The Unfollowing Ninjas

My brain wires are currently in a great mess because my little experiment just went KA-BOOMZ! In the last week, I’ve (not so) purposefully vanished from the blog, to test the effects of a lazy blogger. My result? The Unfollowing Ninjas.

I started with 321 followers last week and on my return, only 319 remained. I had a mental war with myself and let’s face it, as much as we try to convince ourselves that numbers =/= readers, they are the quantifiable measure of our influence, they are every bit of our hard work and they hurt our ego SO BAD.

I hid in a corner and wept from dawn to dusk (nah, kidding! xD) before I started thinking: Yeah, why would they do that to me? So I’ve compiled Top 5 Reasons why I get unfollowed silently like ninjas… And maybe you’ll find it helpful!

Top 5 Reasons (Excuses) for Unfollows:

1. Follow for Follow / Follow for Giveaways

When I first started blogging, I quickly signed up as a member on Book Blogs and hopped on the Follow for Follow wagon. It’s the fastest way to gain followers, AND the fastest way to lost them because your followers don’t feel attached to you. They follow out of duty and if one day they decide to go on some Unfollow Spree, you’re the first to go. #true story

2. EEE!! She never updates!

I bookmark quite a number of blogs on my iPad to view them 93647 times a day… And I expect something new every visit! A favourite blogger of mine took a break last August, and promised to be back by September, so I waited, and waited and waited. I waited till October, then November then December and then, I’ll assume you never come back.

3. Ouch, that hurts.

Both literally, and figuratively. Some blogs have terrible colour combinations, cluttered widgets, and overly gothic interfaces that scare me off the moment the page loads. Imagine: Skulls for books and blood thirsty vampires grinning maliciously at you while you try reading a post, is that even possible? Figurative-wise, if bloggers are offensive, or their book reviews are mostly for *coughs* mature readers, then I know I’m not welcome :P

4. Spam

I subscribe to many blogs and I receive updates for every new post: Pictures of grass, of dogs on the grass, of dogs doing something on the grass… Anyway! My point is, if your post is not special enough to stand out, then it’s spam to me.

5. The jumbled mess called my feeder.

Kelly from Radiant Shadows posted her new year resolutions, which included cleaning up her feeder, and what’s the best way to do that? Unfollow! I plead guilty of unfollowing too– going through my list of followings and removing those that do not suit my fancy because I want to zoom my attention on posts that I care about.

Let’s talk: I’m not an expert in this area so share with me which reasons do you agree/disagree with? Do you get frustrated with yourself when you get Unfollowing Ninjas too? Leave a comment!

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34 thoughts on “The Unfollowing Ninjas

  1. I understand where you are coming from! I’ve never lost so many at once but I noticed that when I have a down week I lose around 5 or so..and it kind of hurts because there is just no way I’m going to run myself into the ground to keep followers. I’m also a bit afraid to take an actual break because I fear coming back to nothing.
    I’m guilty of unfollowing when I notice the last updates have been months ago, but if I see that they are back I usually follow them again. I also have been known to do mass clean ups but I’m very careful about the ones that I unfollow, I try to take the time to look through each blog and make sure.

    • That’s some protocol I should learn from! I fear losing followers after blog breaks too but I’ve learnt to take a deeeeep breath and remind myself that I want readers whom I can REALLY interact with: If they are those who unfollow me easily, then I take it that we’re not meant to be (sounds so romantic haha!)

      It’s hard for me to keep track when a blogger comes back after I unfollowed her because I’ll be losing almost all contact, but I’ll keep in mind that no one deserves to feel the pain of unfollows >:)

  2. I really don’t know what to choose out of the options because I RARELY unfollow blogs…more like never. But that’s probably because I’m still new in the blogsphere. I’m subscribed to your blog via email and you never really ‘spam’ me and your posts are always awesome (just like this one!). But I do have to say that the ‘Ouch, that hurts.’ is so accurate because there are some blogs who seriously scare the hell out of me with their design and everything else.

    – Oh, and I have to say that your new blog layout is simple PERFECT! I love it! <3

    • You’re awfully sweet, Dianna! .< Hmm yeah, I've come across quite a few "Ouch, it hurts" cases and I'm sorry to say that I never linger long :/ Thank you for dropping by!

  3. I have never actually unfollowed a blog before. But then again, I’m sure that at some point, it might be an option. I try not to disappear for long lengths of time but do admit to times where I had no choice (I’m a mother to a child with Autism that is nonverbal), but I try to be back on at a decent amount of time. I have noticed though when those breaks occur that I do lose followers during that time period. I guess a fate I have to endure duriing the time that Brianna has appointments and such but I absolutely love the book world and could not live without it so I can’t help but return. I’m an author and reviewer and have been a lover of books for as long as I can read. It’s my escape, my getaway during those late night hours, my mini vacation. Yep, I’m here to stay but I defenitely see your point! And your blog looks amazing!

    • That must be hard for you, taking care of your child and still keeping your passion for books going :) I don’t have as many duties as you but I’m already finding it taxing to keep up with things. Thank you for the follow, and I’m here to stay on your blog too!

  4. My main reason for unfollowing (or unfriending on twitter or whatever) anyone would lie between spam and only posting the same things I can read elsewhere (by which I mean all the same blog tours, all the same cover reveals, nothing much original, all promotion all the time, etc.)

    I get all my blog feeds via Google Reader, and I have no difficulty keeping them unjumbled. I am kind of OCD about sorting things into folders. Keeps everything nice and easy to find, and strips out most of the “ouch it hurts” bits of bad blog designs. I should say I set my subscriptions up the moment I started this blogging thing, I didn’t wait until I had 500 incoming feeds and then try to sort them out. That would make me cry for days.

    Unfollowing after only such a short absence? That’s harsh. I’d probably give someone at least a year before I wrote them off.

    • I was deliberating how I was going to add that point! Lack of substantial content is definitely a huge part of my reasons, because memes after memes after blog tour promotion posts are, as you said, unoriginal, and lazy.

      WHAAA? You can arrange the Google reader?! I’m OCD too and sometimes I get so messed up with the blog names I have to click each one before I found the blog I was looking for: really tedious! Thanks for the great suggestion ;) /immediately Googles/

    • I get what you say! If someone just disappears, I’ll never know when she comes back but if there’s advance notice, at least I won’t feel so empty knowing there’s an end to the wait :) Hmm yeah, blogs that differ in interests makes for not much discussion and I’ll feel like a very unhelpful reader :P

  5. haha i haven’t unfollowed any blogs so far… (i only followed 2 anyway :P) hmm so i can’t really tell why people would do that! maybe due to the spam and um, losing of interest in that particular blog/the stuff it posts? haha cheer up the followers will come back soon!(;

    • Thanks Shi Le!! You know you won’t want to unfollow any blogs /waggles eyebrows/ but yup, if a blog does not appeal to me, or there no longer is any substantial content, I’ll be convinced that there’s isn’t much value to stay. Gaah, I sound so heartless!! xD

  6. Those all seem like good reasons to unfollow, but I use lists in my google reader to keep the blogs I follow organized. Google reader can be like Twitter sometimes – a giant mass of chaos, but lists help me keep track of the blogs I want to check all the time and the ones I only want to check some of the time, blogs that participate in the same weekly memes, etc.. And for my favorite blogs, following my email as well keeps me updated. I never unfollow unless it’s something ridiculous, like a blog that doesn’t post anything but giveaways and absolutely 0 content. And that’s only after I’ve put them in a list by themselves and they clog it up still!

    • I can tell that lists are your favourite, Megan! I never knew you could organize your Google Reader, now I must go try to keep them in order, then maybe I won’t have to unfollow blogs and feel terribly guilty afterwards :P Thank you for the tips!!

  7. My biggest reason for cleaning up my Google Reader was due to the amount of blogs who’s content I no longer enjoyed – whether they were posting too many blog tour/promo posts/memes, or whether it was book reviews for genres I don’t read (like mostly adult paranormal romance, for example). I don’t do it to be mean, or to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I don’t follow blogs to clutter my reader – I follow them to read interesting things!

    As for blogs who stop posting content, it all depends. If it’s one I don’t really recognize and they have posted in a couple months, I’ll probably unfollow them. If it’s a blog I really like, I hold out longer, hoping they come back. If it’s someone who’s posted that they’ll be periodically absent due to personal reasons, I’ll hold out even longer if I really liked their blog.

    Thanks for linking to my post and for hosting such an interesting discussion!

    • Kelly, your way with words is simply awesome!! I don’t like cluttering my feeder too and the the past few weeks, I’ve been extremely careful before I follow a blog– I’ll be stalking their recent posts and reviews to see if their content interest me, because I won’t want to hurt them if I force myself to unfollow :/

      Missing bloggers really test my patience, since I’m not a very “sit-and-wait-quietly” sort of person haha! But life gets in the way of blogging sometimes and I HAVE to leave so I’ll be understanding to MIA bloggers if I know that they’re trying to take a breather, we all need those sometimes :) Thank you for your insights!

  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog and following! I agree about the follow-for-follow issue – it certainly bumps up your followers, but if people aren’t interested in your blog, they’re going to disappear. :) I’m afraid I do that myself. I can’t follow EVERY blog forever, but I’ll follow pretty much any book blog for a little while. Then I categorize the blogs based on my interest in them.

    In the end, wouldn’t you rather have those few dedicated followers than 100s of followers who don’t actually read anything you write? So, I’m always happy to have a new follower, but I’m not going to cry when I lose one. Clearly THAT person wasn’t my target audience. And the more potential followers you go through, the more likely you are to find those dedicated readers right? So keep on truckin’. ;)

    I’m following you by Google Reader, by the way, so I’m not sure if I’ll show up as one of your new followers. :(

    • You hit the nail right on the head, Rachel :D With the 400+ blogs I’m following and stalking, it’ll be great to categorize them so I won’t have to go through every single one before I got to the blog I was looking for -sigh- I know I can’t follow every blog, and I can’t keep every follower, so I’m just going to work hard to post interesting posts! I’ve learnt that over time, my first followers are the ones who will always be there for me ^-^

      Thank you for your new follow! (Heh the kindof irony)

  9. Interesting post! Hadn’t really thought about it, but you’re right about the unfollowing ninjas hurting feelings. Last time I cleaned up my Google Reader, the ones I unfollowed hadn’t posted anything in over 12 months, so I didn’t feel too guilty. I’ve noticed that my followers increase during contests and decrease about a week after the contest ends, even though I never require a follow to enter. Go figure.

    • I’ve always tried to shrug off unfollows too but it suddenly hit me a few days ago: If I can know why people unfollow me, maybe I’ll know where to start off improving myself :) When a blog isn’t posting for 1 year, I guess the Guilty Meter ain’t so high haha. Increasing contents with followers is quite common but the fact that your followers decrease after a contest… I’m sorry for those fickle-readers! >:(

  10. Ah, I’m sorry sweetie! Yeah. It sucks when people unfollow your blog :p I don’t like it. And it does hurt. I have never done a Follow for Follow though ;) but I have had people telling me they followed me, and asked me to follow back, and then I didn’t follow back, and I feel kind of awful.. but yeah, I did check out their blog to see if it would interest me :) So far I haven’t stopped following any blogs yet. But I might take a look at my Google Reader soon, cause I’m kind of following about 500 different blogs (A) So I agree most with 5. The jumbled mess called my feeder. :) I need to clean it up. Maybe. Might not even unfollow anyone. Guess we’ll see ;p Anyway! Thank you for this awesome post :D <3
    Love, Carina @ Carina’s Books

    • I do a lot of Follow for Follow last time, as a speedy route to gaining followers but I’ve realize that some blogs don’t have me in mind as target audience :P This post taught me how important it is for me to organize my Google Reader, thank you for your comment, Carina!

  11. I’m new to the blogging world. I will say that although you follow me, I might now follow you back. I’m genuinely interested in the people I follow. I think its important because you want to always provide feedback. I hate reading something someone wrote and then they never correspond back. I really enjoyed reading your post on this topic.

    • That’s the spirit! This post made me ponder (for quite some time) about what a follow means to me, and you’ve just defined it! Following a blog isn’t a chore, it’s a show of support for a blog we love reading, and if that’s the case, we won’t ever need to unfollow a blog for any of the petty reasons I’ve listed above :)

  12. Really great post. I haven’t cleaned out my reader in forever – however I rarely open it because I generally correspond to people who stop by my blog and take the time to comment or leave a message. I try to reply to them on my blog and stop by their blog as well (trying to get better at going to more blogs and commenting around.) I think the giveaways are a big thing – I rarely mandate people follow me for those either (I’d rather have people who WANT to follow me because they like what they see/read!) but for some reason there’s always those people who follow for the contest/giveaway and then disappear. Like a never ending cycle. I’ve given up thinking that I’ll just keep on growing and never losing. I’m just very grateful I’ve gotten to the point where numbers really don’t matter to me anymore and that I know I have those loyal followers who stop by and comment and read my stuff – and let me take breaks if I need them.
    I’ve also FINALLY learned to be content with the fact that there are always going to be the “silent stalkers” who visit the blog often and read, but never comment. I’ve had some very heartwarming comments to that effect – “I’m a frequent visitor but never comment, but keep it up, love your blog!” type of thing. Those kind of comments make all the unfollows not that big of a deal in the end. :D

    April @ My Shelf Confessions

    • I don’t check my reader every minute of the day either, though I always try to set aside 30 minutes or so to hop around different blogs and get to know more bloggers! I love reading comments so I’ll generally take the time to reciprocate them because I know how much comments mean to others too :) It’s great that you’ve reached a point when numbers don’t bother you much– how is it possible for them to be ever growing? I’ll try to keep my mind off those numbers from now on instead of sneaking a glance every few minutes to check haha (OCD me)! I haven’t known of any “silent stalkers” on my blog (okay, maybe that’s the whole point of being silent) but those comments are really sweet!! So happy for you, looking forward to the Wicked Valentine Read-a-Thon and thank you for your insights! ^-^

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  14. Great post! I personally never unfollow blogs because they don’t post enough. Just because… if they don’t post, they’re not bothering me so I forget about them. I forget about them to the point where I forget to unfollow them LOL!

    The main reasons I unfollow blogs are:

    1. Bad design that makes my eyes bleed. I’m a web designer so I’m picky…

    2. Their blog basically becomes advertising space. 90% of posts are book showcases, excerpts, giveaways, spotlights, blitzes, or blog tours… and there are barely any book reviews. UGH! I hate this.

    • Ashley, this must be the most hilarious comment :D That happens, sometimes the blogger doesn’t update and she sneaks out of my line of sight so I’ll forget about her over time. But for the blogs which I bookmark and stal.. Monitor daily, it gets very obvious when a blogger is missing for long periods! Content is deifnitely a must, meme after meme is just bland, I can find those anywhere :/ Anyways, your blog looks AMAZING and if I could, I’d love to learn web designing– you can do so much more interesting stuff with your blog!

  15. Totally agree. Being a blog pimp and whoring is the only way to get a cult following going, which means that in kind, you find yourself following people that might not be able to string a sentence together. I’ve got a list as long as Lance Armstrong’s supply list of blogs I ‘follow’, but I have around 12 or so that I have bookmarked, like yours here, that I read and participate in. Fully agree with the emo blogs. Dark and broody is great, but I don’t want to feel the urge to cut myself reading a review on The Cat in the Hat.

    • I know how that feels, somehow I feel “forced” to follow a blog I don’t even like reading because I’ve promised follow-for-follow :/ Thank you for bookmarking my blog, I love reading yours very much too!! Overly-gothic blog designs do scare me, we’re on the same team, but I understand how that’s probably a case of personal preferences :)

  16. I don’t know if I’ve ever exactly unfollowed a blog, but I might change my update preferences if I’m getting too many new post notifications. Then I risk missing something, but I know I can’t really keep up with every single blog I’ve followed, especially when there are so many different ways to follow. Sometimes I’m late seeing something (like this post, for example!) because it got lost in my email inbox. I have my Google Reader pretty organized, but never thought of putting my faves into a separate folder, so I might do that at some point. I don’t have many blog followers, myself, and that helps me not feel guilty about only following book blogs that match my reading taste to some extent.

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