Blogging and Writing

Do You Follow Back Bloggers Who Follow You?

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Today, I thought we could talk about what you do when another blogger follows you. Do you follow back automatically, or are you more selective?

I’ve never been one to automatically follow back. A lot of sites that follow me are clearly spammy or not something that interests me at all, but aside from that, I usually go take a peek and see if their content looks like what I’d be interested in reading regularly.

I only follow blogs that I’m genuinely interested in reading. I do all my blog reading in the Reader, and I get pretty easily overwhelmed, so I don’t like to have my feed cluttered with a lot of blogs I’m not reading very often.

Since mental health is my niche, I’ll follow back pretty much any mental health bloggers, although sometimes a new blog will follow me and I won’t notice it in the sea of spammy new follows. With non-mental health blogs, I’ll sometimes wait a bit before making a decision on following back. If people are genuinely engaging with my blog and I’m interested in what they have to say, then I’ll often like to read their blog even if it falls outside of my usual reading preferences. I’m sometimes a little slow on the uptake with this, though; it takes a while for brain cells to connect in my head.

Then there’s the question of like-for-like. Do you ever like blogger’s posts that don’t interest you in the slightest simply because they’ve liked yours?

I’m big on genuineness when it comes for blogging. I like community and mutual engagement; that’s what makes blogging a wonderful thing. But the artificialness of the follow-for-follow and like-for-like game isn’t my thing, and I don’t do it. It does seem to be a popular strategy, though.

So, now it’s over to you. Do you follow back? Or automatically like back? Why or why not?

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140 thoughts on “Do You Follow Back Bloggers Who Follow You?”

  1. It’s an interesting question. I started my mental health blog a few years back and felt a sort of lone journey on this. What I started realizing is that I could gain insight and collaboration with others who might look at a subject from a different view. So I would say I’m leaning towards being less selective, but I’m still new at this!

  2. Same! I check to see if the blog is something I am interested in before I follow back, however there are so many interesting blogs out there and 9 times out of 10, I generally end up loving their site so I follow back!

  3. I will check out their site, but I only follow if it interests me. I do follow most mental health blogs that follow. I like when I actually like posts.

  4. 🙂 I do not follow every blogger that follows me. Like you, I am very selective; I only follow the blogs of bloggers that I am genuinely interested in.

  5. I don’t always follow. I used to be more generous in following, but that was years ago when I was unemployed and had more time. I do periodically look in my followers list and check out new followers and see if they interest me, but I don’t automatically follow back. I’m more likely to follow people with similar interests; less likely to follow those with poor spelling and grammar and those who talk a lot about politics (whatever politics; I just don’t like my reading list filling up with arguments). I feel my time is precious now and I’m trying to read less online, so I’m probably less willing to follow than I used to be.

  6. I don’t automatically follow or like back. But, like you, I always look to see if it’s something I’m interested in.
    I also love the community formed from blogging, and I feel like you can’t really get that genuineness from blindly liking and following everyone that you see.

  7. Similar to you, I will check out bloggers that seem genuine. No I definitely do not follow every like or follow. (Perhaps that’s why my audience is so low haha.) but for me I don’t write for likes or follows. I write because I hope that what I post may resonate with 1 person and make them feel seen.

  8. I don’t automatically follow, but I do try to read. If it’s not at all likeable, I move on. I use reader, too. If someone is hogging that space, I’m likely to unfollow.

  9. I do pretty much as you. I do follow a lot of blogs (obviously have more time than you do). A lot of them I just follow for the photos because they bring color (especially sunshine, nature, and pets) to my day and they are more real than most Instagram photos. I like if I like. I will unfollow if a blogger starts going off on politics, religion, or the like. I don’t mind if it is mentioned for a particular reason but when it is just a rant aimed at anyone and everyone with an opposing opinion, then it is – goodbye!

  10. Nope and Nope. I take the LIKE button seriously (silly me!) – even blogs I follow – if I don’t like a particular post, I don’t hit the button. I don’t follow back people who aren’t real people – if you know what I mean. And now that I know you can delete followers – well, I’m doing that every day – it is SO fun. I do love my delete key!

  11. I’m very selective with which blogs I follow now, mainly due to not having enough spare time to catch up if I followed hundreds of blogs. I made the mistake of following a lot of disability bloggers simply because they were the same niche,.

    1. I used to do that, and found I was reading a whole bunch of mental health blogs that were never interacting with my own, so I decided more streamlining was needed.

  12. Oh lord what a loaded topic! I don’t follow for follow, generally I follow back a follower if they’ve visited several times and comment or if they respond to my comments. If you comment one time only and then I follow/comment on yours and you never visit me again, I see that it was only self-promotion. I genuinely like engaging and making friends so I hate the like for like game. I follow some people that aren’t exactly in my preferred genre if I just like them personally.

  13. No. But also yes.

    If a blogger commeta on me and they’re new I’ll check them out. If I like, I follow back. This happens less than 50% of the time.

    I do respond to their comment every time.

    But like most people, reading blogs can get overwhelming. I will follow for a while but may do a purge after a while, change direction for a time…

    There are consistent blogs which stay with me. I may not read every post but I want them there in my line of vision. (Like yours)

    So yes. And no. 🙃

  14. I think there’s an arc of becoming mature when it comes to blogging – or at least for me. When I was new, I tended to follow everyone that followed me. But then I turned off notification of likes and follows so I don’t necessarily know. I definitely tend towards following people who are good writers and are interesting even if it’s not a content area that I normally seek out.

  15. I absolutely follow back but only after I have checked out their site and see that it could be something I would be interested in. It doesn’t take much to grab my attention. However, if the blog is written in another language, then I simply cannot follow, as I wouldn’t have a clue what the writer was writing about unfortunately.

  16. Good post Ashley!

    I usually take a look at their content and follow back. Sometimes I will follow back and sometimes not. On older blogs I had when I was newer, I used to follow every one back whether I was interested or not, but then I thought, that is kinda not being genuine to them in a sense because you are not gonna read any of their stuff so why follow them.
    There are many that like my posts that are not followers or who regularly visit but are not followers. And that’s OK. And to be honest, nobody has to be a follower to like and read your stuff.

    The thing is if a person is interested in you and what you blog about, generally speaking, then they will follow someone. And even if you remove them, they will notice your absence as it were.

    I think it takes time and exchanges over a period of time to really build up trust with someone.

    If you do not get that, and you only get likes then you really still are not getting to know that person, or connecting in any way, but you are more like a fan.

    Sometimes because of time reasons I cannot read everything, as there are other demands on my time nowadays, but generally if I’m following and I exchange, then that is a good sign with me. Because you have to “want” to exchange. Ya know? And you are good Ashley at making people want to exchange and connect. 🙂

  17. I follow blogs that I am interested in. I would not want someone to follow me out of obligation.

    If someone follows me or comments or likes a post I usually check out their blog posts.

    Sometimes I struggle to write comments as I get a bit anxious and over think what I want to write and how the other person may interpret that.

    1. I sometimes struggle to write comments too, although for different reasons. For me, it’s more that I have a hard time formulating my thoughts into a coherent comment. I find replies easier because they’re more focused.

      1. You have a point about replies being easier and more focused.

        I also find it harder as I work shifts and have no real routine. I’m trying to get better at being more interactive.

    2. I too get anxious and overthink about leaving a comment that is a little long. But people say short comments( like ‘nice picture, great post) are not considered a genuine one!.

      1. I think the problem with “great post” is that there are too many spammy sites that leave comments like that. When I see that kind of comment, I usually look at the URL associated with the person who left the comment to see if it sounds like an actual person or a spammy site.

  18. I don’t follow them back as a general rule. I check them out and only follow them back if I’m interested in them (which I rarely am).

  19. Honestly, I got tired of all that follow for follow and like for like with social media. It seems that my drive to get likes and follows impacted my mental health especially since many on social media rarely paid me any mind. I rarely check social media anymore and I could care less if someone liked my post or followed my page.
    Recently, I turned to blogging because I just enjoy writing on various topics. Most recently, I write about fond memories of my childhood during the holidays. I write for myself and if anyone likes or follows me that’s nice! If not I could care less. If someone follows me sometimes I may follow back. Usually I like to read their content first before I decide. I honestly don’t like very lengthy blogs. Short and sweet is what I prefer and I keep my blogs short as well.

  20. We don’t automatically like or follow people. That sounds very transactional, which is not our vibe.

    We are easily triggered and are highly selective about what we consume. We also don’t appreciate lots of narrative content: this happened and then this happened and then this happened. We are looking to learn or be inspired. We follow only a few people. We read a lot of their stuff but you’re the only one we follow who has a regular posting schedule.

  21. Do you follow back? Or automatically like back? Why or why not?

    I don’t, not automatically. I’m honored (usually) to have someone regard my blog as interesting enough to follow, but have been really too busy to follow back. Same with the like back. If I don’t know a blogger and they “like” a post of mine, that’s lovely and all, but I don’t necessarily run over to their blog and like something. Like you, I tend to find out what the blogger is about, what they blog about, and their interests. If there’s a pet involved the likelihood I will follow them “back” is higher.

    Recently (I think it was you, forgive me if I’m mistaken), you shared something about statistics and how to look at the follower list. I had 954 followers (astonishing), and after culling all the obvious fakes and business followers (whom I’ve never heard one word from usually), I was left with slightly under 450. That means that 504 “bloggers” were using my blog to up their stats (I think that was the reason you gave for someone mass following a lot of people). One dimwit actually used the same profile pic for three different blogs, none of which proved to be real. I never heard from the woman. Into the bin all three went.

    It’s one’s personal choice about all that stuff, the following and the liking. Best way to get followers in my opinion? Write something interesting and then interact with other bloggers.

  22. Ooooh, I admit I have been very lax about this. I used too. But recently, my time is so short, I am a little scared of adding more bloggers and having even more posts appear in my Readers.

  23. I’ve never been one to automatically follow back either. I don’t have all the time in the world and I try to use it wisely (try should be bold 🙂 ).

  24. Definitely a good question. I tend to read and follow blogs that I enjoy reading. As I am typing this is do feel bad as there are some that are following me and the least I can do is return the cutesy. But guess I just believe rather be honest it’s serves no purpose in me just following you I need to actually take that time and effort and read your posts. So I shall still to my initial statement I follow blogs I enjoy reading. Enjoyed this post for sure lol…🌼

  25. Hey Ashley, good content question.

    You and l have discussed this subject before and probably last month as well. I used to follow back ‘thinking that was the norm, that was the community behaviour that was expected of me as a blogger, l now know differently…

    This year has been a real journey and a half for me and l have experimented, watched and observed and trialled different approaches to blogging, bloggers and writing and writers too.

    Even from tomorrow the 15th there are the final changes for the Guy being implemented and whilst they don’t directly address this question, they really do.

    I no longer follow back bloggers in fact l am really critical on all new followings to me. I think if someone follows me then they should interact in some way and don’t simply expect me to interact with them first. Each new follower l check out and no different to you, l will see if their content is something l want to read and more importantly would be happy to read on a weekly basis. I follow very few people these days, l only follow content l want to read and people l like.

    You and l have followed each other since January 2018, you were my second follower, Mercury twin or rather Victor was my first, but the reality is and from memory you both followed me the same day. I read from your blog because l like how you write and what you write about but more importantly, l like you.

    For me that is the only way l will have things these days, l invest time in getting to know people then their blogs. I read weekly from 19 people who l consider my friends and once a month from 16 other people, loose friendship. 35 blogs a month is all l need. So new followers to me have to engage with me in some way before l will enage with them.

    Because life is just way too short to waste time reading content we don’t need to read and follow blogs we don’t need to follow and more so if they don’t even bother to interact.

    New blogs have ten days to interact with me, if they don’t, they’re gone.

    1. I feel like there’s more of the follow/follow back game going on now than when we started blogging, although it’s hard to directly compare. I was always selective about following back, but I’ve gotten much more so. I would rather focus on bloggers I really get to know and become friends with.

  26. What a wonderful question! I am not a like chaser. This is a good thing, I think. I do enjoy reading posts of those who have followed me. I enjoy reading the comments, as well, as have learned and enjoyed much there and then I go look at the commentors page and follow some of them. Then I get to looking at THEIR commentors and enjoy them so get to following some of them. Rinse. Repeat. There are so many different types of folks and blogs to enjoy and ponder. Wonderful question…

  27. I don’t follow or like anyone whose content doesn’t interest me. I don’t want someone to follow me unless they legitimately like my content, and I don’t think the quid-pro-quo-style “networking” is really useful.

    On the other hand, I am always excited if someone follows and I discover that I *do* like their content. Then I’m happy to follow back.

  28. No I do not do the follow for follow. I live in authentic being! Do not do the mental games nor do I care about how many followers I have. I write poetry and share what I deem to be my gift to the world. However, a lot of people don’t care as long as they can boast a certain amount. Me, I have blocked followers who are only doing it in hopes of me following back.
    That is why I value those who leave comments, because there is engagement that can be rich!

    I had to stop myself, because I getting busier and hitting the like button. Then I said, it is not fair, so I slowed down to read it. So, I do not follow, because I want to be true about those I actually follow!

  29. Ashley, you said it perfectly in one of your replies — so many bloggers, so little time. but I do my best to check in, comment, like, etc. The obvious scammers are amusing to me — maybe they’re like robocallers, where it’s merely a numbers game for them? because seems like everyone can spot them a mile away…

  30. I only follow bloggers who I have some level of interest in reading. I’ll follow so I can be notified. If it’s a blog I’m unsure about, I’ll write them down and come a few times.

    I love that you addressed this because sometimes I feel bad about not following others who follow me. This helped me feel better about being selective and not feeling like I’m being rude by not following someone.

  31. I appreciate your thoughts on this. Like you, I don’t automatically follow back, and usually I follow education-related bloggers or readers since that is what I blog about.

  32. Very interesting topic to discuss 🙂.

    I do visit the blogs of those who follow me and then decide whether to follow or not. I do not look for any specific topic or Niche. I read a few posts from them and if I like what they have to share, I follow them 🙂

    I do not do like for like without reading. But most of the time I try to read the post from those who like mine and return likes.

    A lot of topics interest me, and I too read all blogs in the WordPress reader.

  33. Hi good afternoon follow back topic is interesting and I like the way you present you told you only follow those blog those you found interesting which are genuine 😄
    I observe this follow trick some popular people follow me then automatic unfollow me I don’t ask anyone follow I personally not follow single one hehe .
    On serious not follow to ourself rules this will more different.
    Keep post love to read your blog 😊

  34. I can relate to this! It’s so overwhelming following so many blogs you’re not interested in. And oftentimes it makes you miss the posts you genuinely would’ve read otherwise.

  35. I usually check out the bloggers who follow me. Funny though I have had a couple people follow me and I go check out their page but the page is not available. So I tend to be selective but also I have a wide range of interests.

  36. I do not do the like-for-like or follow-for-follow. I recently began seeking out sites to follow and have stumbled upon quite a few great ones. I have also recently begun subscribing to email lists as a way to support the blogger. I figured if they are spammy or uninteresting can easily unsubscribe and will do so without attaching guilt. Same with I follows. I have reached outside the mental health community as of late and into art. That shouldn’t be surprising as my love of art shows. I prefer educational mental health blogs over personal ones because I find the personal ones to be a bit whiny.

  37. I’m with you on authenticity. I want people to like and comment on my blog because they genuinely enjoyed it and found it helpful, not because they want a like back. Same with follows. That said- I just started a new blog and haven’t experienced any spamming on this one yet! My retired blog was another story…

  38. I whole-heartedly agree with your view, in that I always at least check out the person who followed me’s blog, and if it’s something I’m interested in then I’ll give them a follow-back. I personally don’t believe in the automatic follow-for-follow view, as it makes the whole blogging adventure a bit superficial.
    I feel much better if I know the people who follow me have even the slightest genuine interest in my blog

  39. I always check out their site first and read a few posts. And similar to you, I typically follow mental health blogs that follow.

  40. I do check if the we have similar niche which is what i am usually interested in and i follow back otherwise I don’t follow back. I am also a newbie but I realized earlier that there is no point automatically following a blog I am not interested in because I will not engage or read their blog post.

  41. It’s crazy to me that people can authentically build a following without engaging in lots of follow backs, but I agree with the majority here I follow if it’s of interest to me and I can actually engage with content

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