Blog reading habits

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I wrote a post a while ago about my bewilderment at the attention a lot of people pay to the minutiae of stats.  I’ve been running into lots of posts and comments about the many ways in which people obsess over their assumptions about why someone did or didn’t like or follow or unfollow, etc.  I’m even more fascinated that there are now websites devoted to helping you track who unfollowed you.

I’m working on another post for the other blog examining the ways I see potential for spiritual practice applied to blogging and reading.  My short mention here will be:  I just don’t take it personally.

Lately I’ve been tweaking my subscriptions and changing some habits about blog reading.  For a variety of reasons keeping up with all the blogs I follow has been a little overwhelming and I’ve been working on making it less of a burden and more fun.

As I tweak I’m giggling about all the assumptions people make about why people do what they do.  Because I can see that my methodology looks mainly like madness and I defy anyone to try to discern a “why” just by noting what you can see from your stats or notifications.  I figure lots of other people have a set of criteria equally crazy and baffling and that it’s pointless to try to figure it out.

As I noted in that older post, for me the bottom line–to the extent I pay attention at all– is how many people looked at my blog today and how many followers do I have?  The numbers wax and wane and I don’t spend a minute trying to figure out why anyone did anything.

So here’s what I’ve been up to.  I did actually stop following a few people.   They posted 5-10 times a day, which drives me crazy, and never visited my blog in any way that I could easily discern [translate: I only know you’ve been here if you click “like” or make a comment].

For the ones I still follow, there are those I just love and whose posts I always read.  Some of them write in genres other than mine (esp. travel and cooking) and clearly haven’t been interested in what I write (other blog is what they see).  I read them every day even though I never get a like or a comment.

There are some bloggers I’ve followed for a long time and who once were regulars with the likes and comments but from whom I never hear any more.  Unless I think they’re great, if I’m feeling bogged down I skip their posts.  There are some I find uneven in the quality of their posts.  If I’m feeling pressed I read the short amount that shows up in the reader and unless that really grabs I don’t read the whole post.

Among bloggers who post more than once a day, I vary.  I find few people are stellar even daily (but there are some) and even fewer are good for more than one post a day.  Again, there are a few for whom I read all posts — especially if they regularly stop in and leave a mark on my blog — but if I’m feeling pressed, I might only read one of the 2-3.  Sometimes I read the one I come to first, sometimes if I’ve scrolled the Reader, I pick the one with the title I like best.

Some days, if I’m really overwhelmed with things to do, I may not read any posts or I may just skim and pick a tiny number.

I generally try to hit the like button only if I genuinely like the post.  But there are some bloggers I love so much that I click like for just about everything I read.   Sometimes I click like because the post has been up for quite a while and no one else has and I know it makes you feel better when someone does…

If someone new likes or comments or follows I always go take a look at their blog and try to find a post to “like”.  If I really like the first post I land on I will usually read some more and I might even follow.  But the fact that someone follows me is not a guarantee that I will follow back.

None of those rules are hard and fast and I quite often don’t do everything as discussed above.

So, okay, now do you want to try to make assumptions about why I liked your post or showed up as a stat but didn’t comment?  Don’t you imagine most people have complicated patterns of reading, with their own criteria–most of which have nothing to do with you?  Why does it matter to you?  Or why doesn’t it?


6 thoughts on “Blog reading habits

  1. I’m equally erratic in my reading patterns. I never assume the content of the post had any real reflection on how many people read it– since they had to click first, so outside variables played a much bigger part (how they subscribe, what it’s call, when I posted it, etc). I love stats and could spend all day playing with them, but agonizing over what a like means is not my style. I like any post I read, period– unless it’s completely racist or something. i feel like it means I’m showing appreciation for the time it took them to prepare the post, and for the gift of their writing– not any reflection on my thoughts on the post. Humans are complex… possible too complex to be figured out by stats. 🙂


    • That sounds like what I’d have figured for you. I “like’ most posts if I actually read them but I have to admit that besides not “liking” those that are offensive to me I also don’t click it if the post is so muddled or full of mistakes I can’t understand it without reading several times (not going to happen)… You’re kinder than me about it. And yes, I’m not good at stats but had to study them enough in grad school that I agree how little they reflect of human complexity.


      • I do try to be kind in my readership, though after a year of blogging, I have a pretty much zero tolerance policy regarding people who gripe about those who “like but don’t comment”. If I read more than one post about it, and sometimes even just one post, I hit unfollow and move on. 🙂 I think I’ve been following you (on and off because of technical errors) for a year now and I’ve probably only left one or two comments. I’m just really bad at it. Typos a plenty because I do comments via my phone, and — of course — I can’t stop myself from rambling. 🙂 It’s just one more example about how comments vs likes is, in so many cases, about the reader– not the writer. Stats can’t show that!


        • I’m with you on that one. That frequent gripe was an impetus for writing about this. I’ve been appreciating your likes and your blog all along. While I enjoy exchanges like this I also love collecting “likes” and that’s often all I leave myself.
          Like you, I imagine there are at least a dozen different reasons why different people might click the like button. It amazes me how many people obsess over trying to figure out the “why”.


        • My tablet screws up the likes sometimes too. If I hit it more than a couple of times and it won’t show up I usually just move on. Good reminder — I forgot about that one.


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