Thursday, February 26, 2009

The 'Follower' Widget and a Decision

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....


  1. THANK YOU! I started getting questions in my comments like, "Why aren't you following anyone and Why isn't anyone following you? This is the only reason I added it. I may remove mine as well. It is waaaay too much pressure for me too. I'm not trying to win a popularity contest, or friend shopping,( I like friends though)and I don't like Kool-Aid!! (Jim Jones)

  2. You do what you have to do for you. I don't think blogging is meant to be pressure unless of course, your getting paid "big" bucks to do it.

  3. Good morning Tina, I was surprised this morning (actually late last night) to see how they had changed the follower widget to include a sign in and a friend connect. I thought maybe something different had been added, not my widget. I do not have any ad stuff on my blog... don't want it. Now this looks like part of an ad for Google. Not pleased. Haven't come to the conclusion you did about removing it. Will mull it over for a few days.

  4. It seems to have disappeared so I'll try again.

    Well said Tina! I don't like the new 'follow' either and if it does get better I'll consider to do the same as you.
    It is great to have a lot of readers and friends but even more nice to have readers that comment a lot like you do my fiend.
    I was so unhappy last week when 9 disappeared over night...I thought what have I done/said. and now I know it was just a technical problem but still a lost them and doesn't feel good, it's a pressure.

    xoxo Your Fan Tyra

  5. Darla, Well said! Exactly what I thought too. Friends are always good:)

    Dawn, Absolutely-No pressure needed here, not one penny from the blog. So, since I put the pressure on me-I took it away. Yeah!

    Janet, I haven't seen the new changes since I took the widget off yesterday. I will check it out on other blogs-of course:)

    Tyra, Your comment was the first I read and such a nice comment to wake up to. Wasn't sure how this post would go over, but had to be honest-is there anything else? and made the right decision for here. I am so glad you understand! I feel exactly the same way! Your fan too:)

  6. Tina, to do honest, I don't pay much attention to those widgets. I need all the extra time I have to read the blogs. I do like the list of favorites--that is so helpful, but that follower widget is one I can live without. :)
    Have a great day!!

  7. Wise words, Tina. I haven't ever posted that widget, although I do have a great long list of blogs I read running along the left side of my blog. (and that doesn't show all the blogs I read either. It's gotta be something wrong I'm doing. I read these blogs because I enjoy them. I hope people read mine because they enjoy IT, but I'm not in competition with anyone. I figure we're all in this together, and have made some amazing friends across the miles because of blogging. That's reward enough for me....

  8. Well, the main reason I used the Follow widget was to get updates on new posts, but later found that the blog list or blogroll does the same job and does it better. I prefer the blogroll, which is more easier.

  9. Tina, thank you so much for saying what I have been thinking for some time! I enjoy READING blogs, and writing a few posts a week and all the social interaction of the blogging world. But in order to do this, I don't want to waste time on technical issues.

    I ignored the whole "follower" widget until a few weeks ago. I had some followers showing up on my dashboard, and I thought I probably should "follow" them in return. So I finally got around to adding my own list of blogs I followed--and I'm still not done. Then I thought about putting the widget on my blog, but noticed I didn't have as many followers as some a few disappeared the other day. What did I do? Did I offend them?? Now I know it's happening to everyone.

    Anyway, I like the blogroll on my sidebar because it shows me when someone has posted something new...the follower widget just seems redundant and encourages competition, as you say. I think I'll stick with the blogroll.

    Sorry for writing a "book" here, but I also left a comment on yesterday's post about the problems with commenting.

  10. Hi Tina--I am glad to know that there is a technical reason for the followers getting dropped from my widget (and for me getting dropped from other I follow). I had noticed but was too busy to check it out...

    Anyway, I agree with everything you said, and yet I do think the widget has been useful for connecting me to others and their blogs. Without it, I'm not sure I'd even be aware of who is following the blog, but when the little picture shows up on the widget, I click on it. I've found a lot of nice blogs that way...

  11. I follow only to get the updates on the Blogger dashboard. It's pretty easy to see who has a new post up and when. It doesn't matter to me if it's displayed or not but having the widget does make it easier to follow someone else since all you have to do is click.

  12. Hi Tina, Your post is wisely written and your candor is greatly appreciated. Like others....I have a long list of blogs I love to read and not all are listed on my blogroll. (I have a wonderful add-on bookmark program from my browser that lists all the unread posts from blogs I've bookmarked.....I recommend it highly if you use Firefox.) Blogging is a joy and interacting with other bloggers is a delight! I've met the best people and made very good friends. Thank you Tina for speaking your mind and doing it so well.


  13. Hi Tina, I hadn't noticed yours was gone and I hadn't even noticed mine had changed. This tech stuff is getting out of control.

    When people started becoming followers of my blog , I didn't pay much attention. IMHO, this is something that 'readers' do, they make the choice and I have limited control. Of course, I do hope they enjoy what they read! My enjoyment has always come from the readers that stop by and leave a comment. That personal touch is very important to me. However, I do understand some folks don't have time for comments and perhaps are too polite to say "Marnie, your blog is full of beans;)"

    Last week I was in a frenzy about 'feeds'. I wish I had time to research this stuff. Does anybody use feeds? Is this important? Oh, Tina, the pressure;) It's kind of killing the pleasure.

  14. I did notice the followers widget was gone from your blog before you even mentioned it. I'm a detail kind of person though I'm sure many ignore most info but what's on the main post.

    I had the very same struggles with the term follower. I mean in my mind being a follower is believing the same things as the leader, but I too added the widget. I mean, everyone was doing it.... I don't like the fact that they're trying to pedal their friend connect on my blog either. I mean shouldn't that be an optional add on?

  15. Linda, You are like Skeeter-she never pays attention to that stuff either. A good way to blog.

    Jodi, I noticed you didn't post your widget and many other bloggers haven't either. Now I join you!

    Chandramouli, Yes, I LOVE my blogroll, but it surely needs to be updated a bit. Blotanical is also another blogroll and this is what I use Blotanical for. All these neat functions. I like your avatar picture. Nice to see the person behind the words.

    Rose, Yup, if nothing else you know me, I tend to speak my mind-out loud. I have learned thru blogging that others usually feel the same way as me on some issues, not all for sure, but it helps to know you have company with your thoughts. Does that make sense? You can write a book anytime on here. I feel exactly the same way and I am glad to know others think the same too. I can breathe a bit easier now too. Comments and talking is fun, reading too, but not the status thing. I love my blogroll too! That is another bear but I do like it very much.

    Sue, Yes, I agree. I like that you can see others and link to them. This for sure must've been an intention of the gadget, but when not all folks are shown and it has issues, well it has issues and I need to go another route on here. It is great to find other folks for sure.

    Dave, Yes, I agree, it makes it easier to find others. Just like the following thing on Twitter. You can link all day to others. But I will have to do it another way. Comments are always great to find other folks-plus you get to know others too.

    Gail, I use Firefox and may bring up that bookmark. I fear it will be another gadget though and struggle to keep up with the blogroll and Blotanical already. How do you do it? It is difficult.

    Marnie, Yes! Pressure we sometimes put on ourselves and blogging should not be full of pressure. The widgets, feeds, getting around, it can take a toll. I found I have to prioritize and keep it simple-plus Skeeter reels me back in at times when she gives me a talk. I am not sure about the feeds. I use the default. I did use Feedburner then the Blotanical issues so Stuart said switch back. I am breathlessly awaiting to see if my feed drops from Blotanical with the change the end of this month. Feeds for Blotanical I think are important. Subscribers can generally subscribe pretty easily so there must be feeds built in. I hope you got it worked out.

    Cinj, You are very observant then! I was wondering if anyone would notice. I am glad I removed it. Can't wait to see the outcome of your naming widget for the follower widget. It will be interesting.

    Hey all, heading to the garden.....

  16. Tina, you have such a way with words! Well done my friend! Just be true to who you are and that is about all I can say.

    No popularity contest at all for me, just plan ole enjoyment from chit chatting with people of similar interest. To tell you the truth, I don’t pay much attention to any thing but blog header pictures and topics of the day. I don’t have time to scan all the info that can be crammed along the borders. I am there for the Post of the day and that’s about it…

  17. how wonderful it is !!!
    and the sun is shining, I see, here it s only raining....
    Kathrin aus Bremen

  18. Ahh, Tina? You know how I feel about pressure through blogging issues!
    Don't like the pressure.
    Don't like 'status' stuff.
    Don't like missing someone who left a feel I need to reciprocate.
    Don't like the 'faves' button on blotanical-(yeah, I'm not afraid to say that).
    To me, the 'faves' on blotanical is the equivalent of the followers button on google.
    Not everyone will agree with this, but it's how I feel.
    I follow people for many reasons:
    1. so I don't forget who they are
    2. to remind me to visit them
    3. to decide over time if I want to keep visiting
    4. (others exist but can't think of them at the moment)

    The Google followers list is somewhat problematic, if you or anyone else looks at it like the person is trying to 'show or bragg' about how many people follow them...for me, honestly, it gives me a good idea who might want to read my blog or just visit. I often follow them back, as well. Sometimes, people I've chosen to follow decide to follow me back too.
    That's just a great way to keep track of everyone...
    BUT it can be done through the google reader without having to have that little gadget w/faces all over your blog.
    My FAVORITE way to keep tabs is through the Google Reader. It's updated continuously.
    The Blotanical feed works well, too, but that has frankly added extra stress to me because I feel terribly guilty when I take a day or 2 and don't read anything. People pick what I write, but then I don't even pick theirs. That causes guilt. And it's not because I don't like what I read, it's because I'm not focusing my energy on blotanical that day, or couple of days, whatever.
    In reality, I like Blotanical as a way to 'meet' people and/or To find others w/similar interests and/or To watch or read about someone who's interests are totally different, but intriguing to me, just the same.
    For me, the popularity index at Blotanical is cliquish and I don't like it. Somehow I have received a lot of 'faves' and in many ways it's flattering, but it's also stressful, because I feel I don't want to disappoint anyone. And I cannot Fave everyone back because I have a limited number of faves! I don't like that part.
    That's why w/google reader I can have as many as I like--don't have to play favorites--and am not looking like I'm one of the 'top' blotanical members. I really and truly don't like that about Blotanical...and I'm not saying that people's faves of me aren't's just that, I really don't like operating the way we did in middle school and/or high school. Read Garden Chic's recent post. She asked a similar question.
    As to the widget on my blog, I'll think it over. I don't like the fact that the photos are larger--I liked them small. And I lost followers the other day too. I just thought they were no longer interested and that was that.

    Sorry for this epistle. It's longer than most posts!!

  19. Well, I doubt I would even have figured out how to display it. So perhaps I am lucky. I am not as tech-minded as many of my blogging friends!

  20. Since I am only a reader of blogs and do not even really understand all the tech stuff, I have, for the most part stopped reading anything on blogs except for the post and the comments. However if I do read anything else, and that is only every now and then, it will be the list that says what someone has posted on and how long ago, just to see if there is something I want to read about. I do love this world of blogs because of what I read and learn but would never want to do it myself. Too much work and pressure. I only want to do it on my easy, laid back time and do not know how you good people do what you do. I can see where it has elvolved into a big pressure game for all and good for you for getting rid of some of the pressure!!!

  21. Good morning Tina, I don't even notice it, and didn't notice it was gone. Like Brenda, I'm not very tech-minded either.

    I can see positive and negative aspects to the gadget too, but I've never chosen to display it. You've made some good points, and it's very understandable why you decided to remove the follower gadget.

  22. Hi Tina, has anyone mentioned that this whole business is for blogger users only, not wordpress or the others? We just don't have that option so I have no opinion about other that the vile word verification thingie. I loved reading your reasoning and good ole Skeeter always has sound advice. You are lucky to have her and she you! :-)

  23. Just dashed in for a quick sec.

    Skeeter, Yup, I know you and the blog pretty well.

    Kathrin, Hang in there-the sonne will come!

    Jan, Ditto! Ditto! and Ditto! Yes, everything you said is a problem. But I must say in defense of Blotanical, that once you look past the fave thing and ranking thing, it IS a wonderful consolidated way to meet other bloggers and is not so visible as the widget. Many really great bloggers who while they are registered at Blotanical, don't even utilize Blotanical so it is not so in your face and not such a big popular thing. You have to remember the ranking is only as good as Blotanical and the bloggers who use it, it is not indicative of a blog's worth. Each person has to determine for themself why they read a blog and what it is worth to them, without gadgets, readers, and third party avenues. A good thing, and really the only way to blog. Everyone who blogs TOTALLY has to understand this and I don't know of anyone who gets hung up on it, too much pressure really. You are faved because everyone likes your blog and you! You are read for the same reason, a good thing methinks:)

    Brenda, You are in a big group of bloggers who feel the same way with the tech stuff.

    Mom, You are just like Brenda and Skeeter and Linda and everyone else, you focus on the content. A good thing I think.

    Linda, Yup, I noticed many bloggers have not displayed the widget, while it is SO NOT bad to display it though, each blogger has to make a decision on their own. I guess this post is a 'rethink' my decision.

    Frances, No, no mention of Wordpress, however, so many bloggers are on Blogger that it is a common issue for us, as you can see. Fortunately Blogger allows us a choice or I would be switching! Ha! Hope that never happens I am not so tech smart as to save this blog and really need to do so because it is a lot of work and my heart and soul in it for all this time. You did great when you switched all of your work, I was amazed. Yes, Skeeter is pretty much an uninterested party, yet a good blogger who keeps my grounded so I occasionally talk with her. It had been a while though with the follower thing bringing up blogging issues this most recent time. You know how you need someone who understands it all? A good thing for all of us and I think I know who your good blogging helper is, a special friend for me too.

  24. Tina,

    Blogger doesn't like my safari program ~~ I can't copy and paste in compose while writing a for ease of use I use FF. Once you download Bookmarks...all you have to do is visit a blog, click on the RSS feed icon in the http window, a drop down menu will direct you from there... I always click...bookmark menu and it shows up in a column on the left side of my home page...When I then click on the blo a list of their posts shows up! Very easy....and vasluable real estate on my blog can be used for photos etc.

    Hope this helps!


  25. I love the ability to "follow" on Blogger for the updates on the Dashboard. What I hate is the popularity aspect. I decided right from the start that I would not post the widget. Secondly, I always follow anonymously (except for one particular instance (the new GardenBloggers blog) where I was specifically asked to publicly follow).

  26. Hi Tina, When I started getting followers I was thrilled that anyone would even consider liking what I posted. I still am but as you know from my post the other day with apologies to those I may have missed it does get very confusing and you do feel like there is pressure. I was just getting beside myself with stress (but this included Blotanical too which is overwhelming in itself) until all of you came and told me to slow down and work at my own pace. That's what I'm doing now.
    I think if what you're doing feels right then it is right for you. Thank all of you for your input it sure helped me.

  27. Gail, I'll check it out, anything to organize me more is good! Need more time as it is gardening season!

    MMD, You are one smart lady. I wish I hadn't posted mine in the beginning. But it is all okay. Never thought of following anonymously. Good idea.

    Linda, Yup, you sound like me. When you start blogging it is like a big big addiction and you love it so much, but find some stressors. As time wears on you learn how to deal with them all but the key is keeping it all in perspective. It is not a job, we do it to have fun, and if we miss a day or two or three or miss someone's blog, they'll still be there when we can catch up. No hurry. Or even maybe not catch up but fall in at attention whereever the blog is. I like that better-just fall in.

  28. I am glad that everything was fixed and that Now the "Followers" were fixed.

  29. Wow, Tina! This post elicited a host of heated comments. You really warmed things up in Blogland. This follower widget thing has me a bit concerned. Lately, I've noticed people appearing, disappearing, and reappearing as though they were drifters and wondered what was going on. It has been handy to keep track of the latest posts on the dashboard and for people to see who and what interest me when they visit my profile page. Still, I'm not happy that Blogger alters the widget at its own discretion, not mine!

  30. I noticed the Blogger screw up in following too... I didn't show up as following a few blogs I was in fact following, and a few of the people who were following me no longer show up in my panels. Because I don't use Blotanical much (it's yet ANOTHER interface for me to keep up with), I like to have a list of people I follow in Blogger, so I know when they've updated their posts. I'm happy and grateful when people follow me, but I don't let it pressure me into posting more often than I feel like. I really think of it as a way to keep up with others, not as pressure to produce a top 10 single every time! :)

  31. Hello - No, I didn't notice it was gone. I only use it right at the beginnnig, to add a blog to the list I follow. I'm happy with the term because to me it feels like following a column in a paper or whatever. I find it slightly hasslesome if it's not there when I want to add a new blog I've found, but only a little - I know I can add them in manually. I very rarely look at who else is following to be honest. I do look at who is following my own, but I'm aware that there are other ways to read regularly too.

  32. I've mostly found it helpful so that I can see the latest posts in my dashboard. I start getting confused with where I've been and when I was there last. I've also found some great blogs from people that added themselves to my follower widget. I keep trying to figure out a better name for it, I've seen some clever titles on some blogs.
    I guess overall I'm neutral on it. Not sure I understand how the new one works or why it was changed.

  33. Sounds like you came to the right decision for you Tina. Since I'm not familiar with Blogger, (other than commenting) I don't know the in's and out's of it. The word "follower" has stalker connotations to me so I can see why it bothered you as well.

  34. I don't know if I ever 'followed' a blog...
    I do have a blogger-account, as I first started my blog as a blogger-blog, but I changed to other software because I wanted to have the freedom of hosting my blog on my own server.

    I can imagine that people like to be displayed as 'followers' of a certain blog, but I never worried about 'followers', and I found those fan-wedgets rather distrackting, not adding real 'value' to a blog (when I want to find new blogs, I will click on the names of interesting commentors, or search the blogrolls of bloggers I appreciate, but I won't use links in such fan-widgets to find new stuff.

  35. Tina,

    I think all bloggers go through these social media conundrums.

    I am not a competitive person. I don't really care about being PUBLICLY ranked, Faved, Picked, Followed -- but, I do like for my blog to be enjoyable and helpful. That's why I write, after all. So, if that's how we get feedback, okay.

    Followers: I used the "followers" for a few weeks, then removed it from my blog as I wasn't comfortable with the term either.

    Badges: My enrollment "badges" are now at the very bottom of my blog where I just keep the dust bunnies out of the way. I like to have information about my blog, but I really don't like badges. The counters insist on putting the badges on the blog.

    Blogrolls: I really like to give bloggers some "link love" by listing them on my blog so they may get a bit of traffic from my blog -- and, so that I can see who has a new story posted. However, I have run into so many technical problems with my blogrolls that I have had to divide them up into three sections. I think it must be the template that I use that is causing the problem. When my blogroll gets too long, some blogs randomly disappear from the list. When I hit that maximum, I have to remove someone's blog. I decide that by whether or not they post at least once a month -- or by whether or not they ever leave comments on my blog. Something has to give and that's the only thing I can figure out about handling the maximum number.

    Picks on Blotanical -- I find myself picking every blog that I read. It's sort of like a way to say "I read your blog" without always leaving a comment. I don't care about any perceived competition, so I treat all blogs on my Fave list equally by using Pick for everyone that I read that day. I don't always read all Faves everyday due to having other things in my life to do! LOL In fact, I go straight to "My Faved Blogs" under Picks and never even look at who has gotten the most Picks. Now, I do my best to thank people who Pick my blog story, but don't always have enough time for that either.

    I think blogging can easily consume your time and your life. I've dropped back to posting every 2-3 days now instead of everyday.

    I just can't keep up the pace -- and -- exercise, pay attention to my husband, my dog and my garden -- or keep up with my non-blog, paid writing (which is mostly writing travel itineraries for tourism, not gardening per se).

    With our retirement fund in the tank, my paid writing is now taking a priority out of necessity. It's a bad time to take money out of our retirement accounts, so the paid writing has become very important.

    I love the interaction with all my blogging friends and I sincerely feel like you and many of the other gardening bloggers are friends.

    Thanks for brining this up! Sorry to write a blog post in your comments! LOL


  36. I never figured out what this followers thing is. I have notice some people follow my blog but I have never reciprocated. I have a hard enough time keeping up with postings and reading my blogroll. Dropping the widget is probably a good thing, it will give you more gardening time and then more gardening to blog about!

  37. A wacky blog I occasionally read - We're All Mad Here - titles her followers section Stalk Me. Love it!

    Tina, I did not really understand how the followers thing worked (don't think they have this on typepad) so this was interesting. Like Jan, I usually visit blogs out of Google Reader which is wonderful, but occasionally like this evening from the picks section in blotanical.

    Won't add to the "stress of blogging" subtext that many comments have, as I recently posted on this, but it feel more like an obligation and less like a pleasure at times.

  38. Thank you so much for a very thoughtful post.
    It's obvious from the comments that you've communicated meaningfully with other bloggers. It a good thing to have generated such a lively dialogue.

  39. Hi Tina,
    I left you a looong comment this morning but I guess Blogger didn't like it as it didn't post.
    Anyway, My reason for reading a blog is to try & learn about gardening. That is what drew me to your blog to start with. I've followed you from before & have learned quite a bit. Your are always ready to help answer my questions.
    I'm not tech savvy so I don't know about all this other stuff. I thought blogging was to be able to "talk" with other gardeners to learn. So for me, I think it should be for learning & for enjoyment.

  40. I enjoy your honesty with this post.
    As a wordpres user I have totally ignored the "follower" thing on every blog I have visited. I use other people's blog roll to find new (to me) blogs. Or if I read a good comment then I will visit the commentators blog.

    Just remember - you probably have many followers who don't declare themselves on a widget.

  41. Zach, Thanks!

    W2W, yes certainly a hot button issue for many. For me for sure. Still all positive interest; which is wonderful.

    Monica, Yes it has been acting funny! Now we know-technical issues. Boy, wouldn't it have been nice to tell us up front?

    Emily, A good way to use the follower gadget for sure. It does have its purposes.

    Catherine, I think Google wanted it to be more of a money maker? And more use with hits?

    Kathleen,Wordpress is quite different I am guessing. Yes, that follower term should go!

    Anne, You are very talented to host your own blog account. I think your blog wonderful too. When I first started blogging there was a lot of talk on platforms and I think the person writing about it said those of us that blog on Blogger blog in the slums? I thought it funny. The best was of course to host your own site as you do.

    Cameron, You can write all you want anytime. All comments and opinions welcomed. This is how we talk and interact. I have gotten to know you thru your blog and talking with you and I too consider you a friend and would love to meet you someday.

    Dan, Well said! Too much to keep up with for sure.

    Susan, Yup! Some folks see it as that too. Your friends has a great sense of humor and I know no one is offended by that at all.

    Alice, Yes, seems to have touched a nerve with a few. I am glad to find I am not alone in my thinking! Thanks for visiting.

    Lola, blogger seems to be acting up occasionally. Sorry you lost your comment! I know how you love the blogs and the gardening. It is great! I am happy if I can help anyone on here. I plan to open up a business where I'll hopefully get paid for helping folks in the garden. Stay tuned....not on the blog though of course.

    Karen, You are very sweet. What a nice comment! I appreciate it very, very much.

  42. Hi, Tina--It seems redundant to say that this is a great post after reading the 40-some comments! It also seems obvious to say that you have a LOT of well-deserved fans. I think most people use these devices--blogrolls, Blotanical, following--to find new postings on their favorite blogs quickly. I love your blog and I don't care what widgets you use or don't, or whether I show up on your sidebar. I just appreciate the fact that you write almost every day so the rest of us can benefit from your wisdom and your ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS designs. Happy Blogiversary, btw. xo

  43. Like Frances, having wordpress has really made me not part of this process. Thanks for sharing this information though since I was curious what the follower thing was all about. :)

  44. Cosmo, Thank you so much. You have been a true friend and I've so enjoyed getting to know you!

    Racquel, Yes, Wordpress does not have the feature. I guess that is one of the attractions of it. Not sure. The following thing is a subscriber service provided by Blogger and Google.

  45. Very good post and great comments. I like the widget for a couple of reason. I like that you can "friend" people who visit the same blogs as you. Plus it is sort of like exchanging business cards or calling cards like in the olden days. I think of it like giving a small space of advertising to fellow bloggers so other people can visit their blogs if they don't follow the links in the comments.

    And now that they made the changes anyone even people not on blogger can "join" your blog with their Google, Yahoo, AIM and WordPress accounts. I look at the widget and see who the followers are because I'm better at recognizing pictures from profiles than I am with names- it helps me find blogs I forgot existed or the cool pictures lead me to some new ones to read.

    Nice post Tina.

  46. Thanks Mr. Brownthumb! You being very tech oriented can appreciate the widget, but it got to be too much for me. I do like the idea of exchanging business cards!

  47. Hi Tina,

    Yeah as someone who likes all these little technological things I like it. I think the fact that I'm more of a visual person probably helps my appreciation of it.

    Thanks for starting this discussion.

  48. I chose not to do even a blogroll at my garden blog... since I don't want anyone at the school annoyed that they read something somewhere somehow from my blog. May cost me fans, but, oh well. I do want the world to see it but my main goal was for the parents of my students to get to see what we were up to.