Disclaimer: Rant Piece Ahead
Let me start off by asking this question – Do any of you actively choose to unfollow blogs that you are currently following on WordPress sites? Or is this some taboo topic, only to be whispered around in hush tones around campfires at night.
I’m going out on a limb here and say most of you don’t. You have either never thought of it, or you feel your gut wrenching whenever your mouse button hovers over the follow / unfollow button in the omnipresent bar hovering on the top. (I call it the Fubar.)
But before that, let’s discuss your views on what the heck a Follow actually is:
- Currency – I follow you, you follow me back. This is courtesy, in some strange blog-culture manner, and society approves of it.
- Free Love – Oh, cool story bro. Follow! Oh cool pic. Follow! It doesn’t matter what the rest of your blog looks like. Follow! Exclamation points are just so awesome!
- E-Peen – This blog has ten thousand followers, thus it must be awesome. How it got them is not important.
- Ceretas Paribus – Followers and Following should grow in constant of one another. It’s only respect that I should show an interest in the community that has shown an interest in me.
- Interest – I have looked through this blog and it’s contents, and have found it to be highly entertaining and relevant. Hence I grace the blog with a follow. Also known as, if you chose this option, you’re probably lying.
But my real question here is, how then do you actually interact with the people you follow? What happens when your follows grow to such a extent, that you can no longer separate great content from the chafe. In particular, this relates strongly to the Reader Feed and email notifications. Sometimes it is what it is – Spam.
Behind the wall of spoon-fed social interactivity, there is A TON of awesome content on WordPress sites. So much so, I’ve practically abandoned Facebook due to sheer boredom from its drivel content. On a weekly basis, you read something inspiring or quirky on WordPress that makes you feel that you are a better human-being, just for having read it.
There’s my take on blogging right there. You can quote me on it. And the reason why some blogs thrive when others fail. After all, content will always be king.
But my take on the whole following / follower mess is a lot more depressing and cynical. What WordPress is terming as a social experience is turning into a festering pool of pro-creating viruses that seems hell-bent of turning every single blogger into a following-liking machine i.e. A social-media kid rather than a content creator.
And everyday their numbers grow. Have you ever seen the number of followers on your blog fall? Didn’t think so. But when was the last time you heard from 90% of your followers? Whether you see this as a good or bad thing, that’s for you to decide. It’s like the Facebook like and share after all. Clicking means interaction.
So what then must eventually happen? My personal opinion is that in the long run, two possible scenarios will occur. Likely in sequence:
(1) Overload leads to desensitization
The Reader, Notification functions will be largely ignored by the populace as people just keep clicking like and follow like sheep. This is detrimental to WordPress since content quality must give way to efforts to publicise and rise above the noise. Much like it already is.
(2)A counter-culture of unfollowing will start develop
A movement of self-curation, whether enforced or spread like an idea, people will learn from their behavior in real life and learn to be discerning. You don’t go around throwing five-star reviews everywhere, but neither do you troll and post comments in the negative. Rather, you just learn to ignore, and block out the bad.
Then one day, you finally learn the reason why the unfollow button is there all along. Inspired, you click on it. The world doesn’t end. You breathe, you smile. You go to another blog, and you click it again. You start swinging, wielding your mighty left mouse button like the chainsaw from Evil Dead, mowing down zombie blogs.
The Purple Pony Blog? Unfollow. Blog with nothing but reblogs. Unfollow. Wilson K’s blog…. maybe next time.
Don’t wait people!
The inevitable will come. Start unfollowing today. Turn your Reader into a well of knowledge and creativity that you can tap on everyday to nourish your soul. Turn every email you receive into one you will actually bother to click on, and let’s show those son-of-bitches blog trolls that we’re not falling for their little tricks and fairy dust again.
You can start with me first, if you like. Just move your mouse up, you know you want to. And… click. I offer myself up to the gods of Mount WordPressian as a willing sacrifice. May my blood wash away your trolls, inhibitations and inability to use WordPress effectively anymore.
Signed in blood.