Isn’t the purpose of follow trains to engage more, find inspiration and meet new bloggers?
I’m kind of breaking up a pattern here. I have almost finished writing my post about my last days in Japan, but I felt the urge to write down my thoughts on this topic as unfortunately, Twitter isn’t convenient for the type of tweets I’d like to share with you. While my tweet from yesterday might sound like a rant, it’s not. It’s more of a summary of my realisation I’ve had over the course of the last few weeks.
Finding new blogs and meeting new bloggers inspires me
I actually love the idea of blog follow trains. I didn’t really agree with the critique they often get about how they’re simply a way of increasing your follower stats in a dishonest way. I believe it’s the opposite. Isn’t the purpose of follow trains to engage more, find inspiration and meet new bloggers? At least for me personally, they’re all about engaging with new bloggers, discovering new and amazing blogs (or even just single posts you find inspiring) and feeling like you’re part of the whole blogging community. I participate in follow trains with an honest wish to meet new people and really read their blogs. Follow trains and discovering new blogs actually belong to my source of inspiration for my own written work. And I love letting bloggers know that I’m enjoying their blogs.
But what I don’t do, is scroll through all the comments, click on every blog link and then immediately – whether I like the content or not – press the follow button. Why would anyone do that? Why would you willingly choose to receive e-mail notifications or clutter your wordpress feed with blogs you don’t care about, don’t find interesting and will never read?
Before I press the follow button, I look at people’s blogs more closely, read one or two (if I’m enjoying it even more) blog posts and then decide if I want to follow them or not. And while I don’t want to be mean in any way, I also never feel pressured into following someone just because they followed me. What if their content doesn’t really appeal to me or maybe is the complete opposite of me, my interests and beliefs? Then I just don’t follow back. If they’re interested in my content, they will stay. If they only subscribed for a follow back, then they’ll leave after a while. So what? At least I will know who is genuinely interested in my blog and who isn’t.
Use follow trains as a source of inspiration
Why not try and approach those follow trains in a more positive way than just as a means of increasing your follower stats? To be honest, the only positive thing I’ve been getting out of follow trains are the new blog discoveries I’ve made and also the very few bloggers I have met that actually engage and show interest. But most of the time, I go to bed at the end of the day feeling rather dissatisfied and not genuinely happy about my follower growth because I’m aware that 9 out of 10 new followers aren’t interested in my content and/or haven’t even bothered reading at least one blog post. So instead of participating in a follow train in order to get new followers, I approach it with a different attitude: to get inspired by other bloggers and show them support if I like their content.
Give your fellow bloggers the same kind of support you’d like to get
I think that’s pretty self-explanatory. I love getting comments or any form of genuine engagement on my blog posts. So I try to do the same for others. I’m not perfect. Most of the time I only like things rather than comment because even online I sometimes still have trouble approaching people and worry about saying something completely stupid or confusing. So instead I just like a post that I’ve enjoyed reading. But I make up for the lack of commenting. I read posts, I browse blogs, I read the ‘about’ page because it’s interesting to find out more about the person behind the blog and I also like to go and check out their older posts too. This is also why I make sure that whenever I participate in a follow train, I have enough time that day to actually also browse through all the blogs and links in the comments.
Try to have more FUN with blogging
I’m still quite new to the blogging community so I don’t really know in how far things have changed throughout the past years. But I do feel as though there’s a lot of bitterness, competition, popularity contests, follow/unfollow games and generally a serious determination to reach certain amounts of followers or likes going on all the time. Just relax. Where did the fun go? You write about things that fascinate you, interest you, things you want to share with others or help others with – shouldn’t this be an enjoyable experience? Why not post a blog post and just leave it be? Why worry about likes and followers? It might be a very successful post or it might not. At least you enjoyed writing it. I really feel that it would make the whole blogging experience so much more rewarding and fun if we all stopped following random blogs just for the sake of getting back a follow from someone who won’t read your posts anyway.
This is pretty much all I wanted to say. Trust me, blogging is way more fun if you stay relaxed and learn to take it less as a competition but simply as a way to exchange thoughts and experiences with fellow bloggers from all around the world. The internet is already full of dishonesty and bought followers so why doesn’t our blogger community try and add a little more positivity and sincerity to it?