end. Write for yourself because it’s what you love.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Yes I do this also! I clean up the feed so I can stay current. When I worry too much about what it is I am blogging about or not reading enough of other people I don’t now I’ve lost focus on why I started in the first place. You are correct that we must be true to yourself and the rest will follow.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. I double checked my blog for the kiss of death “join my journey.” Thank goodness I avoided that phrase! I think I used “my journey” but I certainly don’t expect anyone to get on that runaway train with me. =)

    Like

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