Remember when I mentioned in my first post of 2017 that I’m totally over the bullshit? This is what I was referring to. I’ve been holding off on this for a while… so you might as well strap yourself in for a bumpy ride and some ranting.
First off, I love my blog.
I love writing my blog. I love engaging with my readers. I love “knowing” people online. And I really love it when I get the random comment that people enjoy my writing. Or that I made someone laugh so hard they peed a little.
What I don’t love is blog culture.
Or blogging culture.
I don’t really know what to call it… but I HATE it.
The whole culture of being a blogger – or being a successful blogger – is bullshit.
There are a bazillion bloggers out there and it seems like everyone wants to be famous. Or at least get a gajillion blog hits so that they can make $500,000 off their blog each year and sit around paying full price for stuff. So, it becomes all about the numbers. More specifically, how many page views your blog gets each day/month.
But there are so many blogs out there that it can be hard to build your audience. So bloggers have invented ways to “support” each other to grow their blogs.
Sounds nice, right?
It’s bullshit. In case you didn’t hear it earlier.
So let’s talk about some of the ways this whole ‘I’ll scratch your back and you scratch mine’ process works and why I hate it…
Crappy Growth Strategy #1: Instagram Follow-for-Follow
For this one you trade following accounts. A blogger will go to a particular hashtag – like #styleblogger – and then follow hundreds of other bloggers in the hopes that they follow them back. However, if the ‘liked’ account doesn’t follow them back within a certain amount of time… they unfollow them. This is a way that a blogger on Instagram can greatly increase their followers and look more popular.
Why I hate it:
I haven’t done this, but I have been the recipient of a ton of accounts following me only to unfollow me the next day. Frankly, if you aren’t interested in my Instagram page, don’t follow it. I don’t want an inflated number of Instagram followers who don’t even give a crap about what I’m posting. I don’t need someone to follow me (to get a follow back) and then ignore everything I say. If I’m really feeling like being ignored, I can just ask my kid to put his shoes and coat away when he walks in the door. Also, I’m not going to follow someone back unless I’m actually interested in seeing what they post.
Crappy Growth Strategy #2: Facebook Groups for Blog Comments
Did you know that you can join blogger groups on Facebook that are all about supporting other bloggers? Sounds pretty great, right? That’s what I thought. I mean, how cool is it that you can have a daily comment thread where you post your blog post and then get comments on it from other people. Those people could decide that they love your writing and become one of your faithful readers. And you may find someone else’s blog that you love too!
Why I hate it:
I apparently live in a Disney movie because that is not how it works. Instead, you follow the rules by posting your link you’d like people to read and comment on, and then go through to read and leave comments on 5 other people’s posts. Then, instead of engaging back with you… you’ll either get people who flat out lie that they’ve left a comment (when they didn’t), or you’ll get comments where it is super clear that the person didn’t even READ your post. They usually sound something like this:
Such a great post! Thanks for sharing! – Jane, from Jane’s Fake Blog (a link to Jane’s blog would go here, of course)
Sigh. Sure, I would occasionally get a nice comment from other bloggers who actually read what I wrote, but the amount of spammy comments just made my heart hurt.
Crappy Growth Strategy #3: Hiring someone & Buying followers
Bloggers are actually hiring online personal assistants to visit other blogs and leave comments (with links back to the blogger’s blog). The worst part is that people are starting to think this is normal. Are you freaking kidding me?! You can also literally purchase followers for your Instagram and Twitter accounts. Yeah, you can BUY FAKE FRIENDS.
Why I hate it:
Stop. Just STOP. If you want to read a blog and comment on it, that’s awesome. I LOVE comments. However, it just feels so cheap that people are HIRING someone to go and leave comments and links in order to increase their goodwill and page views. Also, don’t buy fake fans. It’s disgusting. Stop it.
Crappy Growth Strategy #4: Instagram Like/Comment Circles
This one really pains me, because I bought into this 100%. On those blog support Facebook pages, you can sign up to be part of an Instagram group. The way a group typically works is that 10ish people are put in the group and when you share an image that you’d like engagement on, you can just send it to your group and everyone is required to comment on it and like it.
Yes, I know when I put it like that it sounds really sleazy. And I totally admit that I tried this. And it’s like a drug. You post an image and nobody gives a crap… but then you send it to your group and you get a bunch of comments and likes!
It feeds your ego!
The engagement affects Instragram’s engagement rate formula so that now more people are able to see your post, resulting in even more likes and comments!
You’re SO COOL and POPULAR.
Except, you’re not.
Why I hate it:
I honestly thought that this would be a great way to make other blog/Instagram friends and support each other. The problem is you are literally trading likes and comments with other bloggers/instagrammers and they probably don’t really give a crap about you. In fact, for all you know it can be their hired personal assistant leaving those likes and comments on their behalf.
What really burned my biscuit is that after a while I realized that I was one of the only people actually following the rules with my likes/comments and the other people weren’t bothering to like me back. Or, if they did leave a comment it was crap like “great post!”
Let’s go with sleazy, yet ineffective for that one.
I’m not perfect. And I’m certainly not a perfect blogger. And I can fully admit that I found myself pulled into the swamp of blog culture last year. I got caught up in it, I really did.
But now, I’m done with the bullshit.
It’s sad. And it’s kind of desperate.
So yeah, I’ve decided to stop growing my blog.
Instead, I’m going to write about what I feel like writing about. Share what I feel like sharing. Like Instagram accounts and posts that I feel like liking. And just generally cut out the crap.
Now, stroke my ego and give me some comments.