On Tuesday, this little ol’ blog hit a pretty big milestone:
One thousand followers. Damn.
Now, as has been previously discussed, a notable chunk of these are likely spam accounts. Why do I say that? Here is the short version:
If a new follower has their own WordPress blog, the New Follower email notification I receive lists three of their most popular posts. The idea is that if you follow me, I should take the time to read your work and possibly follow you back. Through this method, I have found multiple blogs that I enjoy and now follow.
But over this past year, I’ve noticed that I have gained a large international audience. The posts listed on the notification emails are often in a foreign language (including, but not limited to: Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, and one or more Asian languages). I’m going to go out on a limb and say these folks are not following me because of my work, but because they think I’m going to blindly click on any link I receive in my email.
How bad has the spam follower phenomenon become? A year ago, I had a little over 150 followers. Certainly, I’ve had a good year on this site (including being Freshly Pressed in May), but when my little site is adding four followers a day (and my page views are increasing at the same rate) I call BS.
All of this said, I know that I am still adding human, English-speaking followers who arguably read some of what I post. Follower 998 was my friend and former co-worker Nick Maestas. Nick has a beautifully written blog that covers several topics that I’m too chicken___ to write about. I’d much rather be followed by somebody like Nick than somebody like, say, Jenia568. While I’m sure Jenia568’s post entitled “Трудный день”* would stick with me (and my virus scan) for years to come, I don’t trust that Jenia568 is a real person, and is definitely not a regular reader of my site.
*Yes, that is one of my “followers” and one of their top posts. See why I think many of my 1,000 followers are spam?
There is a part of me that wishes my follower numbers were a little more indicative of the number of people who actually read my work on a regular basis instead of the number of spam bots who want me to click on their site. But for those of you who do follow me, know that I am very thankful for you. The number of true readers may be less than 1,000, but in my heart it feels like a million.