Welcome “Phantom Followers”, Whoever You Are!


file0001529578446Not that I’m complaining, mind you, but it seems that I’ve picked up quite a few followers over the past couple of weeks. Clearly, some of them are “bots” — this is obvious by the nondescript avatar image and the wacky comments. Others, though, at least appear legitimate. What I find strange is that they never like or comment on anything — they just seem to be blindly following. When I enjoy a blog, when I decide to “follow” someone’s blog, I usually make at least one comment — my way of “introducing” myself — and I almost always hit the “like” button after I read a post that I have enjoyed. In other words, if I follow a blog, I generally tend to read the blog. (I’ve made a few mistakes, hit “follow” prematurely, who hasn’t? But I do actually read most of the blogs that I follow. I then, at the very least, “like” the post, particularly when I’m in a hurry. When time permits I try to leave some kind of comment — even if it’s just a smiley face emoticon!)

There may be a valid reason that none of my new followers are commenting. A few visits to some of their blogs has revealed that many of them are not native English speakers. For some inexplicable reason, I am gaining popularity among folks whose blogs are written in some kind of Eastern European language. (Serbian? Latvian? I don’t know.) At first I thought that, perhaps, they were working on their English language skills. (Frankly, I wouldn’t recommend my blog for ESL students — my writing tends toward the idiomatic with a healthy dash of regionalism!) Insofar as I would like to think that my blog has been stumbled upon by the odd English teacher in Riga or Budapest, my stats would indicate otherwise — in that I have almost no visitors from this part of the world.

Initially I thought that maybe a lot of these folks were new to blogging and were simply trying to obtain followers themselves. (They are barking up the wrong tree with me there — I am a discriminating follower. I don’t just follow someone to follow them. Like I said above — I actually try to read the posts and engage with the bloggers of the blogs that I follow.) These people are tough out of luck if they think that just because they chose to follow me that I’m going to follow them without at least glancing at their blogs. I’m a busy woman. I can’t just willy-nilly follow everyone. Sheesh! I’d never get any laundry done — or get to work — or get any sleep — for God’s sakes!

I’m sure that I have followers that I don’t follow myself, just as I follow and read any number of blogs authored by writers who do not follow me. I would argue that it makes for a richer experience if the follower/followee relationship is a two-way street, but it is not required. I don’t take it personally. Just because I enjoy someone’s blog doesn’t mean that they have to involve themselves in mine. Maybe I’m not their cup of tea. That’s fine. I’m a big girl. I can take it.

So, what gives? Is anyone else experiencing the same thing with regard to these “phantom followers”? What are your thoughts on the matter?

For those of you who are, indeed, honest to goodness new followers who just don’t have the time or are not in the habit of commenting — please accept my apologies. To you I say, “Welcome!” To the rest of you, I would request that you “Hit the bricks!” I don’t blog to pump up my numbers; I blog to tell my stories. I enjoy the give-and-take of interacting with my peeps.

For those of you Lithuanians, Croatians, or Bosnians who are sincerely trying to improve your language skills by reading my blog, let me provide a few translations. Think of it as my way of saying “Thanks for visiting!”

“Barking up the wrong tree”
means that you are looking in the wrong place for something. If you hear this expression, particularly if you are in a social situation and, are, for example enamored of the big, muscular fellow that you’ve ponied up next to at the bar AND if you, too, have a penis — and this gentleman tells you, in what will possibly be a menacing tone, that you are “barking up the wrong tree”, I would advise you to “hit the bricks” (the meaning of which will be described later) — and you should do so as quickly as possible.

“Tough out of luck”
means that there is zero chance of something happening. Again, using the example above, it doesn’t matter how dreamy muscle man might be, you are “tough out of luck” if you think that he’s ever going home with you. Again, “hitting the bricks” will be an effective method of extricating yourself from this situation.

“Willy-Nilly”
refers to an act performed in a disorganized or an indiscriminate manner. This is how you will have to run toward the exit door if you do not heed the above advice and Muscle Mike decides to take matters to a more physical level. This will NOT be the physicality you were hoping for when you set your sights on Muscles McGee.

“Hit the bricks!”
means you should go away. (Related expressions are “Scram!”, “Get lost!”, “Take a long walk off of a short pier”.) If you hear any of these expressions, especially if they are uttered by your unrequited love, do head immediately to the nearest exit or, at a minimum, find the folks you came in with — there is usually safety in numbers.

“Peeps”
as used above, is slang for “people” — a Google search of the word “peeps” will result in images of brightly colored marshmallow baby chickens — these are not the “peeps” to which I refer — while it might be interesting, I’m not sure how, exactly, one would go about “interacting” with a confection. It will have been beneficial to you, if you heeded the advice given under the heading “Hit the bricks” and sought out your own “peeps”, especially if Biceps Billy suddenly appears to be surrounded by his. As is often the case, “like” often attracts “like”. You will surely be outmuscled by the likes of these guys.

photo credit:
map of the world

31 thoughts on “Welcome “Phantom Followers”, Whoever You Are!

  1. I’ve nominated you for an award. Check it out. http://lifeonwry.com/2013/05/07/feeling-lucky/

    Like

  2. Well now I’ve just followed you so I HAVE to leave a comment.

    My #1 reason for not commenting when I start following someone new or have just read something I particularly enjoyed is my phone. My phone is always logged into my personal email address and I blog/comment from a different email address. So then there’s this whole process of logging in and if I forget and type my comment before logging in, my comment disappears when I log in and then I have to remember what I said and the way I said it all over again and usually I just give up.

    I went through a lot to tell you this story. Obviously.

    I have a lot of new followers recently, too. I thought I had won the Internet. Kinda bummed now.

    Like

    • javaj240 says:

      I already like you… just from your comment, LOL. Yeah — I do, sometimes forget that folks read this stuff on their phones — I’m lucky I can see my phone to text a simple “Where r u?” to my kid. Forget writing a comment to a blog. No way can I manage that, so I can sympathize with what you’re up against!

      I didn’t write the post to make folks think they HAD to comment, LOL! I really wrote it about the crazy Eastern European/Malaysian/Papua New Guinean contingency I have recently discovered following me… folks say they’re “bots” — and they may well be — but I can’t confirm this, as I can’t read their “About” pages — too funny.

      Since I’ve been blogging I’ve always had a fair share of folks who just “like” and move along. That’s fine. I’m cool with that. Some people are shy — or using their phones as you pointed out. The sheer number of new followers and the fact that NONE of them were interacting in any other meaningful way made me suspicious.

      I think I have read your blog before — but I’ll be sure to check it out again!

      Thanks for explaining the whole phone thing. I never thought of it.

      Like

  3. latonya says:

    Thank you. I blog to connect. Happy to see stats but what I really want is conversation. In the old days we visited readers blogs,commented to them and they reciprocated. Glad to know I am not alone.

    Like

    • javaj240 says:

      You are NOT alone, latonya!

      No one, unless they blog like it’s their job, could ever be expected to read/comment/like EVERY blog they have ever followed — at least not EVERY day — nor am I under the impression that I am everyone’s cup of tea — while I would like to believe I am universally well-liked, I’m not actually foolish enough to think that I am!

      The connection with other bloggers is important, though. And, like I said, stats aren’t the end-all/be-all — but if they are correctly reported and not manipulated, they should serve some kind of purpose — in that, I think they can be used as a barometer — if you know what your audience likes, you can try to write that sort of thing. I wouldn’t do that all the time, of course, because that would defeat the purpose of writing for myself at all…. but, well, I think you know what I mean.

      I am very, very tired — having worked a 13-hour shift today… I do thank you for your lovely comment, though!

      Like

  4. chloex2909 says:

    I clicked ‘follow’ after laughing out loud, in the nicest possible way, at your box-cake disaster (I’ve been there and thought I was the only one – I still don’t know what happened…). I’m very new to the blogosphere so I’m still finding my feet and following seems to come easier than commenting – but after reading this post, you are my first comment 🙂

    Like

    • javaj240 says:

      Well, I am honored. Truly.

      My blog is often a chronicle of the crazy shit I do…. I hope you stick around. I am going to visit your site, too — after I get some sleep — 13-hour bar doubles are tough on this old body!

      Like

  5. I also get ‘Vampire’ followers and some of my ‘views’ are from little known places that are barely populated by people- Dracula yes, but not people. Of course, I love new followers, but when I can’t understand their language- cause it’s Klingon- I just don’t post their comments and they go away. I guess that’s why they call it the WWW and we suffer for it.

    Like

  6. That is so funny! Now I have to go check out who is following me! I’m sure the majority of them are bots! I just don’t have enough time to keep up with it all!

    Like

  7. D. A. Wolf says:

    Chuckling… Well, I would follow you except until I get more followers I can’t follow any more people! (Very frustrating. A matter of the percentage lag in followers versus those you follow.)

    That said, I’ve picked up several Russian followers lately, and French speakers. I delight in the French speakers (as I am one, though not native), and I”m amused at the Russian followers (as I can still manage to speak and read some many years after studying it)… but I still can’t make rhyme or reason out of who or why…

    *sigh*

    I’d take a few more phantom followers right now if I could get them – and they weren’t too ticky-tacky!

    🙂

    Like

    • javaj240 says:

      I went to follow you, but you are not on wordpress.com — I think you are referring to twitter, lol!

      Thanks for reading! I love daily plate of crazy — I admit that I don’t often comment outside of wordpress.com blogs! (I know that non- wordpress.com users say that commenting on wordpress.com blogs is an arduous process — that’s how I feel about other platforms!)

      Like

  8. ohlidia says:

    You’re too funny!! I get that as well, people follow and then I never hear from them. Here’s a question… what’s a bot or bots?

    Like

  9. artsifrtsy says:

    I have been following for a while and only get to read occasionally – I should have piped up before now. I am getting the same thing – lots of quilt-like avatars with no about page – I don’t get their purpose. At least you are improving their language skills – I’ve just been ignoring them.

    Like

    • javaj240 says:

      Hello… yes, I’ve seen you hanging about, LOL. I do not expect everyone who follows/reads to comment every time… or at all if that’s how they want it… usually, though, they’ll hit the “like” button now and again… and that’s fine.

      I have actually visited your site… your photos are beautiful! I am photographically-challenged myself. I probably should have followed my own advice and piped up there myself, LOL!

      I was in kind of persnickety mood when I wrote the post, I’ll admit it. I should probably have just ignored them, too…

      While I’m not a constant “stat-checker” or anything like that, I feel that the stats should be accurate. I use them as a barometer — because I’m serious about my writing. I don’t think it’s too much to expect the stats to actually reflect your readership. I guess that’s what I was really trying to say — in my own snarky and, possibly, annoying way.

      Thanks for piping in! Keep on snapping those great photos — it gives me hope that I will one day be able to take a picture without cutting off the heads of my subjects!

      Like

      • artsifrtsy says:

        I think stats should be accurate too. I think you have no idea if the content you are creating resonates at all when this kind of thing is happening. I did not find you snarky or annoying – mostly because I speak the language and am a human.

        Cutting heads off is all the rage – run with it!

        Like

        • javaj240 says:

          Thanks!
          If cutting heads off is some new avant-garde type of movement in photography, I should dig out my old negatives and prints and enter some type of contest. I was ahead of my time. Who knew? LOL!

          Like

  10. I always try to say Hello to new followers, and when I can i scoot over for a looksee. Some are clearly bots. And I really am not going to follow any religious nutjobs if any of you are reading this.
    I try to read all my followers, but i simply don’t have the time now; there are too many of them. But I do make the effort to read everybody at least every few days.
    I’m like you. I’m not blogging for or by numbers, though it is gratifying as the follower numbers soar. I like to have some sort of relationship with people who read me, however spurious that relationship may be in reality

    Like

  11. You are too funny. Same exact stuff is happening to me over the last few weeks. Odd.

    Like

  12. Ned's Blog says:

    Hello. Great stuff here. Thank you for wisdom sharing funny. Do you like cats too? My Latvian peeps are are barking up the wrong tree to enjoy willy nilly. Thank you for following…. (OK, seriously though — Hilarious post!)

    Like

  13. Blimey, that’s a warning then. Not sure if you’re my unrequited love or Big Mick in this one. NOt being a pro with this wordpress thing and having a few blogs, I find myself on different blogs in different browsers following stuff from different places, so if I’m at fault here, just kick the bricks on my blogs! ( and my avatar has not ‘set-in’—not my fault)

    Like

  14. That’s certainly strange. Maybe they’ll tell you who they are now!

    Like

  15. javaj240 says:

    Yes… India and Indonesia seem to be where I get an alarmingly high amount of traffic…. Most Indians speak English though.

    I’m not brave enough to “unfollow” anyone — I imagine they get notified of that sort of thing. I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, LOL!

    Like

  16. Rick says:

    I have an unusual amount of followers from India and don’t know why. I used to follow everyone who followed me but that had to stop when I got Freshly Pressed. In fact, I need to unfollow a few so I don’t miss the ones I really want to read.

    Like

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