Recently I read a post from a blogger who lost a follower. She was basically writing to this follower, lamenting that s/he left, wondering why. Was she offensive? Boring? Too snarky? Who knows? The point was, this blogger was really distressed about losing a follower.
So I got to thinking about my own reasons. Why do I stop following people?
1. The number one spot definitely goes to: you sell too much stuff. Contests, advertising, give-aways, product reviews. Not interested.
2. You weren't what I expected when I started following, AKA, we don't have that much in common. Maybe I followed you because of a certain post, but when I started reading your blog, I realized that we travel in different circles.
3. You whine too much. Seriously, yes. I have stopped following people because their blogs seem to be a big whining session. It is so perfectly OK to pour your heart out, to gripe, to whisper a grievance now and then. But every single post? You stubbed your toe? Your house is too cluttered? Your husband didn't take out the trash? Call the WAHm-bulance, people! I'm moving on.
4. Your blog is too messy. Too hard to load, too many gadgets and widgets, too many ads, too big of a font. I know. I'm so shallow, but I'm just being honest here.
5. You haven't blogged in a long, long time. I've given up on you.
And then there is Facebook. I purged a couple of months ago, getting rid of all kinds of "friends." Mostly these were high school or college acquaintances that I barely knew. It's the whole "we weren't friends then, why are we friends now" thing. I instantly got several "friend" requests from those same people I unfriended. I probably friended them again so as not to hurt their feelings. I've only ever blocked one person, and that's because even seeing his name makes my blood pressure rise. (In fact, my stress level just rose dramatically even thinking about him for a fleeting second.) But anyway, I didn't purge all the people I barely knew back then, because some of those people have become, strangely, real friends now. Makes me wonder why we weren't friends all those years ago.
And I have this list of friend requests on Facebook that I keep ignoring. Not actually ignoring enough to hit the "ignore" button usually (and if you have Facebook, you know what I mean)—because then they know they've been ignored—but just not responding to. I feel badly about it because I don't want to cause these nice folks to wonder why I won't friend them, but frankly, well, I don't even know who you are. Or you're under 13. Or you irritate me in real life.
So my daughter just got a Facebook account a few days ago, on the occasion of her 13th birthday. Already she's been speculating: "Why hasn't so-and-so responded to my friend request?" Or "Yay! I have 75 friends already!"
It's crazy. But in spite of the lunacy of social networking, I love it. I love this ability to "meet" new people via blogging, to share ideas, be encouraged, read some beautiful prose, learn new stuff, find friends. Real friends. People who have become an actual part of my real life. And the same goes for Facebook. The connections, reconnections, the past meeting the present—it's all amazing.
And so that's what I have to say about all that. But please, be kind and don't stop following me. My fragile ego can't take any knocks this week.