Posting early this week due to travel schedule…
If you look at the top right of my home page, you’ll notice it says, “Join 7,070 other followers.” That’s a lot of folks. But there is a corporate marketing aspect to that figure, which is basically that by inflating the number of followers, more people will be influenced to follow, and the blogger (namely, me) will be encouraged to keep posting.
So in truth, of my 7,000-plus “followers,” about 6,000 of them are Twitter connections. Another 300 or so are Facebook friends, and maybe 200 are connections on LinkedIn.
So what’s the real number of followers?
I’ve been receiving one to three direct email signups a day for the last couple of months. How people find me I don’t know, although I’m glad they do—for the most part. A couple of mornings ago I noticed the message area on my blog sported a tiny icon of a trophy. When I clicked, I got this: “You’ve gotten 500 follows on The Saturday Morning Post. Apart from the bad grammar, it tells me that the actual number of people who have taken the time to opt-in, to say, yeah, I want to read this guy’s stuff, is 500. Still sounds fairly cool.
Just who are these people? Aside from those of you who comment each week (some of whom I know personally, others only in virtual form), I have not met or communicated with most. All I know about them is what comes in the email each time someone signs up. Most of the time the message includes links to the follower’s gravatar and posts they’ve written. This lets me know the person is a writer or at least interested in writing. And a big thanks to all of those people for following.
But sometimes the follower is suspect. In those cases there are no posts, and the link to the gravatar’s About area is blank. So I can’t help wondering what’s up when “vietnamhoneymoon85” and “meemeelemons” and “creditototal” sign up. Those usernames don’t sound like writers to me. Occasionally a suspect follower has a post, such as eva2006na, whose link to Dioriffic !!! revealed this: “Dior make up explained…”
Could it be my phantom followers want to—OMG—spam me, use my blog to sleazily market their wares? I usually delete 10-20 of their thinly disguised “comments” that are flagged as spam after each of my posts—and which always include a link to a site where you can buy shoes, or smartphones, or a Vietnam honeymoon.
So I continue to wonder about the nature of this blogging adventure. Who are my followers and why have they followed? The answer, I’d say, is like the internet itself, which of course is to say like life itself—sometimes honest, sometimes murky, always changing, and never to be completely understood.