Dear Bloglovin’, Love Sherina

Dear Bloglovin’,

Let me be frank: I love the idea of your services (a platform to follow blogs from a variety of web hosts), but I don’t use them very often. I do plan to use Bloglovin’ more frequently – becoming more familiar with it has been on my to-do list for quite some time, actually – but for now I’ll settle for having a barely-used account, occasionally glancing at the app on my homescreen, and reading your emails.

I may not use Bloglovin’ very often, but I am passionate about blogging. Since starting sherinaspeaks three years ago, I have been focused on becoming a better writer and writing about a variety of topics. I love writing posts, reading other blogs, and developing my blog brand. The message behind what I write has always been important to me; more so than the amount of followers my blog has. That’s why I was so shocked to read your email the other day.

The first line of the email read: “Do you have less than 10k followers?” I scoffed – I do, and so do virtually all of the other blogs that I follow. The email details your “Get Famous in August” challenge: the top three Bloglovin’ users who gain the most followers this month will be featured on the Bloglovin’ website and blog. (You can read more about the challenge by following this link).

At first, I thought it was an interesting incentive – but something didn’t sit properly with me. When I went on Twitter shortly after, I saw tweets from other bloggers putting my worries into words (all tweets have been used with permission from the tweeters).

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I wish I could say I understand why you decided to make gaining followers and “becoming famous” your August challenge, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. In most cases, bloggers are writers, not mathematicians: it is words that matter to us, not numbers. I consider my blog successful by my own terms, because I am able to share my words and try to positively impact others and speak up about things that matter to me. I refuse to measure my success in the blogosphere by how many followers I have.

Your challenge sends the wrong message to bloggers: it tells us that we should focus on becoming famous and gaining followers, instead of spreading our message and changing the world with our words. Focusing on gaining followers means people are no longer writing for themselves; they’re writing for people to follow them.

You’re asking people to round up followers for the purpose of winning – not for the purpose of making meaningful connections, or creating a community. As a result of this challenge bloggers might end up with a plethora of followers who aren’t truly interested in their posts, having only followed them to help them win.

Not only is this inauthentic, but it creates confusion around the purpose of blogging: is it to write, regardless of how many people are reading, or is it a competition to gain followers? I thought the answer was obvious, until a few days ago when I read your email, Bloglovin’.

I love blogging and I love the blogging community. That’s why I feel so passionately about this issue, because instead of being a challenge with the potential to be a positive force, it seems focused on negativity and inauthenticity. And I don’t think that’s what Bloglovin’ is all about.

Love,

Sherina

PS – I based my title for this post off of Taylor Swift’s open letter to Apple. Her letter resulted in a huge positive change for the music industry. I understand the change that could result from this letter might not seem quite so drastic – but if you think about it, it actually could be.

Bloglovin’ is one of the premier blogging social media sites. If their challenges were focused on creating a positive environment for bloggers to share meaningful and authentic posts and interact with each other (instead of asserting that a high follower count is the most important part of blogging) I think the entire blogging community could really benefit.
PPS – This isn’t only about Bloglovin’ – it is about all bloggers, and the services that we use. It is about making the blogosphere (and the entire Internet) a positive space. If you agree with my message, please share my post or write your own.

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29 thoughts on “Dear Bloglovin’, Love Sherina

  1. I agree 100%. Blogging shouldn’t be about the number of followers you have or the number of views you have. I don’t have 10K followers and that has never bothered me. I started blogging because I had thought about doing it for a while and finally decided why not. I’ve been blogging over a year now and I love it. When blogging starts becoming about the number of followers you have I think it takes something away from it. I’m glad to see that other bloggers feel the same way.

  2. Excellent Sherina! I agree wholeheartedly with your letter. I want my blog to be read, not followed.
    I want readers, not followers. Unfortunately, many bloggers don’t feel the same way. They want to be followed and famous. Bloglovin’ is catering to those bloggers who are more concerned with the numbers than they are their content. We, the bloggers who really care about what we write, must resist the urge to work to gain followers. Let’s write, people. Be passionate and authentic and just write good stuff. The rest will take of itself.

  3. Love your post! I definitely agree with your opinions. Once blogging (or youtubing or anything else on the internet) becomes a race to obtain followers, it transforms into something else. Something that isn’t blogging.

  4. I’m not a part of bloglovin, but I agree that it should be about what we are writing npt how many people see it. I don’t know if anyone participates in NaNoWriMo, but I do every year amd you make a word count goal to reach. They too make us focus more on quantity over quality. These sites are sending all the wrong messages. (but I still love NaNoWriMo!!)

  5. I agree with you completely on this Sherina. I think once your writing starts to become more about likes and follows, you have no choice but to censer your words and often times will find yourself altering your musings to fit a specific demographic or audience that you’re seeking. If you truly let the words flow naturally, you can grab the attention of those who seek to follow your writing for its merit alone. Good job – stay true to your convictions! Great post!

    1. Thank you! I like how you put that, and I totally agree with you. Gaining followers is definitely rewarding, but gaining authentic followers who are truly interested in what you have to say is better!

  6. I’m adding myself to the list of people who agree with you😊I think the most important thing you have said is about the time it takes to establish a brand. Most keen bloggers have a brand, either intentionally like me, or it evolved over time. If people like what you write under your brand they will return to read more. If you stray from your brand you’ll lose those readers who follow you because you are you. For example, if a religious blog starts posting on ad hoc subjects that don’t relate back to religion in some form then those readers who are there because of the religious element will go elsewhere. They might not delete their ‘follow’ option so the numbers will look ok, but you’ve lost them as readers. It seems most of us here want readers not followers so my guess is we’ve developed a good brand. X

    1. Thank you! 🙂 You raise a good point about brands! It definitely takes a long time to even figure out your brand for yourself, and even longer to convey that to people and gain followers. This challenge almost creates a ‘false’ brand since followers aren’t following based on content.

  7. Hi, I’m new to your blog and I must say, so far, I’m loving it.

    Coming back to this post, although I primarily agree with you on this, part of me begs to differ. Yes, we bloggers are writers. But fact is, that we write also for others to read. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be blogging. And in that, a bit of strategizing always helps. However, I haven’t read what Bloglovin originally has to say, so I should probably refrain from commenting before reading it.

    1. Thanks Anvita! I understand where you’re coming from, but respectfully disagree; I write because I have a message that I want to say, not because I neccessarily want people to read it. When I click that publish button on a post, I’m concentrated on my message, not how many people like my post or follow me. Having said that, I do promote my posts (but again, that’s to spread my message and build a community rather than to gain followers). I think the issue I took with Bloglovin’s way of phrasing it was that they made it seem like it was JUST about the numbers and not the writing. Thanks for your comment!!

      1. Hi Sherina, you’re right about that. It’s not just about the numbers. Writing without a purpose (apart from numbers) is soulless. Its more of a combination of the two.

  8. I’m glad I didn’t know anything about the challenge, because I would have been pissed. Yes, I’d love to get famous. On my OWN terms, without being focused on the one big number. The whole concept is shallow and stupid. I could get tons of blank accounts and fake followers, but for what? Where’s the quality? The readers? The human freaking connection?

    No. I think I’ll let my Bloglovin’ account languish for a while. I have better things to do with real people anyway.

    1. Exactly! To me the challenge promotes gaining inauthentic followers simply for the sake of winning, rather than gaining followers who are actually interested in what you have to say.

  9. I came here from your 2015 Roundup, and I cannot agree more with your sentiments. Too many bloggers already feel inadequate because of numbers, without a huge blogging company confirming and adding to the number obsession. x

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