This is ridiculous.
Yesterday I purposefully started going through the roll of bloggers I follow, determined to read at least the last thing they blogged.
Like all of you, I have other responsibilities in my life that get in the way of reading and writing all the time. When I come into WordPress, it’s either to blog or reblog, and read about the last 5-10 blogs in my Reader. I would follow more bloggers, but I feel it’s a disservice to sign up to follow someone you’re never going to have time to read.
And I have come to the realization that it is the group you keep in contact with that makes your writing worth while, anyhow.
My statistics say I have 943 followers.Or 445, depending on the statistics. In truth, I bet less than half of them read my writings on a regular basis. Which is sad but truthful. How could they? If they follow 30, 50, 70 bloggers, AND if they also have a life, there is no way they can give all the bloggers their full attention. Unless you are a wiz at multitasking or a speed reader, you just can’t read them all. Especially if some people blog more than once a day.
The same is time for Twitter. I suppose I follow 90 or so, and that many may follow me. Do you ever come back a few days later and the little button pops up and says “more tweets” and you click on it and the tweets scroll past you like a roulette wheel? How can you follow 40 or 4,000 Twitter accounts and read every tweet? Do you think that your followers read your Tweets several times a day?
The importance of social media is an illusion.
Yes, getting your name out there is important, It can be a well-developed strategy for getting readers and writers. In some cases, high numbers may mean your word is getting out to the masses. Like the prophets, thousands of people are taking your words to heart.
More often, though, numbers are just that. Numbers. Eenie, meenie, miney and moes clicked on your name like chits on a voting card.
Back to going through the blogs I follow.
Some blogs show a sea serpent with the words “No Recent Posts.” I can only hope they have gone off on other writing paths, other ways of self expression. Then there are bloggers who haven’t written in a while, but come back just often enough that the sea serpent doesn’t get them. Next are writers who write once a week or so. it’s easier to follow their journies because they let one message sink in before they start another. Finally are the daily bloggers, ones who have learned the way of images and poetry and short whispers that can be digested in one sweep.
I feel I owe those I follow my attention and my emotions. I would take on more birds and butterflies, but common sense tells me I can never grow if I’m busy doing nothing but following.
The purpose of today’s blog is perfectly clear. I say this all the time. Quality is so much more important than quantity. You can major in philosophy for 20 years and still not understand it if you don’t go out into the world and create your own reality. Don’t be fooled by the numbers. Movie stars and singers and top book writers have thousands of readers following their every breath, their every Tweet. Are they better off having all those followers if their messages don’t resonate in people’s souls?
I’m not saying don’t expand your reading base. I have often read someone’s comment and gone off to find their blog and read their posts. Sometimes I follow them, sometimes I comment, the least I can do is like. There is so much to learn in the social media of today.
But don’t be fooled by the numbers. I wouldn’t trade the heart-felt comments on my work for all the thousands of glances I catch. Those who like or comment or just come and read and silently disappear mean more than any amount of checkmarks on the wall. If someone likes my stuff, they’ll repost or tell a friend. That’s what I do with the blogs I like. The same is true for Twitter. I should be tweeting 30 times a day, but I only retweet comments that mean something to others like me. Other artists, writers, purveyors of The Arts and the Unknown.
There are a million great blogs out there — a million great writers. A million great photos. A million great emoters. Find the ones that make you feel good and stay with them. But don’t stretch yourself thin. Make the most of your reading time.
Many a truth comes through a whisper as well as a shout.