The myth of 1,000 blog followers

Rome wasn't built in a day

Rome wasn’t built in a day

Yes, dear readers, it’s been an auspicious day.  This very blog–Lake Superior Spirit–hath reached the lofty goal of 1,000 followers!  Why, this  happened just after lunch.  I’ve been watching with one lazy eye as the numbers soared during recent weeks.

You’d think this would be a cause to celebrate, to dance merrily, to shout to the treetops, to delight in 1,000 avid readers coming to your blog in eager anticipation of your treasured words and photos.

But, no, my friends, this is not a cause celebre.  It’s hardly even worth more than a raised eyebrow.  In fact, don’t you dare even offer congratulations!  I beg of thee!  You want to know why?

Your blog followers weren't built in a day.

Your blog followers weren’t built in a day.

The majority of blog followers are spammers.  They could care less about reading our beloved posts.  They never even paused here in the first place!  You can watch them follow your blog (if you’re into statistics) and see that they never even read a single word.

There are two kinds of spammers.  The first kind of spammer is relatively innocent.  She/he just wants you to come over and visit his/her blog.  So he/she follows you hoping you’ll follow him/her.   Got that?  Just innocent egos trying to find their own followers.

The second kind of spammer–shame on them–sells a product and just wants customers.  Sometimes they set up a fake blogging account to lure the delighted blogger over to visit.  They’re intrepid manipulators.  They want your dollar, your time, your attention and they’re using the blogging system for their gain.

Heck, I probably have a Viagra follower.  One new follower runs a Chicago painting and restoration service.  I won’t give you his phone number unless you insist.  One spammer wants to advertise your “talent”, isn’t that sweet?  Another begs me to travel on safari to Nairobi and Kenya, wouldn’t that be nice?

Sometimes smaller is just as efficient as bigger.

Sometimes smaller is just as efficient as bigger.

OK, so let’s mentally get rid of all the spammers who “follow” your blog.  Let’s say 200 are evil manipulative spammers and 200 more are egoistic please-come-and-visit-me-even-though-I-won’t-read-a-word-of-your-blog spammers.

So you’re down to 600 legitimate followers. Let’s say you advertise your own blog on Facebook or Twitter.  Let’s say you have 150 followers on Facebook who yawn when they see your post on their news feed.  ALL of those people are counted!  Even if they only “liked” you because that’s what friends do, even though they never, ever intend to visit your blog.

Worse than that, my friend, let’s say 75 of those 150 Facebook followers are ALREADY following your blog.  So now you have double counts.  Many of my dear friends feature one count as a FB follower of this blog and one count as an honest-to-goodness reader.

Blogger, just don't think you're on a pedestal!

Blogger, just don’t think you’re on a pedestal!

Out of our delightful 1,000 readers, we’re down to 450 followers.  You actually think 450 people are primed by their email or Reader waiting to read your precious offering?  Think again, dear disappointed blogger.

Out of the 450 people who might–just might–have wanted to read your blog, 200 lost interest, got bored, developed a passion for Kenyan safaris, decided they did not like your approach, and simply quit clicking.  They still get emails advising them of your posts.  However, their mailboxes have 10,000 unread messages and they really don’t care.  They’ll delete you someday if they ever get organized.

(But don’t worry–the spammers will make up for their deletions!)

How quickly your readership turns away toward the next interesting site...

How quickly your readership turns away toward the next interesting site…

I figure I have maybe 250 followers.  They don’t all come a’visitin’ regularly.  They’ll come on a certain day depending on how interested they are in nature, Lake Superior, the Upper Peninsula, blogging tales, humor, lack of humor, fascinating titles, photography, writing, or deep personal/emotional/spiritual outpourings.   (Put 25 in each category if you’re trying to make all the numbers somewhat balance.)

I am thinking of eliminating this “follower” button but have not completely decided.  Some of us bloggers keep it because we get innocent readers who think “Wow!  1,000 followers!  This blogger must really be HOT!”

Just wanted to set you straight.  We may not be that hot.  That person with 5,000 followers?  I’m suspecting she might have a Twitter account.

Sometimes it's good to travel the more narrow path, don't you think?

Sometimes it’s good to travel the more narrow path, don’t you think?

P.S.  If you look at the follower statistics on this site (to the right) and see there are less than 1,000–well, someone took offense.  I’m predicting, however, that by tomorrow morning some new follower will be begging me to clip coupons over at their site, bless their spamming souls.

**But, no, I’m at 1,001.  Dog Trainer Trish wants me train my dog!  Hip hip hooray!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in May 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to The myth of 1,000 blog followers

  1. Daina says:

    Sad,but true!

  2. Dana says:

    Um, congratulations Kathy? 🙂 I’d much rather have ten really engaged, thoughtful and kind followers than 10,000 spam “followers”. That old, ‘quality, not quantity’ adage really comes into play here, doesn’t it? (All the same, congratulations. I’m sure some people only follow blogs with high follower numbers– crowd mentality and all that.)

  3. Heather says:

    Must say I’m amused with this one 🙂 I always to try click through to new followers, and have found the same thing. Some of the spammers are quite persistent in their efforts to get you to come follow them. Wonder if they get paid?
    Anyway, your number-loving soul surely delighted just a little. Even though it’s a relative empty number, mine would 😉

  4. Very true, I quit worrying about followers, site stats and all that long ago. I post what I want to, when I want to. The worst thing is that WordPress encourages the egoistic please-come-and-visit-me-even-though-I-won’t-read-a-word-of-your-blog spammers to participate in that behavior, as a way of getting people to follow their blog.

    There are two or three people who must have an automated like a post bot that they use, I click the publish button for a post, and by the time I get back to the dashboard, they have already “Liked” the post, even if it is several thousand words long. There’s no way that they could have even scanned my post as quickly as they liked it, and I’ve heard the same thing about the same people from other bloggers.

  5. penpusherpen says:

    ah Kathy, ’tis ever the case.. spammers etc are always going to be trailing us,… looking for a hand out…but as you so rightly say, we’re on the look-out… and I think you’ve miss-counted. for I bet there are more than you think following your blog, and are interested, they just don’t comment, I have no idea why, mayhap they look on blogging like newspaper reading
    🙂 … I love your outlook though, the dog trainer trish comment at the end, made me laugh out loud., honestly.. many thanks … I for one enjoy your lovely posts… xPenx.
    (I’m still sitting on that bench, mesmerised.. ) xx..

  6. Kathy – I echo Daina and Dana’s thoughts: “Sad, but true,” and “I’d much rather have ten really engaged, thoughtful, and kind followers than 10,000 spam ‘followers.'”

  7. I train rats to stand up and beg for the cracker. Could you please come over and look at how many rats I have trained? Wobbles, JellyBean, Ms. Cutie, and many others whose name I’ve forgotten but all their stories are under the category of “Rats for you!”

  8. john says:

    Was that last picture some houses in Chassel too close to the Sturgeon River? I would love to see your regular readers plotted on a map. You have a devoted and diverse following.

  9. My blog followers once shot up to 3000….then a few days later it was back down to a manageable number…that’s when I first had a clue that the statistics were a bit off. I agree with Dana… its nice just to have a few followers that really enjoy the blog…. this is a good post and one that should be sent out to all new bloggers…it’s best not to get all wrapped up in the stats…. just write and have fun and tell your stories….

  10. anaturalfire says:

    interesting and amusing assessment Kathy 🙂 keep writing regardless, i enjoy your posts!

  11. Elisa says:

    This is very funny, thank you!

  12. Brenda Hardie says:

    Quality is far better than quantity. Less is more. I’m not into numbers anyway. Hmm, wonder where I fall in your number list, since I am not a fellow blogger…just a loyal follower. And a friend ♥

  13. As long as there is that handful of quality blogging friends, that’s all that matters! Substance over quantity any day.

  14. sybil says:

    I am a real and true follower. I am here because I love your Blog. If however you feel your penis isn’t large enough please visit my web site at ….

  15. I am a true follower through and through–I will even say your pledge and face the flag and take communion — the number of spammers has really accelerated of late–am tired of trashing them

  16. Michelle says:

    Your posts always make me laugh. I do look at my woeful numbers sometimes but then I think…”no, I like writing posts whether or not my husband’s the only one that reads it!”

  17. Lori D says:

    Having much less followers than 1000, that must mean I only have 25 followers. Heh. 😉 (I didn’t really do the math). I prefer getting clicks over followers. I get people who ‘like’ my posts from the reader and don’t even come over. How about those people who come to my blog and scroll down my home page/archives just ‘liking’ every post that they didn’t even click on to read? Oh well, such is the life of a blogger. I wonder if I’ve ever sold more than one book from this blog I was told to build to promote it. I ended up having more fun blogging! 🙂

  18. Joanne says:

    Had a chuckle at Sybil’s comment, unfortunately I’ve had those spammers drop by too….it also surprises me how fast some people can read, I’ve posted blogs of 1,200 words and within five seconds, someone has already liked it! Betcha can’t speed-red that fast Ms. Kathy, hehe.

    I WILL congratulate you on having a blog that I love to visit, words that are always entertaining and some very lovely blogging mates. Seems like you may be stuck with some of your followers, but you don’t mind that at all, do you…. 🙂

  19. You have a very good blog. You always seem to write about what is important to you. That’s the bottom line, really…those who want to read are happy to find you. Thanks for being here!

  20. P.j. grath says:

    Since I have only sixteen official followers, Kathy, you’ve now got me thinking that they could ALL be spammers! I’m bummed! Ha-ha!

    Great post, with humor in text and accompanying images and captions. You’re a natural, and I’m sure that many, many of your followers are real.

  21. Connie T says:

    I got a News blog following me yesterday. I mean really…..My blog has nothing to do with the news. I have one lady leaving me comments and so I read her blog, it is about spanking. I don’t want to read about her butt being spanked. She always leaves a comment, but I don’t want to even go to her blog to comment. I hate to spam blogs or one where they advertise or all their posts are sponsored.

  22. I get regular “comments” from spammers, but the spam followers is a recent phenomenon that I’ve only started to notice. I do always check out people’s pages when they follow my blog and if I’m interested, I will follow, but I’m not big on following if I don’t have at least SOME interest. Since my blog is so fandom specific, I also don’t expect people whose blogs I follow to follow in it in return. No one needs more spam they don’t have time to read! You I read off and on because I’m originally from Michigan and enjoy your nature-related posts, although I rarely comment. It’s a little bit of home in my mailbox, for which I thank you.

  23. While I know you are right, this makes me feel like it’s all hopeless in a way, especially as I try to transition the my self-hosted site. I now realize I have only about 7 actual followers. Sigh. Should I give up?

  24. Stacy says:

    I don’t have many followers, spammers or otherwise. But I like to believe (or convince myself) that I blog more for myself – and perhaps posterity – than anyone else. 😉

  25. lisaspiral says:

    Thank you! This makes me feel so much better about my pathetic number of followers, most of whom actually read my blog at least once a month. It’s worth it for people who maybe start by looking for their own followers (I did) but end up making a great connection (I did). I may not catch every post, Kathy, but be sure those of us who read you really do love it.

  26. rehill56 says:

    I am real. 😉

  27. dorannrule says:

    Dog Trainer Trish is following me too and I fell for it cause I’m a sucker for dogs. Yikes. You have given me new insight into just how popular I may really be. By the way, I’m not selling anything – honest. 🙂

  28. Barb says:

    Gosh – I never realized. I don’t use the followers gadget. I get only a few good men and women each time I post. Thank goodness not so many I can’t visit them in return. Less is more.

  29. Woohoo! Now you’re up to 1,003! I’m happy for you regardless, though you’ve spun me into misery since I have only 250 followers, which means, what, maybe 15 read it? (To defend my lovely readers, I’ve found only 1 or 2 who seemed to want me to buy something they were selling, but even they left a comment or two.)

  30. sonali says:

    Kathy, You actually look at what is perfectly true. I like your passion towards righteousness and thus not allowing the bullshit spam to fool you down. Majority of the stuff on the net nowadays is junk and spam. How people misuse the technology!
    But ya, lets be happy that you truly & honestly have some real faithful followers who love reading from you, who count on your blogs to add a star to their day, who wait for you to be back when you are on the mood of hibernating, yeah? How lucky you are.. 🙂 Cheers to you, dear lady!

  31. Dawn says:

    I don’t even know how many followers I have, nor how to tell…but I see you’re now up to 1003! 🙂

  32. Oh Yuck! It is so true. I have been having the same thing happening with great regularity lately. My email subscribers are for the most part still the real thing. Then every once in a while I will get a comment from someone who has been following for years – saying something like “I read your blog all the time but this time I just had comment.” Or I will meet them someplace else and they will talk about the various things they read on my blog. So keep posting Kathy. Numbers of followers or numbers dollars in the bank usually seldom matter much except for the few that are need to make a genuine contribution to our everyday.

  33. I noticed that WP includes your facebook friends as followers and thought that was weird. Even 250-300 actual followers sounds pretty successful to me Kathy. I think your true followers are many and I’ll bet a lot of them read your posts!

  34. lucindalines says:

    OMG, I thought getting above 50 was great. I do wish we could block followers. I have tried to check on some new followers and found their site is no longer operating. Here’s your sign. Just for your information, I am a real reader and interested follower.

  35. P.j. grath says:

    From reading these comments, I have concluded that WordPress must give much more detailed, real-time information than I get from Blogger, and to that all I can say is — lucky for me! Or maybe there’s a way to get more information on/from Blogger and I am just lucky enough not to know how to do it. But hey, I’m laughing all over again at this whole thread (post + comments), so it’s a winner in my book. Thanks again, Kathy. (And yes, I’m real, as you know from having visited my bookstore once!)

  36. bonnie says:

    I agree with P.j. grath. I really don’t want to know more than I do. I have just recently started getting spam comments, but they never see the light of day.

  37. As I read this on the left coast at 6:20 a.m., I notice you now have 1,007 followers. I am impressed. After two years, I have just reached the 200 number, and now that you’ve explained the distribution process of those who really care, and those who just want my soul (and my money), my ego deflates to a more manageable level. 🙂 But seriously, your words are wise and written (as always) with humor and a gentleness to us bloggers that allows us to see the truth, yet not be too offended. Bloggers’ new mantra should be ‘Numbers don’t matter.’ The matter with numbers are…they are not words. WORDS MATTER to us bloggers, and I love reading your words!

  38. Hell-larry-rhee-us! Broken down to every last little ole follower.

    Sad to say but some blogging individuals live for x numbers of hits, x mumber of views, x number of followers, and x number of comments.

    I think those poor individuals have their egos tied into their blog/s.

  39. msmcword says:

    Thanks, Kathy, for clearing things up. Now I know why I have never heard from most of my “followers.”

    And I do read your blog and I know that you have read mine. Thank you.
    Nancy

  40. Janet says:

    I’m happy to say that I’m a true follower. I read what you write, most often enjoy it and sometimes laugh out loud. I’d comment more often, but by the time I get here, you already have 40 or more comments, so I usually refrain. 🙂

  41. pearlz says:

    Hilarious and so true! I love visiting your blog, because you share wonderful photographs, life insights and you are you. Thanks for any time you ever pop by, it is more like a blogosphere friend taking time to drop in form a very busy schedule, onward Kathy!

  42. And here I thought I had so many new followers because of the ‘great’ talks I did during the C4 Lit Fest a couple of weeks ago! How disappointing! 😦

    BTW, how can you tell which are legit and which are the spammers?

    • Kathy says:

      Withershins, you can tell by clicking on their URL or website. Sometimes it leads to an actual spamming site; other times to a Gravatar which pitches their spiel. Other times you can watch your stats come in. It says you have, say, 34 hits. Someone comes and “follows” your blog. You still have 34 hits. They didn’t even pause to read. That’s how you can tell, although there may be other ways.

  43. Karen says:

    This post is why I enjoy reading your blog. Truth with a bit of humor that we can all relate to. I wish there was a way that we could get rid of the followers that are spammers with a note saying please don’t bother to come back. 🙂 I read a blog that has over 265,000 followers but only gets three or four comments on each post…I wonder how many true followers they actually have.

  44. me2013 says:

    I have six followers, although only two ever visit. I do get a lot of spam, sometimes their comments make me laugh, usually because they have nothing at all to do with the post they are attached to.

  45. I have acquired several followers recently of the ‘strike it rich blogging’ variety.

    What a world, what a world.

    I have about 7 that I know take the time to visit. It’s amazing that anyone follows me at all since most days I’m doing well to follow myself!

  46. Wow, I’ve never done a “follower” analysis. On the plus side, though, there is at least one person who just has you bookmarked and comes by periodically to catch up on missed news when she has a spare moment and since she’s not official never gets counted …

  47. dearrosie says:

    Several other blogging buddies have written about this sudden spike in followers. Interesting how the spammers have clued in they can get through by pretending to follow us. Wow you’ve already got 1018 followers as I write this!

  48. Scriptor Obscura says:

    Please report each and every single one of these follow-back spammers and spam-followers to WordPress for spam activity. Maybe if enough of us keep reporting and reporting these scumbags as they come in and start “following” us, then mayyyyyyyyyyyyyyybe WordPress would be forced to do something about this rampant problem of fake “followers” and follow-spamming here on our blogs! I’ve gotten hundreds and hundreds of these follow-spammers and I’ve reported every single one. Some’ve been shut down, some not. And they keep coming in and in, more and more every single day. UGH! I’ve also gotten so fed up with the problem of spam likers that I’ve disabled all likes on my blog and deleted all tags and categories so presumably my posts would not be showing up in the reader so no one could then spam like them from there, and I’m STILL getting “likes”, all from like spammers! I’m so fed up with the problem of like spammers and follow-spammers here on WordPress that its really put me off from blogging and I’m really beginning to wonder what’s the point anymore, its really not worth it anymore! Ugh.

  49. Scriptor Obscura says:

    I get more and more of these spam “followers” every day, even (and especially) when I don’t post anything or haven’t posted anything for a long time! I don’t know how the *bleep* they’re even FINDING my blog, let alone following. I’ve also had the “follow by email” button removed on my blog since LONG time ago, due to the rampant problem of fake email and blog followers. Yet they keep coming. I think they must have some sort of automated program that just plugs in random WordPress addresses and “follows” them automatically without ever having to even VISIT their blogs. This has become SUCH a rampant problem here on WordPress lately, and WordPress staff refuses to give us ANY control over our followers and who can follow us. I say we should campaign for an “approve followers” button which we’d have to click before people could follow us, that would eliminate all these problems!

    Several people have called for more control over our followers on the WP.com forums and have complained about the like and follow spammers, but WP has deleted some of the complaints without even responding to them. It seems that they don’t give a *bleep* about this problem and they don’t care at all about doing anything about it.

    Sorry for the long comments, I’d understand if you didn’t want to post them, I’m just so frustrated about this problem right now.

  50. Scriptor Obscura says:

    Oh and you don’t have to visit my blog in return, only if you want to.

  51. Robin says:

    lol! Sad, but true about the numbers. You’re up to 1,044 now. 🙂

  52. Colleen says:

    I couldn’t resist looking, you are now at 1,051. And I’m so glad to be one of them Kathy, and sorry that you have to deal with all that nonsense.

  53. Office Diva says:

    I’m pretty new to blogging but I’ve caught on to the fact that so many people are spamming me. They hit the “Like” button fourteen seconds after I’ve posted a 1,200 word post. Unless they are in the Guiness for speedreading, I SMELL SPAMMER! Also, in using your intricate system of weeding out the weeds, I’m guessing my paltry 100 followers are really more like 7.5. lol. Thanks for posting this – I’ve been wondering how other people feel about it! Cheers.

  54. Don’t worry, I actually read your post! Made my 74 followers look a little sad though…. Wonder how many are legit.

  55. Reggie says:

    Oh, I feel and share your frustration, Kathy. Although I only have 171 followers on Grains of Sand – and our mutual friend Flat Kathy now has 61 (!) – almost all the recent ones are spam bloggers of some sort, usually selling or promoting some sort of service or product, or a way of increasing our SEO, getting rich ‘quick’, or whatever. I too wish that WordPress would allow us to block them. What do these bloggers hope to gain from such behaviour? Do they really think we’ll like or follow their blogs in turn? I don’t get it. I haven’t thought of reporting these sites to WordPress – does it work?

    P.S. I see that you have now reached 1255 followers, Kathy. 😉

    P.P.S. Just in case you have any doubts – I’m a real person, Kathy, and a genuine follower of your blog because I love it. 😉

  56. ML Strand says:

    Thanks for this! I just started a photo blog and kept wondering about those confusing stats. I’m a real person, born in Michigan and now a follower.

  57. johncaelan says:

    Good article. I call this phenomenon “mutual blogsturbation”, pardon the crudeness. My numbers aren’t as kind as yours….I see 2 or 3 actual readers for every 1000 when I analyze any given site.

  58. Thanks for clearing that up. I have an education blog where I chuck things I don’t want to forget which gets very little attention but this week I started a photography blog (a real one) and within 2 days I had 15+ followers but only 4 visits on the stats page. It must be the ego of the photographer that seems gullible to the spammers as no one bothers with the education blog. Again, thanks a lot.

  59. Great post! I’ve got exactly the same ‘problem’, just having passed 1000 followers. Lots of commercial followers who just want to attract business, which is annoying, because I do like to check out new followers’ blogs to see if they might be of interest to me. I’m sure I’m missing out on some great blogs because I’m too fed up at times to keep checking, just to discover someone else offering photographic services or recruiting disciples for a bizarre religion.

    Just lately, I’m getting a lot of new email followers without their own blogs, and I’ve no idea what they are getting out of my blog IF they are spammers. Maybe they aren’t…? Sheer numbers would suggest otherwise, though.

    The joys of blogging. Sigh. 😉

  60. Unbelievable how true this is!!! Sadly, I am guilty of some of these things myself.

  61. Corina says:

    😀 so true what you wrote, I wish there was an option to take care of my followers list, to delete the spammers and the ones who click like just to make themselves noticed 😀

  62. Joan Tatley says:

    Very good math to stay sober!

  63. Thanks for being honest. Might I say, frank.

  64. I think this explains why I went from 424 to 900+ today. I did doubt that my blog suddenly became super popular… But I do value those who like often and sometimes comment.

  65. I am happily excited to say that today I finally reached 100 followers after two years. There is something satisfying getting that little trophy. When I first started my poetry blog I was able to use WordPress tools to blocked spammer accounts. So my followers have trickled in a little bit at a time. 100 may not sound much to many who have more popular blogs, but since mine is poetry I just assume not everyone enjoys reading my posts. Therefore I am glad to have the followers I do. They actually appreciate what I am writing. OF course I don’t write and post to necessarily gain followers, but it is nice to know that others enjoy my work, albeit a small amount.

  66. girlseule says:

    I have so many spammer followers, I see that little icon turn orange and think ‘yay!’ then I see that ‘hair extensions 4U’ is following me. I wish there was a way to delete spamming followers.

  67. Still, 1,000 followers must mean you’re doing something right! Even if most of them aren’t waiting for your next post with bated breath, that’s a lot who are.
    I’m excited to finally have 10 followers. That sounds sad, but I only started less than a month ago with no expectations whatsoever. No spammers yet, but probably a few please-follow-me-even-though-don’t-read-yours people.

Although I don't reply to every comment on every blog, I do read all comments with mesmerized interest and try to return the favor by visiting YOUR blog or at least sending you heartfelt well wishes.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s