Look to the right of my blog. If you are reading this from a feedreader, well, what I am saying has little point. Do you notice what is missing? I bet you do, because you read the title of this post and are, therefore, not an idiot. I removed the Google Friend Connect widget.
I had said privately, way back when, that I would get rid of it as soon as I hit 700 followers, as I had something to prove to myself. I hit 700, but still did not get rid of the widget. I was entraced by the numbers. I got excited over seeing them rise after a contest, or a particularly well done post. However, whenever I lost a follower, I would feel really anxious and wonder what on earth I had done wrong (aside from being late to ship out prizes and such).
The other day, I had sort of an epiphany. I was on twitter, and someone was bragging about hitting 1000 followers on their blog. I checked out the blog, and was not impressed. I mean, with meme after meme, a hard to read font color, I didn’t get it. Then, I saw some contests going on. I’ve seen this phenomenon with other blogs too, which again, I just don’t get. Duh, of course when you have a contest every day for a month and make people follow you just to enter the contest, you will have a ton of followers. Your content still sucks though. I know, I know I’m being mean. But really, I’ve had contests where I have made people follow and gained at least 100 followers. Are they following for my content? Doubtful. Will I ever hear from them again? Doubtful.
So to me, it almost seems like the numbers game is pointless. I mean, look at two of the best blogs out there, Angieville and The Crooked Shelf. Both have less than 1000 followers, but post consistently better quality content than some blogs with over 1000 followers. I know quality is subjective, but come on when your only posts are memes and contests, that’s not quality.
I don’t want you to think I feel that way about all blogs with large followings. Some are excellent, and I love them to pieces i.e. Presenting Lenore, The Story Siren, Pop Culture Junkie, Steph Su Reads, etc.
I also don’t want anyone under the impression that I am jealous of not having 1000 followers. I’m really not. The numbers game is not all that hard to play. However, it takes finesse and skills to organically grow your blog. It takes a bit more to have lively conversations in your comments than it does to give a $10 book away and require people to follow. Or to give the book away during one of those crazy blog contest spree days where 100s of blogs give away books.
I am done playing the numbers game. Finished. I am more than my number counts. You, friend, are more than just another digit to boost my followers.