Friday, January 28, 2011

What would you do for more blog followers?

Pay cash money? That's what about 300 bloggers are doing and it made me think about this whole blogging, follower, money making phenomenon. As my girl @whodemis on Twitter says "I can't knock the hustle" and I have to agree because let me admit... This idea was GENIUS.

1. Create an email account connected to business name for advertising.

2. Create a linky for bloggers who want more followers. Make the requirement $10 to be entered on to the linky (it's a business write off).

3. Use money from the first 100 links to set up a raffle, instruct visitors to follow the blogs then comment for each follow to be entered to win $1000.

Initially when I saw it I thought the $10 tax write off was because the money was going to charity. Sweet right? Not exactly. The host, and advertiser for the blogs on the linky pockets the proceeds. Really it's a win win win. She gets to make $2K... or whatever else over the initial $1000, which she's already done. Blogs who want more followers get them, and one lucky follower gets $1000.

Now I could go on a rant about how we need more engineers in this country, people who study, develop new inventions, businesses, and jobs for more people---That "get rich quick" schemes like this are ultimately showing we as a people falling short of the big picture, but I won't go into that. Instead, what I want to focus on is this idea of blog followers.

Why do we have them? Well, Cindy hit the nail on the head with her post about the blogging bubble. When I begged my friends to be my first 7, 100, I'll admit, the number big and bright to the right had me gloating. It was my stamp of "coolness" if you will. A way to obviously show people read me and say "I'm kind of a big deal." No but really, it felt good to know people were reading me. And there's nothing wrong with that. Until it turns into an obsession.

I did some giveaways just for my followers, to gain more followers, and in turn used that number to get better giveaways and even more followers. I know it sounds dirty, I'm just being honest.

Sometime over the last year this craze with that number BLEW UP! I mean, huge in the blogosphere! There were linkies like "Follow me Friday" "More Followers Monday" "Pretty Please Follow Me Wednesday" (ok I made the last one up). And I'll admit, I tried a couple but then realized there was no way I'd be able to read all of these new blogs in my reader, and I felt a bit... Dare I say... desperate. Sure, I'd find a couple gems in the bunch but really? Comeon, let's me honest, we all just wanted to boost our stats. Even if that number has become so diluted, and really null and void at this point because everyone now has a few a hundred dozen fake followers.

But then I would write a post like this one, and gain two dozen followers in a day or two. Seeing the number rising corresponding with a post I wrote from the heart meant so much more to me than a random follower who when you click on their name, it takes you to a profile with nothing more than an email address to contact them if they won, and a list of a thousand other blogs they followed for the giveaways--aka a giveaway hoarder.

So this year I made a resolution to tone it down with the reviews. Mostly accept mom-owned products to make things more personal, and force me to be less commercial. Following was optional to enter giveaways but still a common entry for many people.

But somewhere between doing my own giveaways for followers, dogging this small sortof pyramid scheme on twitter, and then getting called a hypocrite (hey, I can admit it, it's hypocritical) I was forced to ask myself: Why does that number to the right matter? My blog isn't my job. I don't need stats to make money or provide for my family. it's a place for me to release, vent, and rant about things like this. So why does it matter?

If a company is interested in working with me, do I want them to contact me because of a number they see when they visit my blog, or write to me because of the content the read? My guess is before, some were just looking at the number. Which may be one reason I recently got an email from a PR rep which started "Hi Amanda..." when my name is actually not Amanda.

So, now realizing that that number was good for nothing, other that to occasionally stroke my ego as it would go up, or make me feel bad when I noticed it go down, or possibly make others feel bad if theirs wasn't as high, I've decided to escape the circus and simply remove it indefinitely. At least until I regain my reigns.

If people still follow blogs and read them in their reader the old fashioned way (or is it the new-aged way?) they can subscribe my blog via reader by clicking the reader button under my "about" section, or just get my email subscription or just do the for realz old fashioned way and use my RSS feed subscription thingy.

I have to admit, this takes a slight leap of faith. My blog has brought me tremendous opportunities. I've fallen into writing gigs, side jobs, and even recently was contacted by a network news station about my love letters. I don't know if that was because of that number to the right, or because of me.

Going forward, I guess I will.

*Update* It's come to my attention that 1. That blog taking money for the raffle has disappeared, which may very well have confirm my suspicions of a scam. And 2. I have many readers who read my blog who found me through a giveaway but stayed for my content... Who knew? Thanks all yall, really, thank you everyone who reads. Sorry for my rant on this subject, I just was getting annoyed of being thrown into the same pot as many bloggers who only do giveaways. There's nothing wrong with that, but that's not what I want to be known for, or as.