WordPress 108: Liking, Following or Not

following

So here’s the deal. I upload my 600-word article on my WordPress dashboard, use the proofreader to make last-minute corrections, and then publish. Fifty seconds later, my phone beeps; so-and-so liked your post. I’m a slow reader, but even if you’re a pro at speed-reading, you could not have read my blog post that fast. Haba!

The ‘numbers’ game, no longer holds the same fascination for me as it did two years ago when I started blogging, and yet, I’m in awe of the numbers. The number of people who engage my posts by liking, commenting, sharing, or leaving a message via my contact form is one way I measure the effectiveness of what I do—entertain, inform, inspire, or provoke thought.

I cannot ignore the numbers. When someone stumbles on my blog, he may not know what to read. If the Top Posts & Pages widget on the sidebar does not woo him, the number of likes and comments may resolve his indecision. In that sense then, a fake like is better than no like.

One evening between 8:42 and 8:44, my phone throbbed with the force of too many notifications. After the climax, so-and-so had liked nearly fifty of my blog posts. I was not flattered. It is like a man telling me how intelligent I am while staring at my chest; it just doesn’t add up.

Okay, I understand that sometimes a like on WordPress is like a poke on Facebook. It’s another way to say hello or get your attention—oh boy; that was one long poke! It is an invitation to come out and play, which I honour by visiting the Liker’s blog, as time permits. It is not an indication that so-and-so has read and digested your writing. Hmmm, very well then.

In the digital space attention is a

But there’s a nagging ring of deceit to this thing, this game of like tag. So far, I have been unwilling to like a blog post that I did not read or appreciate, as if my like has a price tag, as if anyone would know. If quality feedback is important to a blogger, then this promiscuous liking distorts perception; it certainly feeds ego.

In a way, social media is about numbers, number of likes, comments, follows, and shares, because no one wants to have a conversation by himself.  The problem with the like button on some social media sites is that the conversation with others may be illusory.

This post would have been unnecessary but for an encounter on WordPress, involving likes and follows. After reading a blog post I enjoyed, I liked it. In response, the blogger who only recently followed me informed me that a like without a corresponding follow was an insult. See me see wahala. Are we now back to high school?

Following a blogger on WordPress means that new posts from the blogger will appear in my Reader or I will receive an email notification when they publish a post. It seems dishonest to have my Reader flooded with hundreds of posts, which I will not read, but like. To me, a follow is a commitment to read your posts.

I am commitment shy. In a world awash with information, but limited time, you and I cannot read every blog post. If yours is a niche blog about DIY, for example, it would be spurious for me to follow your blog because I don’t like DIY and don’t want to get better at it.

Perhaps I will throw this textbook idealism out the window to monetize my blog or market any book I may write in future. Time will tell.  First-world problems, heh?

Be relevant

Still, the highest compliment I could pay you isn’t necessarily to follow you, but to read and engage your writing. It is the highest compliment you could pay me too.

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2015

 

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

WordPress 103… Recruiting Followers

follow me

I log into my WordPress account to check my blog stats. One visitor; one view. Hmmm, Australians are asleep and Americans just woke up. I scroll down to community and click support. I search for how to increase blog traffic. And that’s what you should do because this post isn’t about SEO, publicize, or  WordPress plugins.  Me? I started blogging six weeks ago.

The initial response to my blog humbles me. That you would honour me, an Ijaw girl, whose only claim to fame is that I come from somewhere near Oloibiri  in the Niger Delta, where Shell first struck oil, by reading my posts, I thank you.

Around midnight six weeks ago, I began sending mails to friends on Facebook and Linkedin. If I missed you, I’m sorry. I was struggling to keep my eyes open as I copied and pasted the prototype mail, changing the recipient’s name and customising each mail to take into account the circumstances of our friendship for that personal touch. Ko easy rara!

I sent the original to Yinka first. Then I copied and pasted it on Afi’s mail. I clicked the send button before I realized that Afi’s mail read: Hello Yinka!

What’s in a name? Plenty. People deserve to know that they are important no matter the time and distance that separates you from them. I couldn’t afford any more gaffes. At 2 a.m., I was still jogging my elephant memory, remembering the small details of our friendship and adapting  each copy-and-paste mail accordingly.

Did it pay off? You tell me.

It got to the turn of a friend who is an award-winning writer. The last time I saw her was in 2010. As we exchanged pleasantries, she mentioned an event involving her grandmother. I planned to attend, but didn’t get round to.

I sent this customised copy-and-paste mail to her:

Hello K,

How are you doing? Long time. The last my sister and I saw you was in PH-ou mentioned your grandmother’s burial I think?

I’ve just started a new blog which I think may interest you. But, don’t just take my word for it, check it out for yourself! Leave a reply, share & spread the word! http://www.livelytwist.wordpress.com

Regards,

Timi

A few days later, I received this response:

Hello Timi, I am okay, thanks. I will check out the blog. My grandmother is still alive.

Cheers.

I wanted to enter a forest so the trees could bury my humiliation with their green leaves. To think that my mail may have hit K as ill-wishes; tufiakwa! K, I only meant well o! May your grandmother live to be 120!

In his book, Axiom, Powerful Leadership Proverbs, Bill Hybels says, “Leadership is a lot about asking. After casting bold visions, leaders ask people to help make them become reality.”1 He writes about projects where the stakes felt sky-high and he had to remind himself to be absolutely shameless in asking people to join him.

So, here’s what I’m doing:

  • Casting the vision – this blog is about us, because we’re doing life together and when we connect, we do life better.
  • Stating the value proposition – every post you read will entertain, inform, inspire, or provoke thought.
  • Inviting you to join me – the follow widget makes it easy to subscribe, so you’ll receive my posts instead of occasionally stumbling upon them.

Recruiting followers goes beyond blogosphere because we lead daily. In my experience, men tend to be hunters, aggressively going after what they want.  Women on the other hand, tend to tell their potential followers all the reasons they should say no, and then apologise for asking.

Man:  I just started this project (goes on to make it sound larger than life), and I want you to join me (exaggerates all the reasons it will be worth your while).

Woman:  I know you’re very busy (adds more reasons why you should say no), but I just started this project (promotes project in humble terms), and I’d like you to join me (gives even more reasons for you to decline).

Well, it’s a new day for me. I’m learning to speak up about what I need and pursue what I want, without losing my femininity. What about you, how do you campaign for what you want?

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2013

 

 

1. Bill Hybels, Axiom, Powerful Leadership Proverbs, (Michigan: Zondervan, 2008), 21.

All people illustrations, animes, avatars, vectors by Microsoft

design: ©Timi Yeseibo

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.