Saturday 14 August 2010


Let me say here and now that I love having followers.

It makes me feel all warm and wanted, important too. Every time a new follower signs in I do a little gurgle of pleasure, and every time somebody unfollows me, I sigh deeply, unhappily, and question my reason for being – for being a blogger, that is, not the general sort of being on this earth.

In the greater scheme of things, I am the most unnecessary invention, a totally irrelevant speck of dust on the sole of creation’s boot. My continued presence hardly even merits a footnote in the annals of my own family, much less in anybody else’s. Beloved would probably miss me – there’d be nobody to ask “what are we doing for dinner today?”  The kids are too busy to bother, they are the centre of their own universe, as is the way of the world; the ancient crone known as Mum is surplus to requirements. I bet they already dread the day when they are faced with the task of putting me away somewhere suitable, where I can drool and dribble, click and suck my teeth and have incontinence problems. I am planning to pretend not to know them anymore when that happens, or, at the very least, I’ll get all their names wrong.

The above does not mean that I am depressed, no more than on a good day anyway; no, I see it as a pretty accurate description of the human condition generally.

But, I digress, the point of this post is to address my followers. So, where was I?

First of all, dear people, thank you very much for being my followers. I really appreciate it, That goes for those of you who only want to sell me something too; I am not proud.

Obviously, the followers I like best are those who leave their name and calling card, i.e. blogging address, and if you are amongst those who comment too, you have earned my undying gratitude. Besides, I probably follow you too and the whole thing is a bit like a mutual admiration society. Everybody's happy, at least I hope so.

Then there are followers who leave an address, but never comment. To begin with, I visit your blogs, introduce myself and leave a comment wherever possible.  If there is no feedback, I will eventually stop visiting.

Next come the followers who leave their name, but no forwarding address.

Your blogs are barred to me unless I sign in and apply for membership. Well, how do I know I can? You might be an axe murderer, or worse, the Smith Family blog, detailing every burp and belch, every tooth and cute new lock of hair in  little Johnny's life, which makes your blog such a riveting read.

As you by and large never leave a comment, I have no means of getting back to you, and as I am curious enough to visit every follower, every blogger who leaves a comment, and everyone who gets in touch, at least once after the initial contact, we might both miss out.

Last, and most certainly least, come the anonymous followers. There are, of course, exceptions, where somebody is with a different blog host and can only follow anonymously. To those of you my special thanks, it must be quite a palaver to do that. I consider your presence  a great compliment.

But the genuinely anonymous followers I simply don't understand. Do you actually read the blog? A blog name flashes up when I point the cursor at you but that is all there is. Are you blogging at work and can't afford to be traced? Are you blogging against the wishes of your nearest and dearest? Do you actually not have a blog at all but would still like to be part of blogland? Are you spies?

Do tell, one or two of you, if you can, curiosity is a weakness I prefer not to overcome.

What I really hope will not happen is that I will now see a spate of unfollowings - that's what blogger calls it - . You really wouldn't want to break my heart, would you? Just when we are beginning to get to know each other.


  1. Whew! I'm glad you out-and-out said you aren't depressed! Seriously, this was an interesting post and I wanted you to know I appreciate you.

  2. Enjoyed this post Friko (and thank you for your recent comment on my blog). I had considered posting on the unspoken etiquette of following/unfollowing, but perhaps I haven't been a resident in blogland long enough to pronounce on the subject.

    I read all the blogs that I follow but do not always leave a comment. Sometimes I feel that everything possible has been said or that the moment has passed.

    I tend not to leave comments on the blogs of more experienced writers; I simply hang on their words of wisdom and learn from them.

    Unfollowing - something that I have done a couple of times and it left me feeling slightly uncomfortable.

  3. Before I started blogging, I was an admitter lurker. I just enjoyed entertaining reading. I would read and leave.
    Today as a blogger, I too have lurkers and having been one, I have a soft spot in my heart for them. I see them on my sitemeter only but know they are there and they do come back. They are quite loyal.
    Someday, they may also take the plunge and start blogging, then we can communicate. Till then, they are my silent friends.

  4. Friko, I will never ever unfollow you as your dark humor always makes me laugh.

  5. Dear, Dear, Friko, I am so glad you said you are not depressed as Lydia mentioned. I know and feel everything you are saying, and many times I feel depressed.I am so thankful I still have my HH of 50 years or I would surely feel unwanted. My children are all so busy and some even have a disgust of blogging so that is why I took my old blog down and only my friends out there have my address. I am working really hard to get in touch with all my followers to re-follow, I call it, I can remember all the people, but not all the addresses. Tell it like it is gal.

  6. Dein Post heute ist wie ein Schwertkampf unter Göttern, nun, Du wirst lachen, liebe Friko, so habe ich es beim Lesen tatsächlich empfunden - als etwas Ueberweltliches. Deine Ehrlichkeit und Deine Herausforderung sind verblüffend und vielleicht sogar ein wenig beängstigend, weil die Menschheit irgendwie dort in gewisser Weise angeklagt wird. Und in dem Ganzen, eigenartigerweise, finde ich mich selbst nicht wieder, ich bin oder war ja auch anonym und dann doch wieder nicht...
    Ich denke nicht, dass man sich über die Leute, die nicht kommentieren, irgendwelche Gedanken machen sollte. Manche Leute geniessen, was sie lesen und wollen die Dinge so sein lassen, wie sie sind, ohne sie zerreden zu wollen. Sie sind in gewisser Weise ja ganz wertvoll, weil sie schweigen, aus grossem Respekt.
    Und ich würde Dich auch sehr vermissen...!

  7. I know at least one person who has removed the 'Follow' gadget from their blog, and I can see how the ebb and flow of 'followers' could become a distraction or even a preoccupation. To my mind, people come and go in every other walk of life. Why should blogging be any different? I have 'unfollowed' one or two blogs, usually because they've become dormant for months at a time.

    I've been checking my stats for a little over a year now. In the early days, very little activity. Now, I have regular visitors from all over. The blog currently has 81 'followers' but I know there are many more out there, as yet undeclared.

    I received a comment from you, 9 September 2009 23:10. It read, "..I have decided to follow you. If you find my blog interesting enough, perhaps you'd like to do the same for me?"

    I did, because quite simply, I enjoy the honesty in your writing, especially your poetry, which is a rare treat.

  8. Very negative, dark post!

    My kids call me when they need advice, not daily, but definitely when things happen. e.g., when granddaughter #1 swallowed some cpare change! (My advice, these things pass in time!)

    I have a sitemeter on my blog that tells me I have about 115 hits per day!

    Other than than, my target audience is my family, friends, and whomever else pops in. Commenting on the local businesses, great restaurants, artisans, festivals and fairs, garners me a wider team of people who love this part of the world!

    Of course, if you have G8 move in, you'll get all sorts of strangers who visit, too!

    Remember, doesn't matter who reads your story, as long as you tell it it is good for you!

  9. friko - i have 137 "followers" of whom perhaps a dozen, sometimes a couple of dozen, visit me and leave a comment. i enjoy comments and try to reply to each one. but if there were no comments - and there were almost none for the first year and a half - i would still write and post images because i really enjoy it and hope that whomever arrives learns something or sees some beauty to carry away with them in their day. of course there are silent visitors and that's fine. i place no expectations on anyone who visits. thanks for this interesting post friko. steven

  10. Lovely to start the day with a nice tart Friko post.
    The whole issue of followers is divided in my mind - I see it partly as some sort of weird schoolyard sort of popularity thing when someone follows or unfollows my blog - but then when I choose to follow someone it's because I want to read more and know that I'll never again find one single blog in the teeming blog universe.

  11. Ah, the followers. I've thought about removing the widget a couple of times but I must admit, I do like to see when the number increases. I don't follow everyone who follows me. I do check out the blogs of new followers (and will go back several times to get a feel for it) and sometimes reciprocate but sometimes their blogs are of no interest to me. I already have too many that I read regularly, if I added more, I'd have to drop others.

  12. Hi Friko, I only recently discovered you, and after a couple of lurks, I knew I had to be a follower and that it was time to speak up. I myself don't like the idea of the followers widget; somehow it puts a distracting competitiveness into the arena, like "ooooh...this person has 600 followers...she must be good..." So I don't have it my sidebar.

    The tiny extra effort that goes into becoming a follower when there is no widget (click on the word "follow" in the upper left of your screen) is enough to dissuade 99% of the readers. This makes me wonder if many folks aren't as interested in following as they are in having their little avatar show up in the widget. This sounds so cynical! But I wonder.

  13. Lydia - thanks and I am glad that you get my sense of humour.

    Christine - About 18 months ago I started out and at first I thought like you when it came to experienced bloggers. Now I think it's nonsense. we are all experienced in our different ways because we all write differently and, I hope, for our own pleasure. So, please, do comment away to your heart's content. Most people will be very glad of it.

    Arkansas Patti - I love you calling yourself and others 'lurkers'. I usually leave a comment when I visit, probably because the blogger knows I've sneaked a look anyway. But there are times when I simply don't know what to say or when there have already been 50 commenters before me.

    marciamayo - good, I often wonder if my sense of humour comes across to others and if it does, if it offends. Actually, this is my blog and I can do no other than be myself. If I wrote everything with a view to flattering readers, wouldn't that be silly?

    daylilly - No, dear QMM, I certainly am not. You keep on blogging girl, and make it your blog entirely. Otherwise what would be the point?

    Renee - Sag mal, wieso liest du meine posts immer so bis auf den Kern? Es stimmt, ich nehme kein Blatt vor den Mund und schreibe so, wie ich's meine, aber ich kann mir nicht vorstellen, dass mein blog zu Kampfhandlungen fuehren koennte. Herausfordernd? Vielleicht sollte ich doch mal eine Nummer kleiner waehlen? Meistens sind meine posts humourvoll zu sehen, kommt das nicht an?

    Aber sicher findest du dich wieder, du bist eine der anonymen, die selber kein blog haben, deshalb nicht 'folgen' koennen. Dir gilt mein ganz besonderes Danke.

  14. MartinH - Goodness gracious, etc. etc. but how did you find that out? Is there a gadget that let's you check when and how people first followed you?
    Apart from that, you are totally right - and here is something else I've never thought of before - : of course, people come and go, why should blogland be different from anywhere else. I really must keep this blogging and reading blogs up; where else would I have such a ready source of insights and eye openers.

    Jenn Jilks - Oh dear, Jenn, and I thought most of this post was a hoot. It was certainly not meant to be serious and dark. I have this slightly sharp (Pondside calls it 'tart') sense of humour and I usually don't think very deeply before I write, but write as it comes. I enjoy blogging, I enjoy having people read what I write, and I certainly do not mean to depress anyone.

    Quite the contrary.

    steven - your posts are always a joy and I sometimes find that I am running out of superlatives when I visit you. If you get half as much pleasure from my ramblings I would be very happy.
    Followers and readers come and go: by now I have a core of blogs I visit regularly, yours is one of them.

    Pondside - hey, is that kind of humour catching? 'Tart', eh?
    I too think following is a bit silly and I am ashamed that it seems to matter. But without following you'd miss the back and forth aspect of blogging and I am very glad to have made some real 'virtual' friends that way.

    ellen abbott - you've mentioned the one drawback to getting to know blogs intimately: there can be too many and blogging begins to take up too much time. With some blogs I feel I must catch up when I've not been able to visit for a while. At times I have felt overwhelmed by the amount of information and stories out there.

  15. Hey Friko. Without maudlin sentimentality, I'm going to say that I'm extremely happy I found your blog. Your way of writing, appeals to my own inner-writer's longing. I have always wished I could express myself with such a well-honed razor sharp wit. You give your point with such a straight-arrow punch. Never quivers but zings right to it's mark. Oh, how I like that!

    For instance .... the phrase .... "a totally irrelevant speck of dust on the sole of creation's boot. " I waddled around in that for a while, completely giving honor to your mind and wondering, "Now why can't i come up with phrases like that?" No wonder you also write poetry because I think words put together like that come from a poets mind.

    You asked a question on my post about my saying, "I've lived most of my marvelous life" (something like that, it went). I'll answer it here, if you don't mind. Perhaps you don't know my age and I may be assuming everyone does. :) I'm 80 and I guess if you look at the numbers I have lived most of my life. Does it make more sense then, or should I re-word it and add my age in it or just rewrite the whole thing? Thanks

  16. See you popped in...thanks. I love newcomers. I appologize, but am getting ready for a wedding that I just delivered a cake to, so will read more later. Stop anytime now.

  17. Interesting post. I've just been asked to write a bit about blogging for an upcoming publication and I likened the etiquette of returning a commenter's visit to returning a phone call from a friend. If you never return the call, sooner or later you'll lose that friend.

    I very much enjoy your acerbic wit.

  18. Dear Friko - I always enjoy your blogs and am grateful to you for leaving comments on mine.

    I first started blogging quite literally to keep a log of my vegetable garden and then my real life began to creep in....

    I am have not reached the stage yet where I mind if people follow or not - I find the blog awards a bit odd and unnecessarily competitive but if it makes people happy then fine.

    I haven't reached the pants-wetting, drooling stage yet and both the kids still depend on me for some financial support so they tolerate my words of unwisdom! I suspect it won't last for ever and wonder if I will be disappointed?

    Keep up your great blogs!

  19. Kerry - By now you will have seen that I've finally sorted out you and your blog(s). I've even managed to click on the right button.
    As for cynical, not from where I'm listening. I do a very good line in cynical which I would love to give up but things rarely work out that way,
    if you have eyes and ears and a brain to go with them. (although I have given you cause to doubt the presence of a brain in my case.)

    Manzanita - well, you could have knocked me down with a feather (as they say in these parts). Your blog is that of a young woman and I have been wondering what you are doing here.

    As for your extravagant praise, I'll accept it with great pleasure and thanks but I am left wondering if you are actually reading the same blog that I am writing. I have been handed the gene of irreverence, which frequently gets me into trouble.

    As for the sentence about your age, I would leave it just as it is. Nobody is quite as thick as well as curious as I am and not many would have the nerve to ask outright what it means; now that I know I think it's perfect.

  20. Dar - Hi there, thanks for calling. I can't recall that I visited your blog, but will do so now without fail Cake-baking, weddings? You are having a great time, it seems.

    Vicki Lane - Is that a compliment I see before me? Acerbic? Hm. You may be right.
    You are also right about the return call. Like many, I stop visiting when there's no feedback. Actually, it might also be a way of disconnecting? Have you thought of that? I just this minute have.

    madamebutterfly - If I visit and leave comments that means I am interested and get something from your blog. So no need for gratitude. As for the pants wetting, etc. no, I haven't got there yet either and hope I never will, but a girl can plan her revenge in advance, can't she?

  21. I tried to leave a comment here earlier but It hasn't come up. I can't remember all I said but ironically part of it was about how time consuming blogging can be if we let it. There are some gems around among the blogs but there is real life as well.

  22. Friko: You've written a most perceptive post on the subject of following--for that alone, but because I can see there will be other riches in store as well, I am pleased to sign on to follow you. Thank you, too, for your comment at RA. I wonder how close we might have come to where you live, as we came through the Marches on our way back to London. How lovely to think of the intersections between the cyber and actual worlds.

  23. Hey Friko - look up - I've actually got this darn 'follow' gizmo to work on my computer at last!!
    You've now got 152 followers and most of us are real.

  24. OK I'm officially a follower, I forget to do it with blogs I like and I like yours. I don't know if I should add the widget to mine or not. I look at the sitemeter thingie about once every 3 months to get a flavour of who reads me. Some have privately emailed to say they read me but never leave a comment. And that's fine.
    I write because I must. Even if I never had a follower, I would write. And write.
    Perhaps focussing on the followers distracts from the writing? Who knows.
    Carry on Friko.

  25. Well... Wonderful post! I am thrilled to have found your blog - I love your wit and your "cynical" view of things in this wonderful life. I tend to have a split view on things - often very cynical, yet also the eternal optimist. Gets confusing at times! I feel honored that someone with your way with words would be interested in following my blog.

    Originally, when I started this endeavor (not too long ago), I figured I would be writing for myself, as historically, I have not shared my writing with very many people. It was only during the last week or two that I even connected this to my Facebook spot - letting people around me know it existed.

    Yet I have found like you, each time someone "follows" me - I get the "gurgle of pleasure" realizing that someone has taken an interest. This reaction actually surprised me. I normally like to blend in so to speak rather than drawing attention to something I have done. I also find I enjoy receiving comments because of the dialogue that is created between me and whoever makes them. I try to read and comment on all of the Blogs that I follow and receive comments from as well.

    Thank you for evoking the dialogue on this subject.

  26. once again, you well speak my own thought. no wonder me mutually admire, dear pal.

    Warm Aloha from Waikiki :)

    Comfort Spiral

  27. Friko--you are quite a lady--love your writing and sense of humor--I will be back-c

  28. That's fascinating ! As far as I know , I'm not anyone's follower nor am I followed . I have no idea who drops in to read our blog unless they leave a comment . Though , like everyone , I'm tickled pink when anyone does.
    The mechanics of blogging are rather beyond me altogether . The whole linkery and widgetry of much of blogging baffles .
    In fact , were it not for my co-blogger's superior computer skills , I'd probably just sit in the market square on Fridays , waving a laboriously printed A4 and a photo or two and trying to catch peoples eye .
    So if I'm not your follower , I apologise . I am in spirit !

  29. I enjoy your words Friko and this post is interesting. I have enjoyed Blogland, I don't really know why I started but I have learnt so much from other bloggers' blogs ;-) In many ways we are all the same but in other ways we are all so different. I never thought of followers when I started but have found it's a bit like a neighbourhood with others calling in to visit or I can visit them.
    Thanks for your comments on my recent posts, I have enjoyed Willow's Magpie Tales but not being a writer I have much to learn and I am enjoying the Sepia Saturdays as I have always been a collector of family photos.

  30. Hi Friko, another well thought out and written post (even though you claim otherwise). I don't have a blog and don't think that I will start one (yet). As I understand it, I can't be a follower because I don't have a blog (your reply to Renée), but in my mind I am indeed one of your loyal "followers". I bookmark the blogs I want to visit and so really do not need to "follow". I don't always comment because others before me have already "stolen" my words. I find that I am reading fewer blogs as it is so time consuming and there is so much else to do. There are some blogs that I will never stop visiting (at least as long as they are active) and yours is ONE of them.

  31. Kerry makes a good point. The only reason I don't remove my followers widget is because I don't like creating the impression of being ungrateful, because I am in fact grateful for those who bother to read what I write. I think people follow for all kinds of reasons, and there are some "dead" icons in my followers widget. By that I mean the people attached to them never even visit me. On the other hand, two of the people who show me the most support have never even added their icon, even though they have blogs. The whole thing is a mystery.

    I too am never quite sure of your moods, Friko. Sometimes I can't tell if you're truly down, or just being wry. But that's part of the mystery and complexity that is you. I'm not interested in cookie-cutter people.

  32. I read your post and intended to comment but then I read everyone else's comments ... They've said it all for me! So, this is just to let you know that I have been here and am still an avid follower!

  33. One way to look at it is through the Einsteinian concept of relativity; If the universe is infinite and it's all relative, any point may be considered the center, why not you?

  34. HI
    I have not signed up as a "follower" but I do visit often and always am glad I did.

    You sure got a lot of good comments from this post.:)

  35. Tramp - there is indeed and blogging does get in the way sometimes.

    Raining Acorns - thank you very much for 'signing in'. I hope you will find the odd bit here and there of interest. You probably won't have come through here, I really live far from any major road, he A 49 is the nearest.

    mollygolver - hey Molly, as far as I know you have been a follower for some time, so whatever you did to or with your gizmo now, hasn't registered. Whatever, I am very glad you pop in for a read now and then. How's Hercules?

    Wisewebwoman - I am so glad to know this because I pop into yours too. I have yet to learn how to get sitemeter to tell me about visitors. Several people have said in comments to this post that that is what they do, it can't be beyond me to find out how to do it. I get their emails every week, but I just look at them and don't delve deeper.

    What you say about writing goes for me too, I write all the time anyway; why, to what end, I don't really know.

    Reflections - I am happy to visit you and hope you ill get lots of enjoyment out of blogging. The more you visit and the more comments you leave, the more people will find your blog, it's as simple as that. It took me many months to get off the ground.

    Cloudia - hey, thanks pal, I thought you might agree.

    C.M. Jackson - thanks for visiting; I'll be over too as soon as possible.

  36. Smitonius and Sonata - You are being followed! Not stalked in the dark of the night, but followed in blogland. I have seen you on many a sidebar in a blog column.
    That A4 sheet is getting a bit tatty blowing in the Dutch wind.

    Marilynn - well, not so different from others, after all. There are few who know why they start blogging and few who don't have to feel their way in to start with, but I have found most people very friendly and supportive and the flow of posts comes quite naturally by and by.

    Keep blogging.

    Carla HR - Actually, I think you could follow, because you have a blog of sorts. I may be wrong, of course, but there is also the followers icon, which would probably get posts to you by email. Or maybe I'm talking nonsense.
    In any case, i am glad that you can pop in and comment under your own name and I hope you will continue to do so.
    And yes, it is true, I do not think very deeply about any of my posts, they just come naturally out of the initial idea. perhaps, if I took more time over them, they might be less confusing. Or perhaps I might develop better blogging manners.

    Mark Kerstetter - Dormant - rather than 'dead' followers I have aplenty. They do tend to leave again too. Becoming a follower makes it easier to read new posts, because blogger kindly brings them up on my dashboard and I don't have to check blogs every day.

    I am sorry for causing confusion; with me it's a matter of treating the most serious matters in the most flippant way. I see blogging as a somewhat superficial medium, hence my superficial attitude. If things go really deep with me, I find it hard not to make a joke out of them. Oh dear, not good, saying this.

  37. WIAR - glad you are still calling in. I don't see much of you, your posts are few and far between; as you know I catch each one as it trips up on dashboard.

    Lane Savant - that is really clever, did you just invent a new law? If Einstein had known about blogging, he might have said it too.

    Chancy - hello there, I see you can come under your own name again. How did you manage that? I shall pop round for a visit too.

  38. You have so many comments (which I did not take time to read) from this post. That must warm the cockles of your heart! I have a list of bloggers that I follow and then I also follow on the Dashboard...must organize these two lists someday!

  39. Friko, you write good, we follow. S'simple as that.

  40. Tabor - consider the cockles duly warmed.

    Fran - you're back on the treadmill?

  41. Oh my goodness, I kind of got lost in amongst the comments. Just wanted to say I think I am a follower in that I check you out on bloglines! At any rate I enjoy seeing what you have to say. Totally identify with not making blogging a competitive sport. For me it is about community and sharing views, life the universe with others. Thank you for putting things so clearly.

  42. Hey, Friko; I'm here regularly, too! I "Google Reader" my favorites, and comment whenever moved to do so. I don't no at all if that makes me an 'official' follower, but I DO follow in my fashion.

    Sometimes, like another commenter, I feel a bit ...shy? about commenting. I'm fairly new to your posts so I don't always catch the humor, but I love the style; love the cynicism, and I'm crazy mad about the way you make me think.

    AND i agree with those who say that blogging/reading blogs can take up an inordinate amount of time. And sometimes just the ridiculous amount of techie add-ons make me squirm. Add to that my efforts to keep my big E ego in check helps me resist the temptation to count my readers. You (readers) are a small number, but your quality makes me very happy.

    And all this to say Thanks for showing up here in whatever hat fits you in that moment. You add to my days in a myriad of ways.

  43. I got over-excited when I discovered Blogger about that I followed too many people - not realising that many people blog every day. I wasn't working when I started but am now. The upshot is that I can't be active on all the ones I've followed and don't want to cause needless offense by unfollowing (especially blogs with not many followers who would notice more). So I dip in when I can, am more likely to read shorter posts than long ones, only comment if I have something to say... and, like Christine, tend not to comment when there are 42 comments already made. But I've made an exception today - because you asked so nicely! 8-)

  44. p.s. I was talking generally about ALL the blogs I follow, especially re the unfollowing - not considering unfollowing yours! 8-)

  45. I've had a bright red banner pop up telling me I have to 'unfollow' some blogs, as I've reached my limit! Therefore some of the ones who have never made contact have had to go, in favour of those willing to share email addresses and hold conversations. Keeping emails a secret seems a trifle pointless in a world where technology is capable of tacing all of us anyway! As a narky follower, I'm afraid you are stuck with me! hehehe...


Comments are good, I like to know what you think of my posts. I know you'll keep it civil.