Friday, September 10, 2010

"Fake Following"

I was reading Elana's blog last Tuesday, which I'm sure most of you saw (I mean, who doesn't follow the fabulous Elana?!). She talked about blog building and following, and in the comments, a few people mentioned "fake following."

This idea has been swimming through my brain ever since. I've seen blogs that specifically say: "Only follow me if you're sincere" (or something to that effect). And I've seen those who follow, but rarely visit.

So here's my question: What do you consider to be "fake following"?

Does that mean you follow and NEVER visit? Follow and only visit once a month? Twice a week? Is a true follower only one who stalks visits your blog daily?

Honestly, I follow blogs that I rarely visit. However, I only follow blogs on subjects I'm sincerely interested in, and I've never thought of it as "fake following." I skim through my daily list of updated blogs and visit the ones with topics that interest me most until I run out of time.

Conversely, I'm always pleased when someone stops in and comments, but I have never looked through my follower list to see who is and who isn't commenting. I figure we all have lives outside of the computer (at least I HOPE so!).

So how about you? What are your thoughts on "fake following"? And please, don't be afraid to disagree with me. I'd love to hear what you think.


Julie Jarnagin said...

Interesting. I read all of the blogs I follow on google reader. There are many blogs that I read every day, but I don't always have time to stop by and comment. It doesn't bother me if people follow me and don't visit regularly, but I also don't follow people in an attempt to simply get more followers on my own blog.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I follow tons of blogs, but I can't visit them all. I would have no time for writing, cleaning, and my family. Basically, if you post at the same time I check the blogs (5-7:30 am MST M-F) then I'll see your post. If you comment on my blog, then I'll visit your blog. Otherwise it's impossible for me to read and comment on all the posts that show up on my dashboard during the day, no matter how cool I thought your blog was when I followed you.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

And no, I don't fake follow. I only follow those blogs I'm interested in, or if someone follows me and leaves a comment.

Jessica Carmen Bell said...

I don't disagree with you at all. I basically follow those who follow me as a common curtesy thing. But if their blog is about 'cooking' for instance, I won't follow them back. I will follow any and every blog that is about writing, and I don't care what genre, either.

But of course, even though I'd love to read what everyone has to say, it's not possible! I too sift through and click on what interests me. I've now got over 300followers. I just don't have the time to read everyone. I do make an effort though to click on blogs that I feel I haven't popped in on for a really long time. I'm sure there are people I miss too, because some people always post at times I'm not logged on so I don't see them in my feed.

I also have about 20 blogs which I try to get to at least a couple of times a week because we have become such great friends.

When you get past 50 blogs, I'm afaid people have to realise, that it's impossible to keep track of everyone. Surely people don't check who comments when, and then hold a grudge because they haven't commented ... I mean .. really? Could there really be bloggers like that out there?

Vicki Rocho said...

The definition changes as the number of blogs increases. I used to be able to visit them all but there's no way even if I were at home all day I could get to them all. If you figure a minute to read and a minute to respond (and if you want a thoughtful comment it's way more), that's 600 minutes = TEN HOURS.

Followers in the beginning equates to friends or 'real' visitors, but it morphs into a rating of sorts. Like ebay feedback. For that reason, I wish there were a way to put your icon on someone's page (like a seal of approval) without having them added to your blog roll because as much as I'd love to find great new blogs, I just don't have the time to keep up anymore.

Christina Lee said...

Yeah this is a tough one (I follow you and I clicked over b/c I was interested in your topic today)!

I think moreso it's when someone holds a contest and they say you can only enter if you follow them (I've done a hybrid of this, but won't anymore), so you click only to enter but not really sure it's a blog you'll enjoy just yet.

So, yeah...

Christine Fonseca said...

No fake following here - but that doesn't mean I visit daily - just depends on time, the post, and when I happen to be checking!

Laurel said...

I think for all our good intentions we can find ourselves gravitating to some blogs where we feel a strong connection and visiting less and less those we don't. I know I'm not the only one who doesn't automatically follow back everyone who follows me, only those who comment and visit. If followers want to just lurk, that's cool. I do my share of lurking too. I know some bloggers have 1K or more followers and I guarantee they aren't close pals with all of them. No way could you be!

Krista Ashe said...

I hate to think I'm fake, but I might have made one or two fake follows, lol. I like following a lot of blogs because when I do actually make time to catch up on my reading(I'm a bad reader and writer lately it seems, lol) there's so much good stuff to choose from. My writer bff's might not have something I'm dying to read, but in the same token someone else might. And sometimes I lurk and read and don't necessarily comment. Great post tho!

R. Garrett Wilson said...

Like Julie, I use Google Reader, so it may not register in your blog stats. In addition, since my reader gets pretty full, I often mark posts as read if the title isn't catchy or the first few lines don't spark my interest (working fulltime with a long commute, going to grad school, and having a 6 month old has cut into my blog reading time). That said, I often go to the blogger's site if I like a post just to show in their stats, and I might even comment - like now. :)

Angela Ackerman said...

I follow blogs about writing and writers. I think there's a few others two, that are on topics I'm interested in outside of writing, and one that's my dirty little secret (on fashion disasters called Oh. No. They. Didn't.--love it!)

I follow a lot of blogs. And I don't visit all of them every week, but I do visit. I don't think there's anything fake about it, because I follow them all with the intent of visiting as I can, which I do. :) I would love to visit each and every new post, but it's impossible.

Conversely, I'm always pleased when someone stops in and comments, but I have never looked through my follower list to see who is and who isn't commenting. I figure we all have lives outside of the computer (at least I HOPE so!).

This is me as well. I follow people, and if they follow me back, great, if not, not. My blog is to help people and reach out to people with similar interests. Yes, it's a platform too, but a platform only works if the people who are aware of me are interested in what I do, right?

I think blog following is much like how we make choices in life--doing it for the best intentions. I think most people do this, so it's all good. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Jessie Oliveros said...

I don't follow a ton of blogs, and I can't even get to those I do. A few of the blogs I follow I can't remember when or why I chose to follow, but I'm sure they were for contests. I don't think there is anything wrong with fake-following. It is kind of a status thing, like somebody else said. And if they choose to read your blog, then cool. What I don't like (and this has happened a couple of times) is receiving an email from somebody saying they have followed my blog, and would I please follow theirs?

KarenG said...

Fake following? That doesn't bother me, altho I won't follow people back who never comment on my posts, simply because I lose track. At first I did. If you followed me, I followed you and visited your blog and we became friends. But once you get over 20 followers that's impossible. So if they comment I see them and go to visit their blog and will follow.

Justine Dell said...

I follow 250+ blogs and there is no way I can keep up with all of them.

When I have time, I stop by. If I don't have anything to say to a post, I don't. Sure, there are some blogs I rarely stop by, but that's only because I'm so busy--not because I don't too.

I don't think there's a thing a "fake following". You follow, but you keep up when you can.


Tere Kirkland said...

I'm not even sure how many blogs I follow, but the beauty of the Dashboard Reading list is that I can see more of the content of each post.

I don't want to sound like a meanie, but if the post isn't something that piques my interest, I'm probably not going to click through.

If I started following someone whose posts I don't usually read, it's often because they followed mine and I wanted to return the favor, so I can see how that might seem like "fake" following.

But I usually follow people because I found something interesting on their blog. Which is why I follow so many.

Ah, the politics of blogging!

Lenny Lee! said...

hi miss janet! when i got started blogging i got with mostly writers cause i want to be a good writer some day and i could learn from them. i gotta admit i got favorites that i try to go see as much as i can. thats how come im here right now. :) i got panicked out when i kept getting more followers. i like it but it got too big for me. i want to go see everyone and i dont ever want to hurt some ones feelings for not going but i got lots of other stuff im doing in my life that takes up lots of time. i dont think im one of those fakers. i hope no one could think i am.
...hugs from lenny

February Grace said...

I think for the most part writing bloggers are sincere and everybody is just trying to do the best they can with the hours in a day.

For me it's really difficult because I have extremely limited use of my impaired eyesight. I literally cannot read and comment on blogs of over 100 people every day and I follow blogs that don't follow mine if I like them so it's more than 100 really.

I am glad whenever anybody reads and comments on a post I write- no matter if they've not visited in three months, if they never come back again- doesn't matter. If I reached them with something even one time, that's cool.

I don't 'fake follow' anyone- I do look over posts of all the blogs I follow in a reader and try to read as many as I can but no, I don't read every blog every day it's impossible. I physically cannot do it all. If people think that makes me not a real follower, I don't know what to tell them.

I think it's important to remember that there is a world of difference between friends and followers.

One will be with you whether you post every day or once a month- if you get sick, they'll notice you're gone.

Followers come in two kinds- the ones who are great people who are friendly with you and keep up with you as their schedule allows (the great kind) and those who only come to your blog if you're doing something for them then are never heard from again (the kind that make me feel used.)


Candyland said...

Some great points here. I don't know about fake following, but it's true that it's not always possible to comment on everyone's blog everyday. We all do the best we can, I think.

Lola Sharp said...

I think I follow a lot of people, and a lot of people follow me...and I do the best I can to get around.

Because the truth is, I adore every single person I follow. There are SO many great, interesting blogs out there!!
I know I miss a lot of posts, even though I do read through my google reader every day. But there's no way I can jump out of it and comment on everyone's blog.
I do feel guilty about it. Because, as I said, I really WANT to read all my friends posts and leave fabulous comments--there just isn't enough time in the day. *sigh*

But I don't think I'm a fake follower. God, I hope people don't think I am. *worries* *more guilt*

Have a wonderful weekend, Janet.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Wow, great post! :) I only follow blogs I want to read, but I just don't always have time. Sometimes I have to pick and choose which blogs I want to read on a particular day, just because things get so crazy, but I feel bad if I follow someone and don't want to read what they write.

Steph Sinkhorn said...

Like many of the other posters here, I tend to follow blogs that genuinely spark my interest, but that doesn't mean I'm going to have time to respond to every single one every single post. There just isn't enough time or energy!

Likewise, I understand that even though I have a fair amount of followers, it's not unusual for only a handful of them to comment on a given post I make. Not all my posts are going to interest all people, and some are going to get overlooked. It happens. I understand. And I know a lot of people don't LIKE to comment. I can relate - I'm a big lurker. Just because I don't comment doesn't mean I'm not reading :)

storyqueen said...

I've never heard of fake following....but it seems to me that a lot of people don't care if you really follow or long as you click the follower box and add to the number of followers so they can host a contest to celebrate their seven hundredth follower...and mention it on twitter, and link back to it......

As for me, I am like most of your commentors...I read when I can, follow who I want to and comment when there is something to say.

Great post!


Anonymous said...

How interesting! I think everyone's intention is to be supportive and no one wants to be a 'fake follower.' I know I can't always comment on all blogs I follow and understand not all can comment on mine. And I don't consider any one fake-just discretionary with time which is a good way to live.

Anonymous said...

I'd never heard that phrase until I read your blog post. Fake Follower, huh.

I follow a lot of blogs. Some I comment on regularly and some I comment on occasionally. I think it just depends on what the topic for that day is and if I feel I have something worth sharing.

Cinette said...

I've checked out a LOT of blogs lately, but I haven't signed up to follow all of them, only the ones I can relate to. Yes, I'd like to build up my followers list, but I want 'fans' rather than mere statistics, so I figure if your blog is 'related' to mine, you might have an interest in what's going on at mine. Fake following? I hadn't even heard the phrase before your post.

Kenda said...

I suppose by now I can only repeat what has already been said--we follow blogs we want to read/wish we could comment more/can't because there's just not enough time, etc. But I guess I just want to say that you're not a fake follower if you are truly interested in the blogger's take on things. And for me, I am continually amazed at the wide variety of posts out there and wish I could read more. There's so much to glean from. So, even if I don't always comment, I don't see myself as a fake. I'll try to let those I follow know how much I appreciate what they've offered, just maybe not that often...

Anonymous said...

As you mentioned, we all have lives outside our blogs so we don't have the time to check up on every single blog we're following every single day. And after a while spent on Blogger, I do get a bit bored, so there's that.

A fake follower is hard to catch I think, because I consider them to be people who follow someone with the sole intention of getting them to follow back, and not because they particularly like the blog.

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I've heard this term.

Even if a person only stops by my blog sometimes or reads and doesn't comment, I don't consider that a fake follow. I assume people visit because they're interested in some aspect of my blog. Of course I can't verify this.

Caroline Tung Richmond said...

Huh, very interesting question!

I guess I might be guilty of "fake following." I do follow some blogs that I rarely visit--not because I'm not interested though! Just because I'm busy and I don't have enough time in my day.

But, I do make it a point to only follow blogs that interest me, ie writing or fashion or cooking.

Sandy Shin said...

Thank you, Janet, for this thought-provoking post.

This is the first time I saw the term "fake following," and I think it's one of those words that have different meanings to different people. I definitely do appreciate everybody who follows me, whether or not they comment. Personally, there are many I follow (mainly industry professionals) whose posts I read religiously but never comment.

I suppose, for me, "fake following" doesn't denote lurkers (those who read but not comment) but rather those who follow but never read a single post -- which, I admit is difficult to tell from lurkers. It doesn't really bother me, either way. :)

(Although I do have to admit to "fake following" -- per my own definition -- especially when I follow for contests and end up not caring much for their blog's style/content/etc. But this always leaves me feeling incredibly guilty...)

Missed Periods said...

I have never heard the term "fake following" before. I have never thought that much about it, though. Whenever I have the time, I like to read all of the blogs I follow. I wish I had more time to read them and discover new ones.

Kelly M. Olsen said...

I think most of us would agree that one of the reasons we writers blog is for the networking benefit of following and being followed. I don't pretend to follow someone, I follow people with similar interests and aspirations. I may not read every post by everyone I follow, but I scan the Google Reader everyday. I've even stopped following people because I learn their interests aren't as similar as I thought.

Jackee said...

I'm with you. It isn't fake following when you are sincerely reaching out and network with like-minded souls, but there's just not enough time in the day to say hello to everyone.

I think of it like my real life friends, I don't talk to them every day and yet we're still friends. Some I go months without contacting. That doesn't mean I don't love them, just that we can be friends when we can be. No pressure. :o)

MikeS said...

I admit, I'm only "fake following" your blog.

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