M … is for Mutual (Support)

M[1]  is for mutual, as in mutual support.

Now, how am I going to spin this into a writing connection?

We all enjoy what we’re doing; writing. We all recognise that if not a lonely life, it can be safely construed as a solitary life. Outside of your shed, study, or wherever you write, you may have family or even friends. They may or may not make all the right noises when they see your work, but let’s look at our blog-life.

Instead of using this post to talk about writing, I thought I’d touch on what we’re all doing right now – blogging and communicating. We’re strengthening ties and creating a better, larger, writer’s community.

Is it good to see a ‘like’ about your blog?

For me, the answer to that is yes, and no. I can’t see the point in telling somebody new that you ‘like’ an aspect of their blog, unless you qualify it with the reason. If you give a ‘like’, give a comment the first time, even if it’s brief. There is an exception to this theory. Once you’ve established a rapport with the blogger, and actually written a comment or two, an unsupported ‘like’ is still nice to see – it shows you’ve made the time to get over for a look.

Why is it so important?

It leaves a bitter taste to find that somebody has ‘liked’ about four aspects of your blog, and clicked on ‘follow’, simply so that you will go and check out theirs, possibly even deciding to ‘follow’ it. In the last month I’ve had five such attempts at using me to increase ‘followers’. I’ve grown wise to it, and the transgressors have been unceremoniously removed. This blog is still very much a learning process for me.

Is this a rant?

Most definitely not. I did feel though that, now that we’ve reached the halfway point on this rather excellent challenge, it was time to show my colours so to speak.

I refreshed my blog at the beginning of the year, and started from scratch. My previous blogging efforts were going largely unnoticed. I now have 59 followers according to my statistics, but I know it’s not accurate so I’ve got a couple of ‘red herrings’ to find. I’m actually following about 40 blogs, and though it’s hard work at times, I want to see how things look at the end of April.

Don’t worry, we’re nearly there; the point is coming.

My aim is to have a manageable list of blogs, where there is mutual support between myself, those who follow me, and those I follow. If I have 30 ‘followers’ who are actually ‘following’, I will respond in kind. If I have 50 followers, I will work hard to support them.

I’m not expecting that there is a closed group of blogs, like a Facebook group. Good manners and integrity suggests to me that it doesn’t have to be a reciprocal exercise, as long as we are faithful when we hit that ‘follow’ button. If the target blog gets boring, then ‘unfollow’. It can be that we are following 25 blogs, but we have 50 followers. Even an occasional response to comments is good manners.

I know there are some out there with followers in three figures, and I salute you. You are what blogging is all about. My actual writing time is too precious to follow too many blogs. I will however work to support any writer who feels they need an opinion, a tip, or even a listening ear. I am not beyond asking for those things myself. No, sadly I’m not perfect or infallible, but I’m working on both.

What I’m saying in a nutshell is, that those of us that are serious about writing and blogging don’t really need ‘hangers-on’. We do need genuine, like-minded individuals, who can see beyond their own screen, and want to help, and be helped.

Okay. I think I’d better stop writing, or the decent folk among you will stop reading. By the way, there was no intent to injure any blogger, mentally or physically with the contents of this post.

Thank you once again for reading, and where appropriate, following. I’ll see you tomorrow with ‘N

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21 comments on “M … is for Mutual (Support)

  1. My advice would be to never worry about the numbers. Write quality posts and develop relationships with other bloggers and the numbers will come. It is a long but rewarding process.

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  2. You know, I wasn’t actually too bothered if you managed to ‘spin’ a writing connection or not to this topic; I don’t think it would be possible for me to agree more fully with your whole ethos on blogging.

    I know exactly what you mean about, how shall I say, ‘less than sincere’ visits/follows in the hope of a reciprocal ‘follow’. Like yourself, I do try to interact and respond with and to all the blogs I follow, as well as those I also really enjoy irrespective of whether my blog is of interest to them. And for that reason I try to restrict those that I follow to the ones I simply really enjoy, and others that I enjoy a genuine connection with for whatever reason.

    I’m probably never going to be the sort of blogger with thousands of followers, who only has to write a few lines to elicit a huge response – one because I really don’t write that sort of blog or post every word I write, and two, it would take up way too much time away from my regular writing to put in the trolling and networking effort to achieve such numbers.

    As things stand, I’m more than happy with the small numbers of likes and comments (and help/advice) I get as they are for the most part, I believe, offered with some genuine thought and sincerity behind them, just I know when you like/comment on a blog, I know from my own experience it’s a ‘real’ like/comment and therefore the post in question will be worth taking a look at.

    Sorry for rambling on for so long, but this was a topic I do feel very passionate about.

    All the best in the meantime…

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  3. Great points! I’m looking for blogs to read daily that have quality content, but I’ve found it has been very hard to find those blogs. The environment has changed since I first started blogging. Now everyone seems to have an agenda–to host giveaways, sell more of a product, etc. I just want to read people’s thoughts, whether they’re about writing or running errands or the stress of day-to-day life! (I only put my link below on blogs where I’m not sure the sign-in will get people there!)

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    • Hi Stephie. Thank you for dropping by, and for your comment. I was very like you a couple of years ago when I first dipped my toe in the water, regarding blogging. I made a conscious decision to help focus on building my writing ‘platform’, but I was keen to choose a variety of blogs and interests to follow. I wanted to extend my network of contacts and take an interest in many other topics.
      I have to agree with you, that sadly it has now become more of a market place. With regard to writers like myself, who are self-published, it is suggested that we ‘sell’ from our sites so I can see where that is becoming a more prominent issue. A lot of folk now though seem to be advertising with a view to making their blog a money-spinner. That only works of course if the blog has a substantial number of followers, and I personally don’t think that’s what blogging is all about. I’ll be over to take a peek at your thoughts later today.

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  4. This was interesting to read. Of the two types of s media I’ve given a bash in the past month, twitter seems to be a mad free for all. I still have pretty much no idea what I’m supposed to be doing on it. It seems like here is more of a tight ship! I can see it makes sense to get more useful feedback though. I have only known facebook before though and I think it is a numbers frenzy. Its depressing and I have been sucked into it with the music at times. I used to wonder if I would grow old and breath my last breath watching the bands ‘likes’ ticking along..a kind of fb limbo..maybe that mentality transfers for folk.

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  5. Hi Stephen. Thank you for the visit and your views. You may have found my post of interest, but yours was an eye-opener for me. You are obviously a young musician who would benefit from having a variety of social networks at your fingertips – no pun intended.
    I found it interesting to read that you were still finding your feet with these things. It seems that the social e-network scene is second nature to a lot of people.
    I’m 61, and may be considered a bit of a dinosaur, but I’m on Twitter, Facebook and Google +. That is not a boast; I’ll go on to explain. As a writer, self-published or otherwise, it’s suggested that I should build and extend my ‘platform’, so I continue.
    Twitter and Facebook are both topics that are too deep to deal with in detail in this reply, but suffice to say, I’m still not comfortable on either and I’ve had accounts for a couple of years. They are for a particular type of person.
    Not everybody on FB is shallow, but take a good look at the posts sometimes on the personal ‘diary’ type entries.
    I find it sad that anybody would want to tell the world that they are having a bad day, for some trivial reason. We live in a parallel world of opulence and deprivation, but there are those who go on FB because they’ve broken a fingernail …

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  6. I began blogging in January of this year and in the past three or four weeks have begun to establish connections with other bloggers with whom I feel I can have meaningful dialogue. I have had ‘follows’ from people who have never so much as commented, never mind press ‘like’ and I have wondered whether there are those who have some special internet blogging device that randomly chooses blogs to follow, a bit like those unsolicited telephone calls (‘following your recent accident/PPI claim …’ – What accident? What PPI claim?).
    I also began fb in Jan. I have a relatively small number of friends I interact with privately and I enjoy that – especially as my daughter and several friends live abroad. I also have an author page, which has somehow picked up quite a lot of likes. I do try and post something every week, for example a quote from a book I’ve just read etc. I also have my blog linked, so each time I post, it appears there. Quite a few people, who aren’t bloggers, have accessed my posts that way. If anyone wanted to give me any feedback on my fb author page, I’d be really interested to hear your views (link from my blog).
    Twitter? No idea! Google+? On it but again, no idea!
    Tom Benson? One of those supportive bloggers I follow. I hope others know who they are too …

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    • Being ‘followed’ and ‘liked’ by people you never hear from again seems to be quite common. Often if you look at the blog in question you’ll find no end of messages thanking them for their follow and they’ve followed said person in return – I’m not saying all such follows are insincere but it does make you wonder? I liked your analogy with the telephone calls, they annoy me too, so much so that I actually wrote a story that touched on that subject.

      As for social media, I sometimes post to a few writing groups, but I sort of keep my writing separate from my regular FB page – my friends know that I write, and if they want to read my stuff they know where they can find it rather than inundating them with it.
      Twitter I’m still getting to grips with but I do use it quite a lot to promote posts that I like; I don’t have enough followers there for it to make much of a difference but the occasional retweet sometimes helps.
      Google+ is another one I’m still trying to figure out – from what I’ve seen it has elements of both FB and blogging to it, but minus all the inane chatter and ‘what I had for breakfast’ type posts.

      Regards,
      Paul…

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      • Yes, I keep my fb author page and private pages separate. The only people who receive updates on their private fb are those who have decided to follow my public page, so friends don’t have to get annoyed by constant ‘author’ plugs!

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      • Yes, I remember reading your short story recently, about the cold caller, and it really appealed to me. That will have come across in my comment.
        I too have a separate author’s page on FB apart from author’s pages on the two main Amazon sites … com and .co.uk
        Thanks for dropping by again. I’m off on blog patrol in a minute.

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    • You’re doing well Julia and I wouldn’t worry too much about all the social media sites. I actually find Facebook tedious, and though I’ve been on Twitter a while now, the shortened message idea is still lost on me. Google + will see more of me after the A to Z. I’ll write a post about them when things have settled again.
      There are those who will trawl the blogs and make some pleasant comment, but they are doing it out of self-interest, and it’s hard to spot them at the time. I’ll check out your FB page and give you a nod on my findings. Have you considered an author page on Amazon yet? I have one on Amazon.com, and Amazon.co.uk
      I think it’s a good idea and works well for you until you have an author website. A professionally designed author website is something I have being worked on shortly. No doubt I’ll feature it in a post when it’s all up and running, along with my new covers.

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    • Yes, as strange as it seems, they are separate. If you have an author page on both, it means you will have something for those across the pond to look at as they ponder the idea of buying your book. It’s pretty much the same procedure. I’ve just been on to update both of mine.

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  7. I appreciate your goals, and I honestly wish the A to Z would promote the same. I don’t mind following to help a person increase their numbers, since it is a numbers game, but time is limited and the blogs I comment on are much fewer than the number I follow. Writing comes first.

    PS: Your response to a delicious choice – I appreciate – never apologize for your murderous imagination! Although, I was thinking that some peanut oil on the p…. just might be even more delicious!

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    • I like where you’re coming from with the peanut oil. LOL. Yes, I totally agree with you, and I think any writer worth their salt would also agree; that writing comes first.

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  8. Hi Tom,
    I agree with a lot of this. One of my main reasons for getting into blogging is to try to build connections with other writers and to give and receive support, both moral and practical. Like you, I don’t follow blogs that are clearly just there to make money. I’m still trying to get the right balance re how many blogs to follow. I don’t go on wordpress every day (maybe I should) but then feel bad about missing things.

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    • I totally agree mate. There are occasions when a comment isn’t asked for, or even necessary. It is also good to let a fellow blogger know you’ve paid a visit, however brief.

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  9. Reading blogs and commenting is time-consuming, but I like to do it. I find that if I “follow” people in my WordPress Reader, I am able to follow them easier. I also follow people by categories: A to Z, writers, photographers. That helps to organize them for reading.
    I do not like to follow people by email because my email gets too choked up with un-read email.
    I read blogs in batches, many times on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I am interested in the wide variety of perspectives that people share. I do use “like” a lot to show the writer that I appreciate the time and effort it takes to write the blog post. But I do try to comment on blogs that I tend to “like.”
    Many of my posts I consider to be “reference,” so people look them up when they have a grammar questions. Followers? The more the merrier. Maybe a little grammar will wear off on them. Have a great day.

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