NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Friday, July 3, 2009

Follow v. Subscribe




A question for all you other bloggers out there:

Do you prefer regular readers to subscribe to your blog or to be a Follower? Or do you have no preference?

I have no reason for this question other than pure curiosity. I got to thinking about it when the fabulous Rose City Reader apologized for taking so long to become a Follower. (No apology needed! I'm thrilled to see you no matter how you get here!) I don't think I have a preference, but I have to admit it's really fun to see all those little pictures on the Followers Widget, isn't it? :-) And you can see who they are and visit them back. With Reader subscribers, it's just an anonymous number.

I don't currently Follow any blogs, but I have over 200 in my Google Reader and I really do at least skim nearly every single post. (Perhaps I spend just a little too much time on the computer . . .) But if people really like the Followers concept more, I'd be happy to become a Follower, too!



37 comments:

bermudaonion said...

My blog's on wordpress and as far as I know, you can't have followers there. I'm like you - I subscribe to tons of blogs, but don't follow any.

Diane said...

i follow ( especially newbies to encourage them to continue blogging), but also subscribe to close to 200 :)

Nymeth said...

I subscribe to over 200 blogs, but I don't follow any. I know I can be weird about these things, but there's something about making a list of blogs I am or am not subscribed to public that makes me a tiny bit uncomfortable. I guess in the end it's not that different from blogrolls, and I do have one of those (which I always forget to update), but meh :P

One of the reasons why I don't like publicly following blogs is that if you realize the blog is not for you and unsubscribe, the person will know, and it's a bit like a public rejection. I've had 3-4 bloggers I'm friendly with unfollow my blog, and I can't help but worry I've offended them, or bored them, or whatever. So I'd just rather not be put in the position of making someone else feel that way.

farmlanebooks said...

I don't like following people either - it clogs up my blogger page too much - I like it to be kept simply for the blogs I write on - challenge blogs. I subscribe to lots though and dislike it when people say you can't enter their competition unless you follow them - especially when I've been subscribed and commenting for months.


PS. Nymeth - I didn't realise that they found out when you unfollow them. It's a good job I haven't done that!

Dar said...

I subscribe to lots of blogs in my google reader and follow most of them as well. I don't know, I never really thought about it. If they have a follower's widget, I follow. lol.

Marg said...

I don't follow any blogs either. I already feel plenty of pressure to keep up with the blogs that I have subscribed to feeds for without then seeing some of those same blogs updates in the followers section.

If you could follow across all blog platforms, then maybe I would begin to follow but for the moment I will be sticking with the feed reader.

Amy said...

I had to take the follower widget off of my blog because it was causing problems, and I prefer subscribers to be honest. I have followed a few blogs b/c they didn't have an easy to see RSS button and that was the fastest way for me to be sure they got in my reader.

Lezlie said...

Thanks for you responses, everyone! It's interesting to see various viewpoints on the subject. I hadn't thought about the "unFollowing" dilemma! By the time the Follow option was implemented, I was already pretty invested in GR, so I've always just gone with the subscription out of habit. And that's a good point about blogs not on Blogger not having the Follower option. I forgot about that since I have always subscribed.

Lezlie

Terri B. said...

I like to subscribe to blogs in my reader. That is where I go to actually "follow" various blogs. I've enjoyed seeing a few smiling faces over on my sidebar under followers, but other than making me feel good looking at little pictures of people I don't know that it actually makes any difference to me.

Rebecca Reid said...

I don't even know what "follow" means as I'm not on blogger. I just subscribe in a reader. Or click over after someone leaves a comment.

Jeane said...

I don't see why I would want to follow blogs, when I'm already subscribing to so many. It just seems- redundant to me. And if what farmlanebooks said is true- people won't let you enter their contests unless you're a follower?- then I'm even more put off about it. I guess I just don't see what the benefit is of following.

Lezlie said...

I just realized yesterday that Following puts the blog in my Google Reader, so on my end it's just like subscribing. I'm so quick on the uptake sometimes. LOL! It looks like the only real difference is the cool little photos and the ability to know exactly who is Following, which someone also pointed out might make people a little nervous.

This has been very interesting. I hadn't paid any real attention to it before. I'm glad you're all sharing your thoughts!

Lezlie

Iliana said...

I don't "follow" blogs either but I subscribe to a bunch over bloglines. I can't do it via my blog anyway as I use wordpress but even if I could I don't think I'd take advantage of that feature. I would feel like it's just one more thing to keep track of and already it's crazy staying updated with all the blogs I read :)

Teddy Rose said...

Either is fine with me. I do agree that it is fun to see all the little photos of followers.

All the blogs I follow are also in my reader, but I also have quite a few that I don't follow but have in my reader.

wisteria said...

I don't really have a preference. I know a lot of my blogger friends follow me through their readers. I have only about 50 followers on my Google images widget, but that doesn't bother me. I know I have many followers, some who never say anything...and that's ok too.
Great question Leslie.

Trish said...

I wish I could read all of these comments, but from skimming through it seems I'm with most of the bunch. I follow 2 blogs, my sister's and my college roommate, but only because they are private and don't update in my Google Reader. As far as I know they don't update in the followers thing either, but it's mostly a reminder to me.

I don't follow for the same reason Nymeth doesn't--don't like having a list out there. What I find *really* curious is that probably 75% of my followers have never left a comment on my blog. I don't know who they are or why they're even interested in following me if they aren't going to interact, but hey--whatever.

And someone told me a few days ago that when you follow a blog it automatically goes into your feedreader. So you're then a follower and subscriber. Who knows. :P

Lezlie said...

There are a lot of lurkers out there! And I'm good with that, too. I don't always comment either, but it certainly doesn't mean I don't enjoy the material the blogger is providing. Either way, it's nice to know someone is listening. :-)

Lezlie

Terri B. said...

Ha! Talk about "slow on the uptake" ... I just noticed (after you mentioned it) that my Google Reader is tracking the blogs I follow (and is quite full). I use Bloglines and never look at Google Reader. Well, now I know!

Lezlie said...

Terri ~ Is Bloglines the same kind of thing as Google Reader? I've never taken a look at that service.

Lezlie

Cathy said...

Personally I think it's a case of "six of one, half dozen of another". Subscribing and following are basically the same thing. When I was a brand-new blogger and started looking around for tips from the pros, one tip that popped up over and over was that, as a blogger, you should make it as simple as possible for people to subscribe to your blog feed, and these subscribe features should be placed at the top of your blog where they're easily seen. So...I put "subscribe to feed" and "subscribe by email" up there and called it a day. Then I was reading a post by a writer on her blog where she stated that she loved the "follow" feature because it was so easy. You know what happened: I put the "follow" feature up there, too.

Later on on Twitter, a few bloggers said that they didn't think you should put "follow" up there, especailly if you had a low number of followers. I didn't pay any attention to them. (My selective hearing works quite well when I want it to.) Those subscribe features aren't up at the top of my blog to claim any sort of bragging rights. Compared to many bloggers I know, I have relatively few followers. That's not a complaint because I cherish each and every one of them! Those features are up there for one reason only: to make it as easy as possible for people to subscribe to my blog. :)

Lezlie said...

Cathy ~ After listening to everyone's comments, I agree with you -- six of one, half a dozen of the other. It's all about what's convenient for the person who's interested in reading what we have to say. As you can see, I don't have the hundreds of Followers that some blogs do, but I'm writing about what I love and like you I cherish each Follower and subscriber that I do have!

Lezlie

Serena said...

I really do love the followers widget because I like to see the faces or icons that pop up and check out my new readers.

But I love subscribers and commenters too. So whichever way you read my blog, if you do, I don't care! :)

Love your blog!

Lezlie said...

Serena ~ Thanks! I do subscribe to your blog, and I read every post. Truly! You have such different things on there that I don't see anywhere else. Very fun!

Lezlie

Nan said...

I've actually had a blog entry about this in my head for a while. I don't subscribe and I don't follow and I don't list followers. In fact, I don't even know who they are. I have my sidebar list of blogs, and then I have a browser bookmark called 'new visits.' Those sometimes get added to the sidebar, and other times get deleted if I never visit again. I'm uncomfortable with the whole followers thing. It's like friends on myspace or facebook. I just love comments, period. Or I love emails from people who don't have a blog or don't want to comment. I'm a quiet, content little blogger. :<)

Lezlie said...

Nan ~ Your way sounds very sane and serene. It's a good way to be!

Lezlie

Jemima said...

Interesting ... Is there anyway to know how many people subscribe to your blog. I have a follow button as well and it is disheartening sometimes because there are so few followers. But how do I know if anyone is reading some other way? I don't mind not knowing who they are, just how many their are in general.

Lezlie said...

Hi, Jemima! I subscribe to my own blog on Google Reader, then when I click on my blog in the right hand column, I can check how many subscribe by then clicking on "show details" in the upper right corner of the main screen. I believe that only shows how many other people subscribe via Google Reader though. I'm not sure now to check how many subscribers we have in general. Maybe someone out there can answer that question for both of us! :-)

Lezlie

Jemima said...

Oh cool! Thanks for the help with my question. I have done what you suggested and it worked perfectly.

Lezlie said...

Jemima ~ Excellent! I'm glad I could help!

Lezlie

Amy said...

Yes!! If you sign up for feedburner and burn your feed through them, it will tell you not only how many subscribers you have, but how they subscribe, as well as make it possible for your readers to subscribe via e-mail. It's all pretty simple and user friendly. :)

Lezlie said...

Amy ~ Thank you!! If you do that, does it have any effect on the subscribers you already have?

Lezlie

Monique said...

I use to follow blogs but then I found out about google readers. Now I subscribe to a lot of blogs. I prefer subscribing via google over bloggers followers.

That being said I like having followers. It is interesting to see when people join and it is nice to get a least an idea of how many people look at the blog.

Lezlie said...

Monique ~ They both have their pros and cons, that's for sure. I agree with you also in that I prefer to read via subscribing, but seeing the followers is so much fun!

Lezlie

Rose City Reader said...

Oops! I inspired a post and then missed it. I'll blame the holiday weekend. :)

I always thought following and subscribing were the same thing because they all ended up in the google reader. I'm just thrilled if someone signs up one way or the other.

But I will say, in response to your later question Leslie, that, YES, if you switch to feedburner, you will zap out all your subscriptions. At least, that is what happened when I set it up. I probably did something wrong.

And because I didn't know who had subscribed before, I didn't know how to get them back. I have very few subscribers now -- probably because my earlier subscribers figure my blog is gone, now that they don't get any posts. ARGH!

Rebecca Reid said...

Rose City Reader, wordpress.org has a great plugin (called something like feedsmith) that redirects feeds to feedburner. I imagine blogger has something similar, but I guess I don't know because I've never used blogger. That's really too bad that you lost people because of it!

Amy said...

Actually I was just going to add that you can redirect your feed through blogger so you don't lose subscribers!

Lezlie said...

Rose City Reader ~ Life gets busy, doesn't it? I just figured not everyone is chained to the computer the way I am. :-) Your switching experience sounds scary! I'm not much of a techno-geek, so I'll probably just leave things as they are and fantasize that I have thousands of subscribers hanging on my every post. LOL!

Rebecca & Amy ~ Thanks for the info. There is still so much to learn about the tools we're all using!

Lezlie