Why do you like me?

I got a lot of likes from other bloggers on a recent post, My Next Big Thing. A lot by my standards, that is. My likes and follows have been trending upwards recently but this blog has not exactly gone viral.

After blogging for more than two years I am just now learning how the blogging community operates. My learning was delayed because I started out on Blogspot, where no actual networking went on as far as I could tell. I switched to WordPress last October for technical reasons and stumbled into the blogging community. WordPress has a number of features that promote networking. The main one is that when a fellow WordPress blogger likes your post you get an email saying:

“Soandso liked your post on the practical mystic.

“They thought My Next Big Thing was pretty awesome.

“You should go see what they’re up to. Maybe you’ll like their blog as much as they liked yours!”

And then it lists links to three “great posts worth seeing from Soandso.”

Out of curiosity you may check out this fellow blogger who likes what you wrote and in the process you increase the traffic to his or her site (I should give up grammatical correctness and say “their site” since “they” thought my post was awesome). I’m sure a lot of liking goes on purely to increase site stats. But it also connects you to people who might share your interests and it lets you know who your readers are, at least in the blogging world, which may not mirror the real world.

I guess the true test of love is if the blogger who likes your post begins following you, that is, getting an email every time you post. I can’t imagine inviting more email unless you truly care. I now have 56 followers, very modest by blogosphere standards but more with each post.

Since I started getting more blogger likes and follows I’ve been acting more like a community member myself, visiting blogs, occasionally liking, commenting, and following. Very occasionally. There are some gems out there but they’re rare. I am handicapped in this networking business by my writing snobbery. My remaining life is too short to spend reading bad writing and most blog writing is bad: trite, clumsy, sentimental, too much information of the wrong kind.

This is not a reflection on the blogger, just on his or her (their) writing.

Writing I willingly read doesn’t have to be perfect, just show some originality of thought or style. Something genuine. Something promising. Or, of course, a good blog might offer something helpful like recipes, though I will not follow a recipe blog that is badly written. I would like to find more life blogs like my own that meet my snobby standards but so far I’ve discovered only a few. I haven’t been looking too hard because I already spend too much time reading rather than writing or getting material for writing, that is, living. But if you have suggestions, let me know.

I know my writing snobbery puts me on the outskirts of the blogosphere because many terribly written blogs get way more likes, followers, and comments than mine. On the other hand my favorite blogger, the nature writer David George Haskell, who writes extremely well and always has something interesting to say, gets very few blogger likes. Go figure.

This brings me to the question of why that one post got so many blogger likes. It’s not just that I’m generally getting more readers, because other recent posts, which I think are more interesting, have gotten way fewer likes.

Here is my theory. It is because I wrote about being stuck in my writing and I ended the post with a tiny plea for support. “Cheer me on,” I said. And my fellow bloggers cheered.

We all need to be cheered on. Bloggers have recognized this need, both in themselves and others, and they have learned to respond. They respond to the vulnerability, the need for support, the confessions of failure and stuckness embedded in the writing, good and bad, that is being sent out into the ether.

Am I right?

Or maybe it was just some kind of weird, organized like bomb.

Clue me in. Share!

10 thoughts on “Why do you like me?

  1. There is a certain amount of reciprocity involved with “likes” and “follows” I’m sure, but you are right in saying that the networking features help us find some extraordinary material amid the noise. Good writing is hard to find and mediocrity abounds but there are wonderfully talented people out there who really inspire and shift the world in a positive way, including yours. 🙂

  2. I subscribed to your blog as a way to know you better. You are a good, clear writer in a particular style. Clearly confident, you ask for feedback. Brava on the chutzpah! I won’t comment on either your content, style, or what you call snobbery, but I will ask if you read my blog? http://called43.wordpress.com/ If you don’t, will you give it a try? I’ve been blogging on WordPress since the Fall of 2009. I can tell you that readers are reluctant to leave comments. In my view, the average reader is looking for identification with other, in much the same way memoirs and biographies are read. They seem to prefer being anonymous. The conversational interaction that commentary can provide does not seem to be welcomed. I have gotten over wanting this. I write when I have something to say out of my experience and I do it rather well, according to a few creative writer friends. Affirmation from fellow writers is delectable nourishment for the vulnerability always close at hand when exposing one’s interior landscape. Nevertheless, it seems to me that blogging is first and foremost an activity of value to the blogger. How about posting an essay on why we blog?

    • Yeah, I don’t usually fish for comments. I was just curious about why one post got a lot of likes. I do read your blog especially when you post a link to it on FB. Thanks for the comment and suggestion. I really don’t know if I could write about why we blog though I can speak for myself.

      • Speak for yourself. It would be of interest to other bloggers. I could write one as well and wouldn’t it be interesting to compare raison d’etre? I’m glad to know that you read mine. Comments? 🙂

  3. I do thank you for finding me and for following. I am not a perfect blogger – sometimes I do get it right. Blogging is a mystery to me as well. Why does this person have 500 followers and someone else who has an interesting blog on sonnets has very few. When someone “likes” me, I check out their blog. If what pops up first is badly written, trite, whatever….I check out more of their blogs to give them a chance. I respect they are out there trying, putting something of themselves out there to share. I do the same thing. If the blogger has one thing I like, I’ll mark it as “Like”. If the site is interesting and engaging, I’ll follow. If they post something I don’t like, I don’t hit that button. I go on to the next piece in my reader. I don’t have many followers compared to others but the ones I have, I like! I have visited their blogs, became interested, and I followed. Although not a gamer, there are a couple of gaming blogs I follow because the two guys are so funny and always make me smile. They liked a couple of things on my page (one was a recipe amazingly) and I checked them out. What they talk about is over my head, but being avidly and incurably curious, I read their blogs.

    You have an interesting blog. I am going to follow. I may not always “like” but I will always read! I am looking forward to hearing more from you.

    • Thank you kanzensakura! I am also a Japanophile though not as dedicated as you. Reading your blog makes me natsukashii! I just finished reading A Tale for the Time being, Ruth Ozaki. Mahvelous.

  4. Those e-mail notifications can be turned off in your settings pretty easily 🙂 All I get now is just a notification as I log on to the WordPress website.. MUCH more pleasant 😀 x

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