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Journal Entry 1305/11/21

What have l done for me lately?

It all started with a series of epiphanies … the first one was in June of 2019, the next was in December of that year, another happened in August of 2020 but the real Epiphany Tidal Surge began in earnest on March 1st 2021!

This Year ….

This year l have been on a journey – a learning curve of discovery and rediscovery into who l am, but also, who is the man behind this blog and what does he REALLY want from the whole process? It’s been an interesting trip and a fascinating experience of education on what is, what was, what’s new with me as a writer and a social communicator and commenter.

The real trek into change for the GUY blog began on March 01st and ends in the next week or so. I have broken, ceased, stopped, tweaked, twiddled, fiddled, adjusted, refined, improved, researched, studied, adapted, and evolved in the months between March – today. These 9 months alone have seen more alterations from me than from September 2017 when the blog launched to the end of February this year.

This year, l stopped the majority of prompts l was hosting like the many [too] many question series and the games, l dropped and chopped 75% of all the other series l was offering my readership to read, contribute to and take part in .. l ended the long running Morning Greetings post … l made the firm decision to make this blog a very personal blog as opposed to the cosmopolitan blog l was working towards.

What was a cosmopolitan blog anyway? People asked fairly …

For me it simply meant an eclectic structure that could easily accommodate diversity or diversities into a form of multipersonalised topics – it mattered not, the concept of introducing a business to the GUY blog would not have been a feasible potential – it simply would have floundered.

I played the ‘people’ games with my blog in the early days of 2018/19 that l thought was expected of me in order to fit into the community here – the prompt hopper’s game, the social game, the community game, the lost game too – as in the ‘who am l and what is my blog identity game? I floundered there also … l lost my way for a wee while with the launching of The 3 Sides 2 1 a few months ago as an interim blog.

But then, l had two epiphanies in quick succession – one after the other – and l wasn’t that worried, afterall l had experienced several all this year, what difference would it make to have two more? Well one gave me the way forwards for the business blog and other paved the way for the personal blog – simply put it was shaped in the form of solving a riddle l had from the time l started blogging – ‘How does ONE read everything and interact and engage with everyone who follows us?’

The answer was truly simple … one doesn’t!!

It’s like a taboo subject in some ways, the elephant in the room, that which should not be discussed just acknowledged … it’s not overly cryptic, it is simply how readers and writers alike manage to ‘actually manage’ in a sustainable fashion .. how can one read XXX number of blogs with only 24 hours in one day??

You can’t – even those who write very minimally CAN NOT read everyone that follows them. [Well it is possible if one only has a small amount of people following them in the first place] So what many people do, readers and writers alike do – is they don’t pay it homage, they don’t salute it – they just get on and sweep the topic under the carpet – they do what they can.

BUT and this confusion has been with me for many years … not just whilst blogging, but with all social medias in general – why do so many people think that they need XXX number of followers and why follow XXX numbers of followers if we can’t read from them all in one day, one week, one month, one millennium? Do we really need to have thousands of followers and more so 1] on personal blogs and 2] on non-business oriented blogs – how social do we all have to be, how many people do we all really need to try and be social with, to interact with. How many non-interactive people do we need in our lives?

We certainly can’t read everything they produce, not if we want to have a life, write our own content and basically exist – we don’t live , breathe and shit WordPress or other forms of Social Media.

We live lives …..

The secret to sustainability is to not lie, but simply to not think about it …. but there were ways of making life easier … l discovered many of them over the last 15 months and having experienced several profound epiphanised [yes, that’s my word] moments!

  • Write Less content daily
  • Write more engaging, reflective or resonating content
  • Engage more frequently with reading
  • Pinpoint those that are regular readers/engagers and interactors
  • Make for a more genuine social experience
  • Offer more eclectic content even if offering less choice
  • Make blogging less stressful and overwhelming
  • Identify the people who are your immediate community and write to them and not write for everyone

…………….

In the last couple of weeks alone l have read a couple of excellent posts that made me think about how l have been making the right choices and one that made me take serious reduction action this week alone.

The first post was written by Ashley What Do You Like to See in Your Blog’s Comments Section? Whilst that was about content and comments, Ashley and l were discussing how we had seen a reduction in the overall genuine interaction and engagement from our readerships from the time we started our blogs a few years ago …. and the other post was from Paula when she was ranting about the Do Nothings – TMP32: Do-Nothing Followers.

An excellent post about the followers we ALL have that do absolutely nothing. They don’t engage, they don’t interact, they don’t comment, they either simply hit like or NOT , but mostly they are simply ‘there’ they are lurkers they are merely machine cogged data numbers that decide to add themselves like a sticky unwanted substance to our blogs.

They don’t contribute ….. they – just – do – nothing ……….

Me personally, l have always had a seriously genuine distaste for what l call the LIKEMONLI Monsters – those who are serial LIKERS, they never interact with you, they just hit like to everything. It got to me soooooooooo much that l actually disabled on my actual blog’ the LIKE button. Of course, WP don’t allow me to disable the LIKE button in the Reader … but then l don’t read from the Reader … l only read from the blogs direct. So l don’t see people liking my posts the genuine ones or the fakers.[I get a notification in my directory who has liked what]

It’s rare that l use the gummings inside the admin ….. but this last week, l have been using the internal administration processes a lot … in the comments section of Paula’s post, she decided to take action on her ‘do nothing followers’ and delete them from her directory.

I also decided to delete my ‘do nothings’, but l then additionally decided that considering how one of my main issues since 2017 has been about the ‘taboo’ subject of how do you read from all your followers … and the answer being you can’t .. well then l realised that you actually could.

You simply had to be brutally honest with yourself and identify who actually mattered to you? Who did you consider your friends and immediate community on a blog that is a personal non-business blog? But more importantly – who actually engaged with you on a regular basis??

I am not bothered about the statistics, not these days and with all the changes l have made, it is easy to see that l care not for the figures side . But l DO care about being able to read from those that l want to read from and not feel guilty about not being able to read from all the others. What’s the point of having X,000 followers when they don’t read your content, don’t engage or interact with you and only occasionally hit LIKE to something they haven’t read or skimmed for 5 seconds anyway?

There isn’t ANY need for me to experience that …. so, l then opted to reduce the figure of blogs that follow me from 2768 to 113 in the first sweep and the following day l then took those down to 97 [although the real figure is only 40]. Those 97 readers and writers combined are my immediate social community circle – they read and engage and interact with me on a regular basis every month and l do the same with them. Afterall, l have to be realistic – l am unable to read from thousands of different blogs and maintain a social friendship with everyone ..

l wanted to work on offering a genuine social experience and you can’t do that for thousands of people at once especially on a personal blog. I performed the same reduction actions on blogs that l am following – if l don’t read them or engage and interact with them, l needn’t follow them for doing so makes me as guilty as the non-followers are to me …. l started with a figure there of 3976 and took that down to way, way less …

The figures are also a bit confusing because if l count the actual followers in my directory – it reads 40 but for some reason comes up as 97 on my statistics … l experienced the same oddity with the blogs that l am supposed to be following which should read 55, but for some bizarre reason is displayed as 403??

It’s an interesting journey by itself when you start to really examine your follower figures …. you start to see how many blogs have disappeared since they or you started following each other, or have become inactive even if they are still there, many are simply not updated merely dormant empty shells with words inside but no true life within….

You see who you follow and who doesn’t follow you back, you learn a lot very quickly when going through your figures properly and you start to ask yourself a lot of questions about genuine social interaction and engagement and that then took me back to how Ashley and l had discussed how in the last twelve months alone that engagement figures seemed to be lower despite the sheer numbers of ‘supposed readers and followers’ rising.

Years ago, l used to follow back if someone followed me … that was foolish, but l thought that WAS what was expected of us as bloggers ….. l stopped following back in December 2019 … people still followed me, but l was only following those who actually engaged with me, not just LIKED, but actually commented. The staggering fact is this … from January 2020 – October 2021 l had 430 new followers ‘follow’ me and from all of those l only had 8 that actually engaged with me and are now firmly on my reading list ….. 8.

When l began unfollowing ‘non-engagement blogs’ this week, my starting figure was 3976 Blogs that l personally followed and as of last night it was on 403. It should be way less but the figure according to WordPress is 403 that l follow, even though in my Manage Blogs section, it doesn’t display 403 blogs to me …. only 55 … ??

Perhaps to some, my actions might seem extreme – l don’t think that is the case, l actually think it is realistic and honest. I don’t use the Reader BUT if l did, l am now only seeing posts written by those who take the time out to interact with me and l them, and those l wish to read the content from. I will no longer have hundreds of emails coming in from people that don’t read me and l don’t read them .. win win.

It’s that simple – l am no longer hoarding followers here …..

……….. of course this is not news to those who keep their follower to and from figures sensibly low anyway …

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32 thoughts on “Journal

  1. I thought about doing this. And I did make a start but it needs a lot of time to do the culling of the blogs I follow who never interact with me. As for removing the non-human/ reactive bloggers, that will take even more time. One day I’ll do it.

      1. Thanks Rory! Soon I’ll do it. At least the ones I follow but never read and who never interact with me, those I can sort out.

  2. I don’t have that many followers and there are those who follow me but who I don’t follow because I have no interest in their blogs. I never ‘like’ something unless I really read it and liked it. To be honest even my most favorite bloggers, who I enjoy reading and look forward to reading, often elicit no comment from me because I have nothing to contribute to the conversation. I am actually looking for more blogs to follow. (I just checked – I have 64 followers, most of whom I don’t know at all and they have never engaged.)

    1. Hey Grace, l think one of the biggest problems l have seen in the last ten years especially and more so since the arrival of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but of course IG is also included in this is that it somehow became the norm for people to blindly ‘hit’ follow and that has now become both a societal defining and damning alike behaviour with people – and most of the time, they don’t even know why they do it.

      Five minutes after posting this post, l had some new blog follow me after hitting LIKE to a Dear Blog post dated 21/08/21 – why? Comments are shut down, why LIKE it then press follow? Why not even look at current content?

      So, l have removed them.

      I have a Facebook account, have had it since 2009 so 12 years of age and how many people do l have there? 17 and l know most of them, and they don’t interact with me either …. l could drop the lot tomorrow and not worry about it, it’s just another hoarding mechanism of society – the so called we need to belong to a community – but all it is is herd behaviour again.

      i am done with this kind of behaviour, the business blog will be different to a degree – because it will be an actual business blog and ‘traffic is king’, BUT, traffic isn’t everything, whereas engaement and genuine interaction is.

      Here, l just decided ‘enough is enough’, time to take control again.

      I am the same as you, much of the time l read content, l will only like what l like and l will only comment when l have something of interest or value to add 🙂

      1. I’m someone who actually might do something like what you mentioned with the Dear Blog post. If I stumble across someone’s older post that interests me, I would hit follow so their new stuff would show up later in my Reader feed rather than me going hunting for it.

        1. I would agree with you in normal circumstances Ashley, but this wasn’t a ‘normal follow’, this was more of a new site looking to have a quick follow back. I have seen a lot of these follow types over the last few years.

          I have liked your blog post and followed your blog’, ‘please follow back – that is what it was. if it had been a blogger with more than 1 follower, l would have agreed, it was someone ‘bookmarking’ my blog.

  3. Wow, that’s a lot of people you’ve chopped!

    I’ve never done the follow-back thing. I only followed blogs that I was actually interested in reading. Over the last year or two, I’ve gotten more proactive at unfollowing blogs that I was seldom reading. In the past year, I’ve also gotten more proactive at unfollowing mental health blogs that I was regularly reading but they were never reading mine, because that was bugging me.

    I don’t think I’ll ever bother with culling my followers, for a few reasons. Mostly it’s because it doesn’t affect my life enough for me to want to put the time in, and it’s far more relevant to me to actively manage the blogs that I’m following, because they’re what fill up my Reader feed.

    What I find odd is how much more prevalent tit for tat serial liking seems to have become. I don’t mind when someone like Sebastian likes my posts, and I don’t actually get a lot of likes from those serial liker types, but it does bug me that there seems to be so much of it going on. While genuine engagement seems to be down across the board, the serial likers are getting a lot of activity. It’s just weird.

    1. Hey Ashley, yeah for me and the deletion was also a lot about OCD [as l have agreed with Paula below]. I could have left the figures but it rankled me and l at times get very tired with certain things and just want some clarity.

      Typically Sebastion was the first to randomly LIKE this post …. why am l surprised!

      There is a lot more ‘stranger than normal behaviour happening these days’, l recognise the behaviour from other social medias. I know blogging is a form of social media, but it used to be quite selective – now it’s no different to other mass visited platforms.

  4. Thanks for the shout-out. Like you, I am constantly tweaking my blog experience. I have changed my attitude of trying to please the widest audience possible to posting only what pleases ME. Luckily, my posts are appreciated by a couple dozen folks (not always the same ones), which is enough. I’ve given up the idea that I’ll ever be popular on any form of social media, and that’s a relief because I’m freed from worrying about how many people will like something I write. And I only follow those I actually enjoy as well, so I don’t have to courtesy like anything. Deleting followers was mostly about OCD (for me). It just bugs me to have a fake number out there!

    1. Hey Paula, – l can relate to the OCD, but for me also in addition it was that decision to take action with meaning.

      OCD meant why stop at G, H and I if there were more that could go? Why leave it untidy? So l kept going … now my OCD is rankled by WordPress and their inaccurate figure keeping as in if l am only following 55, why does it say 403, when they only show me 55? Like WTF is that all about!

      This has always been a bone of contention for me as in ‘genuine reader interaction’, and seeing and reading your post as well as Ashley and l having the discussion the previous week – just made sense 🙂

      1. They may be email followers. I have 4, which added to WP followers gives the total that shows on my blog…

        Yes, let’s use all the letters! 😂

  5. It IS annoying, but not to the point that I can be bothered to do anything about it.😂 My blog followers & following is a chaotic mess, just like my life. I somehow make it work though… generally😉😂😂

  6. I “like” a lot and am generally tickled by the extraordinary variety of what is available at my fingertips in the magical world of technology. At work, only one person can get the promotion. But in life, you can like as many people as you want or can. When I walk down the street I do not need someone to say something to me. They can just wave and I feel good. I do not need to know anything about them. And I do not count how many wave. And I do not limit how many can nod, smile, or even say, “look out, you are in my way.” I do not understand the issue at all. But I do know I really like you Rory. You are a welcome kick in the pants!

    1. Hey Geoff – all valid points and as l read your comment late last night on my iPad in bed, l thought of the phrase “Much ado about nothing” which is how to some my actions might look.

      In many ways l could agree with them, does it matter, does it hurt me to have all these followers – many of which don’t do anything? No, of course not …. and yet indirectly it does.

      If l am walking down the street, l see many people daily, as indeed l do each person l pass l offer a greeting to, they acknowledge that greeting whatever it is … a wave, a nod, a smile, a hello or even to those l know as frequent to my walks ‘the regular crew’, a small warm exchange of words ….. all the people l interact with are not ‘do nothing people’, they are people who do something, serve some purpose to another person even if for just a mere moment in passing time ………….. they are useful.

      Now with blogging and bloggers and the do nothing followers sadly as many as there are, all they do is follow me, us, them, everyone and they don’t even say ……… hello, let alone smile. I don’t do that for them either, so why have them? They don’t need me, l am just another walker they have passed by in the street and instead of just walking on by, they are being creepy and deciding to follow me … but don’t speak ….

      Thank you my friend, l too enjoy your company as reader writer and writer reader we are useful to each other as friends – we can share humour and conversation and are way past merely nodding walkers to each other as we pass.

      I am simply micromanaging my environment 🙂

  7. I know how to stop following blogs that have gone dormant and haven’t posted for months, but how do you “delete” followers of your own blog. I haven’t figured out how to do that on my iPhone. Supposedly I have more than 4,800 followers but I’m sure maybe only around 10 to 20% of those “followers” are regular readers of my blog.

    1. Hey Fandango – there are two locations to delete … 1] Removing followers from you is found in Stats and then look to the right of the daily stats graph and at the top near the word Years is a tab called ‘Followers’ and when pressed that takes you to all your followers and then you simply scroll through and Remove who you wish to remove.

      2] To remove yourself from other blogs is found in the Reader tab under [Followed Sites – Manage] located at the top of the page. Press that and that opens up another page where upon it highlights all the Followed sites. There you can simply Unfollow.

      I think your figures of 10-20% are probably about right. I remember Ursula telling me that between 5% to 10% of our readership is hard core as in dedicated to us weekly, whilst 20% is a frequent readership over 30 days.

      But that is from my view as a desktop user l am not sure how it may differ on a phone though.

      1. Thanks, Rory. What you described in your first paragraph doesn’t exist on the iOS app for the iPhone, so I had to go to my laptop and log into wordpress.com to find it. And there it was.

        1. Blimey, a long process to go through to take action – and something that l would have thought should have been available to all users on all technology devices and apps.

          I get a little confused at times by organisations that go to such lengths to promote the ultimate device/app being the phone/iPads and so on and yet so many fail to allow those same users access to everything they should have.

  8. I used to follow almost 2000 blogs. There’s no way I can read that many! Quite some time ago, I cleaned house. I found some blogs no longer existed and some had not posted in over a year. Now I follow around 400 and my rule of thumb is that if there is no activity for 10 days or more, I unfollow. There are some exceptions, which would be if any of my regulars are taking a break. I don’t mind likes – bring them on! If I’ve read a post and like it then it gets a like. I don’t always comment because sometimes I have nothing to say.

    1. Hey Eugenia 🙂 Here’s wishing you a lovely weekend and hopefully you have you .org under control now.

      I agree, l have also implemented that as a new ruling for future blogs l follow, no movement within X period of time, – gone in sixty seconds as they say!

      Too many both ways, just can’t be effectively achieved, and more so for a non-business blog.

  9. It makes sense to make it all a more enjoyable and rewarding experience.
    On a personal level…I just like the chance to be a little creative as an expression of myself. I don’t really mind the reaction.

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