|From In the Garden|
Hi all! This was not the original post I was going to publish today, but after the problems with the following widget on Blogger, I decided the time was right for a post on the "follower" widget.
I understand the widget is an additional avenue for others to subscribe to ones' blog. I appreciate it very much, but have always felt a tiny bit uncomfortable with the term 'follower' or 'followers' and I have felt a bit of pressure about the widget too. Let me explain.
Followers-who came up with that term anyway? The word follower is defined in my Webster's New Thesaurus as "one who attaches himself to another". Okay, fair enough, the widget kind of allows this to happen when one follows a blog, but is it really the best term for the widget? Why not 'Fans' or 'Subscribers' or 'Readers' or anything but FOLLOWERS! All I can think when I hear the term 'followers' is Jim Jones and his 'followers' who ended their lives in a very bad way. Okay, so right off we are not off to a good start last summer when the widget appeared and I had my first 'fan'. Yes, I'm changing the term follower to fan right here and now for this post.
That first fan was Linda of Remote Tree Changer in Australia. I was SO flattered and honored she and all the other fans chose to subscribe to this blog. The widget slowly grew after she started subscribing to this blog and I was amazed. Several more fans added their name in and I was in shock-still am! This all happened last summer while I was on vacation in Maine. I had no idea what was happening but let it happen. Then one day I realized I might want to post this widget on my blog so that the fans of In the Garden blog could be seen by other fans of In the Garden. I think this consequence of the 'fan' widget is supposed to be an offshoot of the 'follower' widget. To let others see and connect with one another. And that is a GOOD thing. No question about it that blogging is a social network system we all use, so the widget was an extra outlet if you will. More avenues to find other folks with like interests. Super! So I posted the widget.
More and more fans subscribed until some of the fans began dropping off from the widget as displayed on the blog. It seems that once you reach a certain number of fans then only the last 18 fans are displayed on your blog. Oh dear says I in a panic! I am writing to my good blogging friend in Virginia for help. Cosmo, "How do I fix the following widget so all the 'fans' can be seen??!!" She tried hard to help but neither one of us could figure it out, so I sighed and left it as is. I was sorry that the earliest fans were no longer visible. Yes, you can still click on the 'Show all' button and see everyone, but how often will you do that?
After a while I began noticing most all bloggers had posted their 'fan' widget on their blog. I thought it a good thing. Then I began counting the numbers we all had and comparing my widget with others, I did not think that was a good thing:( I felt like the follower widget had become a popularity contest and a status symbol, and I thought this was not what I wanted. I mentioned it to Skeeter. I was in awe that folks wanted to subscribe to this blog and that there were several and was amazed, and truly felt honored by all the fans, but I also felt a bit of pressure to keep up the pace and maintain a status so that fans would continue to like and subscribe to this blog.
So then I ranted to Skeeter a bit more about how I owed all the fans good stuff and what if they were not happy with the stuff we posted and oh my, I wrung my hands in fear they would drop me or not read as much. I tried very hard to either blogroll, or fave or at least visit all the fans of the blog-daily. The pressure was building. And still fans came and I was still awed and in shock!
Skeeter, in her own unique way, put it all in perspective for me. I will not steal her thunder because on a special day for her, she will post her own views on blogging. We know all bloggers are individuals and we all have our own ways of doing things, but friends keep us grounded and this is what Skeeter has done for me and my dealings with the blog. However, I make all the decisions and try to do what is best for all concerned, including me. So what to do with the 'fan' widget and the pressure to please all and showcase this status symbol? A double whammy not in the favor of displaying the widget in my book. Add in the fact that not ALL fans are displayed, the widget slows loading of the blog (my belief), and it is not looking good for our 'fan' widget to find a prime spot on the blog.
Okay, now throw in the situation that Blogger is working some issues with the 'fan' widget and comment verification and all the other techy stuff they do, and there are major issues with the fan widget. All of sudden many 'fans' drop off the widget and it is obviously noticeable, not only to me but also to the ones who lost their following widget and had to resubmit. More wringing of my hands on my part-hey, I'm only human.
So finally, I have fixed the situation for me and all fans of this blog and any ordinary readers who just happen by for a quick sec; I have decided not to display the widget. I want to tell all the 'fans' I am sorry if this disappoints you, but you can still subscribe no problem, you just won't be seen on the following widget on the front of this blog. Anyone who wishes to stop subscribing, I totally understand. This takes pressure off from me and I hope off from others for any reason whatsoever-hey we're all human and I do think the widget can cause pressures for everyone. This decision works best for me and I already feel less pressure! Did you even notice the widget was gone?
I have to thank the Blogger issues for giving me the impetus to remove the widget-finally. I do hope you all understand and I appreciate all the support from readers of this blog, whether you subscribe or not, whether you comment or not, it doesn't matter, you read!
in the garden....