Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quality or Quantity? Your blog readers, facebook friends & twitter followers

Okay, I think I need to make a point here about the competitive and somewhat demoralizing "game" I find myself and others playing with our statistics.


You will always find someone whose blog is bringing in more readers than yours.

You will always stumble upon a facebook "friend" whose "friends" out-number yours by the thousands.

I have seen tweeps with hundreds of thousands of followers, which can temporarily make me feel like a twitter failure.

But you know what? It doesn't really matter what anyone else has going on.

Here's the secret: While it's nice to be able to throw out a nice round number of how many people visit your blog, if none of them come back, or stay to read what you've written... you may have traffic, but you're not really building a following.

I think it's much better to have 100 loyal involved readers than 10,000 people who click in and click out and really couldn't care less about what you do or blog about.

Traffic without quality is, well, just traffic.

But over time, a loyal quality following will build from something small... into your platform.

And that's something to aim for.

Just something to think about the next time you find yourself hyperventilating about your blog visitor / facebook friend / twitter follower numbers not being higher...

Namaste, and remember to keep it Zen,


  1. To be honest with you, I think it's pretty sad when people measure their worth according to a number. Facebook's use of "friends" to identify those you've linked yourself with is so inane, i.e., do you really have 3,844 friends? Really? You party animal, you!

    In my brief stint at Facebook, I've had several people "friend" me for no other reason than to pad their numbers, and most of the time, I'm there solely as a captive audience for them to advertise their books to.

    No, thanks. Call me a curmudgeon and a misanthrope, but I'd rather stick to my blog, where the number of reader is much more realistic.

  2. Great Post! I agree that I would much rather have a loyal following than a lot of followers, and to be quite honest I have no clue about Twitter, and do not like Facebook so I definitely have less following just because I don't tweet, or have a Facebook presence.

    The downside of this is that I understand that authors do occasionally follow Tweets so maybe I need to figure this out.

  3. It's easy to get starry-eyed over the number of people who 'might' follow me -- I'm very new, I'm thrilled there's someone out there – not just empty swirling cosmos. I've just started counting stats and can get all excited and wonder/worry about what they mean. So your advice is timely -- as usual, you’re the voice of reason. I’ll try to keep my feet on the ground.

  4. I like a following that has interaction, so quality matters to me. I enjoy comments, tweets, retweets, and mentions.

  5. Thanks for this, Lee - although I'm seeing it a week later, because I've been spending time trying to clear my mind and my Twitter account to a more manageable size. It's a validation after the fact that is encouraging of what I believe - anytime we measure ourselves against others, we're going to come up short, because that's really the purpose of doing the measuring, isn't it?

  6. Hayden - I'm not going to call you a misanthrope at all - I think you're fabulous, and you're quite right to look at those facebook numbers with a critical eye!

    Jan - at this point, I think twitter drives a lot of traffic to blogs, so it might even be more useful than facebook, depending on your goals.

    I became quite obsessed with numbers of blog readers early on, because I wanted to make sure that I wasn't just sending stuff out into the void... but once I knew some people were reading, I've relaxed about it much more. It will happen for you, too.

    Medeia - I agree, it's all about the interaction!

    Carol - it all goes back to your own goals for blogging - measurements can drive you crazy (kind of like weighing yourself too often) - it's only one measure of how you're "really" doing!

    Thanks everyone for your comments!