Thoughts On The Differences Between A Friend & A Follower

Why I Asked + What You Answered

A FEW WEEKS AGO I asked you to answer two poll questions.  I did this because a friend in real life who is a social media virgin asked me these questions.  She was curious about the terminology bloggers use when talking about blogging and I had no definitive answers for her.

The clear winner to the question “Blogs Are Found In…” was The Blogosphere.  78% preferred that term, with another 10% opting for Blogland which I think is a charming word.

The answers to the question “People Who Read Your Blog Are…” showed an interesting bell curve of preferred terms.  40% preferred the term Readers, while 23% chose Friends and 21% chose Followers.

I often refer to y’all as my gentle readers, so the top answer based on literal thinking makes sense to me, but that’s not where I see the story here.

Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Friend?

WHAT SURPRISED ME WAS THE relatively even distribution between the second and third answers, Friends and Followers.  Both are great terms but to my way of thinking these terms presuppose two different types of relationships that create different expectations about how someone will behave.

And as we all know, when expectations are not met disappointment ensues.

Friends implies connections based on equal power that are made on an even playing field.  I take an interest in you, I support you– and you do the same things for me.  When it comes to blogging this means I read + comment on your blog while you read + comment on my blog.

In a word, reciprocity. [Kindness?]

Followers, on the other hand, is a term that implies there is a leader with more power, who proceeds ahead while the less dominate people come after him or her.  This is not an even playing field from the git-go.

In blogging terms this means that as the leader I may or may not take the time to read + comment on what my followers write in their blogs.  By virtue of the way in which I envision our relationship, I’ll think I have no obligation to comment on other people’s blogs because I’m in charge here.

In a word, purpose. [Control?]

And Here Is Where The Misunderstandings Begin

TO WIT, IF I THINK you’re my Friend who will take an equal interest in me as I have taken in you, but you view me as a Follower who doesn’t necessarily deserve your time and attention, then we have a situation wherein feelings get hurt, confusion begins.

I’m expecting you, my friend, to care about what I write.  You’re baffled about why you would take any interest in me, your follower.  There is ambivalence, there is tension, there is cognitive dissonance.  No one is happy.

I’ve no marvelous insights into why certain bloggers prefer the terms that they do for the people who pay attention to them;  I just see how bloggers do what they do.

In fact, I’m only writing about this today because I found it interesting that I discerned this subtle yet significant divide in attitudes about blogging as a result of your answers to two simple questions I never thought to ask before.

Remarks, regrets, reconsiderations, anyone?  The comment section is yours.

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Pleasantly crazy. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Wordy.

148 thoughts on “Thoughts On The Differences Between A Friend & A Follower”

  1. It is interesting, isn’t it Ally? Taking the meanings of the words down to their roots forces one to think twice about whether you really want to use them or not. I’m pretty sure I might have answered your query with “Follower,” but now I definitely prefer “Reader.” I got turned off by the term “Friend” from Facebook, so that word has been ruined a bit for me. Glad you followed up on this. – Marty

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Marty, I only got thinking about the theoretical underpinnings of these words after I saw the results of the poll questions. I can say in all honesty it makes no difference to me how you think about the people who pay attention to your blog, but there are expectations involved. I agree with you about how FB has tarnished the word Friend– a formerly good one.

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      1. Agree with the Facebook influence on the term “Friend,” but hope the Blogosphere can overcome and allow the Webster’s definition to rule our World.

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  2. I follow many blogs. Some of those bloggers are friends, some aren’t. I see ‘following’ as a function, while ‘friend’ is relational. There are different sorts of ‘blog friends,’ just as there are different sorts of friendships in the real world, but reciprocity (in terms of reading/commenting) has nothing to do with it. It seems to me a lot of confusion about the term ‘friend’ got started with Facebook, which brought the silly phrase “friend request” into our lexicon.

    Honestly, it’s a non-issue for me, just as concerns about stats are generally. If someone wants to follow my blog but never comment, that’s fine. If someone comments but doesn’t go on to follow my blog, that’s fine too. I feel as though my responsibility is to provide good content, and respond to those who comment on it. And, it’s worth noting that I comment on blogs that I follow when I have something to say. Otherwise, I wait for the next post — even if it’s my best blogging buddy who’s produced whatever doesn’t interest me.

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    1. shoreacres, I took these terms to be relational, so I went with the definitional differences between them– simplified. I have no doubt that how you think about any relationship influences what you do.

      I don’t pay much attention to who follows my blog in the sense of keeping tabs on whether they comment here on not. That’s up to them. I’m just pleased anyone is paying attention to me.

      The people whose commenting patterns I am aware of are the ones who I follow. If I leave a comment on your blog I am interested in what you said or showed via photos. If you never have the inclination to comment on my blog, then I’ll think of you in terms of having a follower personality, not a friend personality. No big deal, just a way of making sense of things.

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  3. I am a follower in many cases, and I have followers, but I have also found friends through WordPress. I used to think that couldn’t really be the case, that you couldn’t make friends in a digital reality. I thought that maybe “virtual friends” was a better phrase, but I’ve learned that “friends” is the right word. It’s not universal, but there are many.

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    1. Dan, it’s interesting how these two terms, Friend and Follower, mean different things to different people– hence disappointed feelings that I read/hear about with some frequency. The majority of people who took the poll said that they consider anyone who pays attention to them to be Readers, a generic term. From that I’ve come to realize that I think of Friends or Followers as a subset of Readers.

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      1. writerinsoul, you make a good point. I sometimes say bloggy friend as opposed to friend irl. I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong with any of this, as long as you’re respectful toward another person, real or known via social media, it’s all good.

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    1. Jill, I think the same way as you do. I figure that anyone can follow me and that is cool beans. I attempt to build relationships with other bloggers that I’d call Friendships. I don’t lurk anywhere online. Either I’m interacting with you on your blog and with you here in my comments, or I’m not.

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        1. Ally,
          This is interesting because so many people have varying thoughts on who comments and follows a blog. I want to believe that most who come back to my blog find something in it that brings them back more than once. I assume that the majority are friendly souls and that if we met in person (and I have met a few in person) that we could be friends with all that that implies! Since there are all kinds of people, some shy, some extroverted, and everything in between, with varying degrees of availability and full, often stressful lives, I don’t try and sort them out or put too much expectation toward them. People are often more than just one description at any given time to the person writing the blog. Therefore, I choose to think of those who come back to my blog (whether they comment or not) as my Wayward Friends and as far as I know, everyone’s fine with that! What I know is that I appreciate each and every one of them. Blogging brings its own unique challenges and blessings and I feel blessed, indeed! Great post, Ally! Mona

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          1. Mona, your analysis of how you relate to the people who pay attention to your blog is one that resonates with me. I don’t know that I would have ever got thinking about this if it weren’t for my friend in real life, but once I did I realized we all have different expectations regarding how other people will interact with us in the blogosphere. I do think it’s interesting how almost everyone uses blogosphere, but fewer people can agree on what to call the people who pay attention to their blogs. One term has become standardized, while the other term is still in flux.

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            1. blogospherians? blog cadets bravely navigating the in betweens of the blogosphere? Identified reading people or unidentified reading people (IRP’s or URP’s)? I’ll have to sleep on it and see if anything crops up in my dreams! LOL. ~ M

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  4. Hello, My Very Dear, Dear Friend: A very thoughtful post. Many thoughts, but I will share these here – 1) “Blogland” sounds like an amusement park – makes sense as blogging should be an adventure and amusement for our collective minds (where’s the gift shop?), 2) the “bell curve” result is interesting and makes me want to say that diversity is strength . . . but to a point as I still want moderation to reign, 3) between the top choices I naturally gravitate to “Friend” because of my preference for peer level exchange that provides, in my opinion, more growth for everyone than “lead/follow” (and let’s face it, we’ve never been followers), and 4) I am reminded of the cheesy toast offered by Mr. Wayne Newton at a Vegas show that goes something like this – “Do not walk behind me, for I will not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I will not follow. Walk with me, and be my Friend.” Danke Schoen, Darling, Danke Schoen.

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    1. Z-D, you a wordy person this morning! I wonder if I should have named this blog, Ally in Blogland? Suddenly it sounds pretty good. I agree that the diversity of expectations regarding how we envision our blogging relationships helps to keep blogging balanced. You know I’m all about peer level exchanges versus lead/follow dynamics; the first define me, the latter confine me. And now you’re quoting Wayne Newton? Oh. my. goodness. Caught me off-guard with that one.

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  5. First, though I voted for “blogosphere,” I take issue with the way it is spelled (not your fault – everyone spells it that way). I’ve taught phonics for 15 years and though there are exceptions to every rule, and blogosphere may be an exception, it still bugs me. The rule is that if a one-syllable word ends in one vowel and one consonant, like blog, the final consonant is doubled before adding any ending. Thus, to my mind, it should be spelled bloggosphere. Oh well, majority rules, I guess.
    Secondly, I may call someone a reader or a blog buddy, depending on how much we interact on the bloggosphere. (Did you notice my spelling there? Maybe it will catch on.)

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    1. The Travel Architect, I didn’t know that bloggosphere was the proper spelling that word. Thanks for telling me. I can understand how the common spelling bugs you, and please accept my apology before I say this, but I’m not going to write that word the correct way. We all need to take a stand somewhere… and this is mine?

      I like the idea of a blog buddy. I’ve not seen anyone use that term and it is clever. I could be comfortable saying my readers are my gentle blog buddies! ‘Cuz you are.

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      1. The term is a Travel Architect original. It is in my Dictionary of Blog Terms on my site, a very valuable reference if ever there was one :). You are welcome to use the term, so long as every time you do you give me credit as the originator, refer people to my blog, and send me $5. 😉

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            1. Laughing here. Welp, you know, I imagine he’d settle out of court because he really doesn’t like to go to court– wool suits are itchy, wingtip shoes are uncomfortable, and silk ties choke you. At this point in his career he’d do just about anything to not go to court. So you’re good.

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  6. I guess I see the follower term as statistical. Or to mean the people who follow me just so I will follow them back, but they seldom (if ever) like a post. Friends are the ones with a reciprocal relationship. Reader encompasses everyone. Some of my readers are from cross-posts on Facebook, so that term works for those “friends” too. Interesting discussion today. Thanks!

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    1. KDKH, I take your explanation of what Follower means to you. I took it as a kind of relationship with specific expectations. I like the idea of thinking of everyone as a Reader– and predicted that it’d be the most popular term like Blogoshere was. However, it wasn’t the winner I thought it’d be. I’m not on FB so I don’t get that kind of Friend here, but you do raise a great point about how convoluted social media terms are.

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  7. I was once talking about blogging with a blogger friend, and when I used the word follower, I felt like I was Jim Jones about to write the kool aid….but it’s all perspective. I consider you my blog friend because we have a connection. I consider everyone readers, because they’re reading my blog. Followers are the people who read me but don’t really comment or connect

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    1. LA, same exact thinking here. I write this blog to make friends. As for my expectations when I reach out to other bloggers, I am doing so as a Friend. If you consider me a Follower, so be it. But that’s not a balanced relationship that I’m interested in being part of. I’m looking for connections, pure and simple.

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  8. People define words in different ways. As several have noted, they might feel like your “friend” but say that they “follow” your blog because, well, FB happened . . . & hijacked “friend” for less than friendly reasons. 😛

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    1. nancy, yes FB has done a number on the definition and expectations implicit in Friend. I use the term in the old-fashioned pre-Facebook way, but I don’t assume everyone else does. Of course, I don’t have many expectations about what anyone does regarding anything… 😐

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  9. Interesting comments. Never thought much about it. I have both friends and followers. Some people connect personally and some don’t. I’ve met 2 blogger friends so far and both were exactly as I expected (unlike dating sites!). I don’t work on it as it either happens or not. I confess to occasionally hitting the like button so someone knows I was around but I wasn’t inspired (or didn’t have time) to comment. Then again I only follow bloggers I enjoy. I disconnected with some early on as their niche didn’t fit my interest. Now I rarely follow unless I like the writing.

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    1. Kate, I never thought about this until I began to see a pattern in the answers to the poll questions. As with anything, the way you define it influences how you see it. We’re all involved in relationships here in the blogosphere so best to know how to understand one another’s approaches.

      Like you I only pay attention to bloggers who write on topics that interest me. No lurking, no getting involved in narrow niches, please. When I first started blogging I read and commented everywhere, but not any more. Blogging has changed and so have I.

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  10. I can’t recall which term I voted for, but it was likely either Followers or Readers… and that’s only because they’re the words I most often use because they’re technically what the people who are loyal to a certain blog are called. It’s certainly not because I don’t consider the people who follow/read me my friends, or that I put myself on a higher level than them. Hell, with my self depreciating attitude, that would be hard for me to even do. Follower is just kind of “the word” when it comes to social media subscribers, and because blogs still mostly rely on the printed word, “readers” is a common substitute.

    Don’t worry, you have long been and continue to be my blogging FRIEND!

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    1. evilsquirrel13, I understand your reasoning. I truly don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to envision any blogging relationship, as long as you’re not a troll I guess. I like the idea of thinking that everyone who pays attention to my blog is a Reader, but I lean toward the idea of Friend [pre-FB definition], too. I suspect that soon enough Communication profs will have decided how we should think about and refer to each other, and we’ll have a definitive set of blogging relationship terms at our disposal. In the mean time, nice to know you, Friend.

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  11. Friend is a murky concept even in the physical world. Agree that most social media connections are not friends, in any sense, but it’s not impossible to become true friends with someone you haven’t met physically. As far as bloggers, I call the ones who read my blog “readers” and the ones who interact with me a lot “peeps.” A few are friends ~ our interactions go beyond blog comments; we may have emailed; etc.

    Great post!

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    1. Paula, yes Friend is a murky term, filled with implications and expectations. I consider many of the people who pay attention to this blog to be Friends, but I take your point about meeting people in person before you call them a Friend.

      I use Peeps on occasion, too. In fact currently in my sidebar I have a list of The Chatty Peeps [look to your left]. I think it’s a good description of all you cool kids who comment here. 😎

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  12. I think that I voted for “friend” but I like LA’s take on the definitions best of all.
    I suppose to be really accurate, we would need to break followers down into sub-categories as well. There are distinct variations of those as many have pointed out in the comments.
    Then again, I often get quite frustrated by labels in general… so there’s that 😉

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    1. Deb, you’re right. We could further break down these terms into smaller and smaller nuanced terms that’d make my head swim. I am nothing if not practical so I’ll admit that I like the term Reader, but often think of many [most?] of you as Friends. As for Followers… I’m not a Leader so how could anyone be following me in the sense of a relationship? 🤔

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  13. Thank you Ally, for clarifying my thinking on “Followers”. I know WordPress throws that term around a lot and yes I do click the Follow button on blogs when I think of it…but I don’t like to think of people as MY followers. I don’t want to assume or be put in that leadership role on ye olde blogge. No way, no how. Sure, “follow” the blog – as WP puts it. But don’t follow ME. I don’t want that responsibility. My blog is my platform to write about whatever I wish, and I don’t want to sit down to write a post with having to meet the expectations/needs of “my followers” in the back of my mind. Same reason I don’t monetize or spend any time worrying about a “niche” or a “brand”. No shade thrown for others who choose to do so, but it’s not for me.

    Readers is a much better term, but I believe I chose Friends (oh my faulty memory!) because so many who comment on my blog have become varying degrees of friends, to me.

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    1. Deb, YES! What you said. I think the same way. I write this blog for fun, doing my own free-spirited thing. Niche-less is how I describe this blog. I’ve had opportunities to establish brand connections and have passed. I’m no one’s leader so, like you said, I cannot have followers. 🙄

      I like the term Reader and predicted it’d be the clear winner in the poll, in the way Blogosphere was. But turns out there’s more to the ways in which bloggers envision how they relate to each other than I’d anticipated.

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  14. Oops, I guess I missed the question (I was probably staring out the window…). I think this is a rather interesting topic. I agree with the idea that a “follower” is someone who wants to get the posts but doesn’t really engage. The “friends” are folks who read and comment and engage. This is a delightful experience, I’ve learned a lot from these “friends,” and I enjoy “following” the trials and tribulations, successes and achievements of them, so I guess perhaps we’re kind of a mixture of both!

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    1. Dorothy, I’d never contemplated the difference between thinking someone was a Follower versus a Friend until I began to see the responses to the poll questions. [Link here: In Which I Show You Who You Are & Ask You Two Questions]

      I then realized that when I’ve heard people complain about blogging these people were expecting a different personal relationship than the one they got. It’s all in how you look at it. Expectations fulfilled or dashed, you know?

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  15. I actually use both terms. Followers, to me, means they read my blog but don’t often leave comments or who leaves comments but they doesn’t have a blog for me to return the action. I call those who comment frequently and also have a blog that I comment on a ‘blogger friend.’ I reserve the term ‘friend’ for those people I see and talk with in person.

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    1. Jean R, your distinctions are good ones. I like how you envision the people who pay attention to your blog and interact with you. Like I said somewhere above, I don’t think there is a right or wrong here, I just think you need to be clear about the blogging relationship you’re in. Understanding is key.

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  16. Oh man, did I miss this poll? Clearly off in la la land or maybe I did & I just don’t remember….either way…yikes😲.

    I think there are varying forms of friends, some we see all the time, some we spend time with occasionally, some we have never met in person but may have befriended through our blogging.

    I am not a huge fan of the term followers (I like Deb’s suggestion of reader) but if I was asked to differentiate between follower & friend, the former is someone who may or may not read a post, may or may not hit “like” but rarely leaves a comment. The latter is someone who reads what you write and takes the time to engage, whether they agree or not, often developing a relationship through sharing our thoughts or perspectives.

    There are a number of people I have met through blogging, some in person, some not, who I would call friend. Cheers! Lynn💕

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    1. Lynn, you said it perfectly! A Friend… “is someone who reads what you write and takes the time to engage, whether they agree or not, often developing a relationship through sharing our thoughts or perspectives.” That’s what I believe, too– it’s not about being the same it’s about being respectful and creating supportive relationships here.

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  17. You have the most interesting blog posts, Ally. I appreciate how you reach out and draw us all in. I’m grateful for the restoration of the word “friend.” “Friend” is such an action word. I’ve met a lot of people through blogging. But some who follow my blog have become friends. We take an active interest in each other’s lives. That doesn’t happen with everyone. But it does happen.

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    1. L. Marie, I like to start conversations here. I never thought about these two terms in light of how they are defined until I started to reflect on the results of the polls. I like your idea that Friends take an active interest in you which is what happens in the comment sections of blogs. Perhaps that’s the crux of the definitions, action versus being passive.

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  18. Like my friendships in ‘real’ life, I don’t expect and/or require a tit for tat (or a comment for a comment or like for a like). I give what I feel in my heart to give with no expectations for a return, but I’m extremely grateful if/when it’s returned.. I read blogs a lot–many of them. I usually ‘like’ the ones I’ve read, whether I agree or not. I leave a word or two on the ones who resonate with me and inspire a comment. I have absolutely NO expectations they’ll return the favor–my posts are random and some subjects are not everyone’s cup of tea. I hate to pigeon-hole anyone into a specific category, especially myself, but I probably fall into the reader/follower category unless I’ve strongly related to or felt a deep connection with someone.

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    1. Random Bits, I often say “define your terms” and the results of these polls brought that into my mind. I’m good at keeping my expectations in line with reality, so, like you, I don’t expect tit for tat in blogging relationship. Nor do I expect everyone to agree with everything I say [how boring would that be?], so I just write my truth, in the moment.

      I thought that Reader would be the agreed upon term here, but that didn’t happen. It’s fascinating to understand how people think about each other based on behaviors that we all see and interpret differently.

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  19. My-oh-my Ally you sure have a gift for raising thought-provoking issues worthy of further discussion; ideally over a good bottle of wine 😉
    I think you nailed it about expectations playing a big role, and how those expectations can lead to disappointment. These days I try to keep my expectations to a minimum and just appreciate whatever time and support others can give and then try to reciprocate when and where I can.
    I will say that there are a fair number of the bloggers that I’ve met in person, and some I haven’t met (but hope to one day) that I do consider friends.
    For the rest, I’d prefer to call them ‘readers’. It feels less presumptuous to me than referring to them as ‘followers’. However, if I had 50,000 people following the blog it would be a different story because no one could possibly hope to offer an equal amount of reciprocal blog support to that many people.
    But then again, 90% of my blog is about a photo challenge that requires others to do as I do and follow a few of my rules, so is it really accurate to call them ‘readers’? Hmm…you see, now you’ve got me introspecting and it’s still way too early in the day for wine 😀

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    1. Norm, you got me chuckling here. I agree that using the term Reader, which I’ve been doing for years, seems less presumptuous than Follower. I do the same thing as you do when it comes to my expectations about bloggers and the time I have to give to blogging. I appreciate any and all comments that come my way, while doing my best to check-in with/read/comment on the blogs of my Readers on a [less and less] regular basis.

      You’re in a different blogging situation than I am because as you pointed out 90% of your blogging revolves around challenges. It’s amazing that you can host those, but I don’t know if that makes you a leader with Followers– although I guess it does even if you consider them Readers.

      From what I can tell there are no hard and fast definitions when it comes to this issue, but my observation is that when someone gets discouraged with blogging it’s often because they don’t understand the relationship they have with the people who pay attention to them.

      And on that note… *cheers* 🍷

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  20. Interesting how differently we interpret the words, followers, friends, readers. To me, “friend” has a deeper meaning – an interconnectivity, a give and take relationship – and I do feel that some of the bloggers I “follow” have become digital friends, at least, and are people I would enjoy meeting in real life. I had not looked at “follower” as a control term at all – simply someone who “follows” my activities because they choose to, but the interaction may stop there, or with a “like” now and then. I think I write more for me than anything else, but I do love it when it strikes a tone with others, be they friends, followers, or readers. “Readers” is a very good word – now that you have gone into depth with these words, I think I will view those who read my blog and may or may not tap the “like” button as readers, whereas those who comment frequently or otherwise will be either a “reader” or a “friend” – depending on the depth of the interaction and how I relate to them. Interesting where our minds can go if we set them free, isn’t it?

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    1. Carol, I like your idea of interconnectivity when it comes to Friends. That’s a better one word summation of friendship than mine. I’m fond of thinking of all of you as Readers, but will admit that many Readers are now Friends as well.

      I never know what to make of “likes” so I’m not sure how they’d play into the way one defines these terms. While I use the “like” button, usually in conjunction with writing a comment, to me it doesn’t convey much in the way of friendship, just a polite “I see you” as we ships pass in the night.

      I totally agree about freeing your mind and letting new &/or revised thoughts in. I only went down this path after my friend asked me the questions I used in the poll. It’s good to have curious friends, I do believe.

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  21. See, I just said, “Friend,” because Cousin wasn’t an option. In my family, Cousin is kind of your default relationship. Unless you consider yourself older, in which case you’re Aunt or Uncle. In my parlance, “We are friends,” constitutes a statement of relationship. “I’m your friend” means I’m kindly disposed to you. So I can be your friend, even if you hate my guts. If we’re kindly disposed to each other, we’re friends, even if you never come to my blog or I have nothing to say about yours. Not YOURS yours, obvs, but the generic “yours”.

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    1. marian, it’s been fun to learn how different people define Friend. Most as a noun, a few as a verb. Some with specific expectations of how the relationship will work out, others with a more generalized understanding of the term in a larger context. Whatever works for you, eh? All I know is that I like having Friends! 😊

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  22. And after all this, does your “friend” have the answer to their question or are they more thoroughly confused? I do “follow” but I think what I’m following are the subjects (scrapbooking, crafting blogs), not the writers. When I find a blog that I particularly like, my interaction becomes more personal with comments and an interest in the person themselves, not just their craft. I’m glad I found you, (hopefully I can say friend), through the A to Z of which I am a follower.

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    1. Janet, I haven’t discussed the results of the poll questions with my friend. In the moment when she asked me the questions, I said I had Readers in the Blogosphere. But after all these comments and thinking about it, I consider most of my Readers to be Friends so, you know, my answer is as clear as mud. 🙄

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  23. Here’s my take on it – if you add to my numbers but never comment or like? You’re a follower. If you read and like… you’re a reader. If you read, like and comment on my posts and I read, like and comment on yours… we’re blog buddies. If you read, like, comment and go the extra step to reach out through emails, personal messages, snail mail etc? We could become friends. It’s happened to me a few times. Some people I’ve met in person, some I never will. But what’s the definition of a friend anyway? Some of my blog friends were there for me more than my “real” friends when my mother died. It’s a strange medium… but can be very helpful.

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    1. Rivergirl, you’ve figured out a great way to use all these terms in a system that’s organized and meaningful for you. I agree with you, I’ve often found that bloggy friends are more in tune with who I am than people in real life. I figure that it doesn’t matter where someone is on this earth, as long as they’re sincere and supportive, then I’ll call them Friend.

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  24. Friends, bloggers, countrymen, lend me your eyes. Some become friends. Some are readers. Some are followers. ‘Tis like life, methinks in that way. It’s like a little bloggy microcosm of life. I think the key to non-disappointment is to appreciate them all, in whatever form they come to you, for what they are and what they bring.

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    1. Tara, yes to all you’ve said. I agree with you. I wonder how often, though, people have tightly held preconceived ideas of how things are supposed to be– and that ruins a relationship from the start. Happens in real life, must happen in the blogosphere, too.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I believe it does! Plus, I think it’s easy to get sucked into the social media fixes of likes and all that silliness. It might even be easier online to ruin a relationship than in person, since it’s all text (no nuance) and also the like button clicking factor, etc.

        Liked by 2 people

  25. I don’t remember exactly what I chose for the second question, but I think it was Reader. When I saw the word Friend, I assumed it meant readers who are also your friends IRL. Now if Blog Friend, or, as I like to say, Blog Buddy, was an option, I would’ve opted for that one. But come to think of it, my friends IRL by and large do not read my blog. Isn’t that sad? So I greatly appreciate the blog friendships I’ve made with people I’d otherwise never have known.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Betsy, I like the term blog buddy which has been brought to my attention today– long after the poll closed. I sometimes refer to my readers as my bloggy friends because it sounds cute and is accurate. I, too, appreciate the friendships I’ve made in the blogosphere, feeling they bring joy and perspective to my life. Who would have thought that these kinds of relationships, whatever you call them, would ever exist?

      Liked by 2 people

  26. I’ve never thought about that. It’s a really interesting concept and it’s raised an interesting discussion. Being definitely non-leadership material, Follower makes me squirm even if it is the official term. Instinctively I guess I think of people as Friends in that I carry constant guilt that I’m not reading their blogs. Reader kind of works but it feels presumptive to compare myself to Ms Austen. I’ve always related my posts and the ensuing comment conversation to a dinner party so perhaps I could go with Guest.
    And now after all this talk about people, this introvert needs some alone time….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Master of Something Yet, I never thought about any of this until my friend asked me to explain terms in the blogosphere. I am not a leader nor do I fancy being a follower so I understand your take on those terms. I think of people as Readers because I’m a pragmatic sort of person who writes things that people read. I adore your idea of Guest. That puts a whole different spin on the relationship dynamics within the blogosphere, a term everyone seems to agree on– unlike the Reader/Follower/Friend conundrum.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Hi!

    This sparked an interesting conversation I’ve been having with myself. I’ve met some great people in the blogosphere and it all happened as a result of meeting Donna from retirementreflections.com and one thing led to another. I wouldn’t have come across your blog without having met her one serendipitous day while she vacationed in the California desert and we said hi to each other across from a yoga mat.

    I love supporting other bloggers because I personally know how hard it is to get support from my own family and friends. Which leads me to the conversation I’ve been having in my head and this may be completely off topic 🙂 :

    A friend went on a big 3 month trek to down under with her husband, and hubby started a travel blog. I wanted to support him in his writing (because as a writer, I know that support is a highly desirable thing. If one writes, doesn’t one yearn to have his/her words read?) I read each one of his long and detailed travel blogs with great interest (and they were fun to read I must add) and I would offer up a positive comment on each submission. During those 3 months, he only responded once. I’m not sure if he understands the unwritten (or is it written rule hee hee) that if someone takes time out of their day to read your long blog, and offers up a supportive comment, wouldn’t it be nice to offer up a “simple thanks for reading”? Is that too much to ask 🙂

    Okay, thanks for letting me vent! I guess we bloggers all have a learning curve (I know I did) and although I try to answer each and every person who reads and comments on my blog, I can’t expect everyone else to operate the way I do. Live and let live; how important is it? But darn, I feel dissed. ha ha ha.

    Feeling better now that I have that off my chest.

    Susan Grace

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Susan, I’d feel the same way as you do about this newbie travel blogger husband guy. I don’t care how well someone writes, blogging is about connections and support. It’s just bad manners to ignore, or marginalize, the comments you left him. If he’s unwilling to engage with you, a person he knows, then he needs to close the comment section. Think about how he’ll come across to strangers!

      Early on in my blogging career a wise woman told me that if you don’t have interactive comments on your blog, it’s not a blog. It’s a website. Nothing wrong with a website, mind you. But it doesn’t imply any sort of relationship with your Readers/Followers/Friends [whichever term you like].

      I often say Live and Let Live, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t have some personal boundaries that shall not be crossed. 🤨

      Liked by 2 people

  28. Thank you – you understand and now I feel better! I could share some personality traits about the man who is married to my friend; but I won’t because you’ve already intuitively picked up on them! 😉

    Bless you,
    Susan Grace

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marian, I had no idea there was a right and wrong way to spell blogosphere. I learn more things here in my comment section.

      So you’re on Team Friend– with followers and lurkers. Don’t you love the nuances of this issue? As long as you’re happy with how people treat you and don’t feel disappointed by them, then I believe any term is good. But oh my, the comments 😳

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Fascinating post. I have pondered this myself, but without attaching terms to the different types of bloggers/readers. It also has to do with the purpose of one’s writing. Is it to make money or advertise? Then followers are more common. However, I got into it to share my life, feelings and activities(not just for others, but for myself), and to discover connections and interesting people. Thus, I could never imagine NOT commenting on a blog I read, and would be a bit nonplussed(although not surprised) if a blogger I read didn’t comment at all on my posts. Blogging/social media etiquette has most certainly changed though…and not always for the better.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Margaret, I never thought about this in-depth before. Your idea that your purpose for writing your blog influences how you envision your relationships is interesting. No doubt you’re right. I tend to comment on all the blogs I follow but some people still write daily posts and I can’t comment on everything they say. But I’m there in spirit. I like the idea that we’re all Readers. That’s the term I thought would win the prize, but I underestimated how nuanced this conversation can be.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Ok AB, I am on an airplane drinking wine…I’ll have to focus on this one in a few days!! You are making me think too hard right now. Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Just got off plane after said glass of wine, one side of my dress was hiked up on one of my hips under my backpack. Awesome. Maybe that wine wasn’t such a good idea! 😂😂😂

            Liked by 1 person

  31. Wow, you have opened up an interesting topic here Ally. I’ve only interacted with other bloggers for two years next month – in fact the person who first followed me here in the blogosphere, I naively asked why he followed me. (He writes poetry about trees.) After all I’d been here four years already with nary a follower. My e-mail subscribers are/were friends. One has since passed away and she got me interested in blogging. I thought she commented on each post, yet I often pass along former posts to fellow bloggers and don’t see any comment by her on that post. Hmm. Several friends still subscribe via e-mail, only Ann Marie comments regularly. I know the others still subscribe as I checked to see after I wrote about lighthouses twice, since my high school/Facebook friend whose husband is enamored with lighthouses never commented. That sheds some light on friendships outside the blogosphere. I have other friends who are not in the least bit interested in my blog – they figured it is some “fluff” hobby and have never asked for the link and what it’s about. So defiantly I don’t mention it but I take no interest in their hobbies either then. They have no idea of the hours put into the whole blogging experience and I believe non-bloggers don’t “get” it. Today, I met a young woman at the Park; she moved here from California and was trying out the park for the first time and watching me take squirrel photos. What were the pictures for she asked and proceeded to hold up her phone and take the same shots. I mentioned the blog – she showed much interest, then wanted the link. Go figure.

    I have met many wonderful people here on WordPress with whom I have more in common than friends I’ve known for decades. Followers who merely click “like” are just that … “followers” – the people whom you regularly interact with, I would use the moniker of friends. In my Patch blogging group we referred to one another as “blogging buddies” and that sums it up well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda, I know that a few of my irl friends read this blog, but most of the people who I know irl attempt to ignore my blogging career. I don’t let them do that by mentioning what I just wrote about. I figure I take an interest in what they do so I’ll not let them forget what I do. My defiance takes a different form than yours. 😈

      I like [pardon the pun] your explanation of how Followers behave. I think it’s a good way to envision the relationship, but I’m uncomfortable with the idea of me being a leader who they follow. Further thought required on that idea.

      I find that people who gravitate to blogging are people with more emotional depth and life experiences. It’s a medium in which you can do your own thing, while drawing on your own life or interests. Not everyone is comfortable sharing those details with the world so they avoid or shun blogging which is okay by me. But I will not be put in a corner when it comes to my blog. Writing this has been the making of me. Hallelujah!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ally – because you are younger than me, you’re likely in touch with more of your irl friends than I am. I lost touch with my friends from high school until Facebook algorithms brought us together based on hometown, schools, etc. All my friends live out of state now – there is only one I routinely keep in touch with and that is via Facebook. Sadly, the close group of friends from high school, six of us who were inseparable, could barely sustain a conversation for one evening when we reunited five years after high school graduation. So I think in my case, there is not enough in common for people to exert the effort to read my blog. So I march on, to the beat of a different drum, and have no real interest in my faraway friends’ foodie experiences, quilt-making or genealogy forays, no more than they are interested in reading my blog. I have resigned myself to that fact and come to realize that people I once knew have nothing in common but shared school experiences in the moment. I lost touch with college friends and work friends too, but, had there been cellphones and social media, it might have been different.

        You are correct – writing from the heart is not always easy. I never told anyone about my blog for the longest time.

        Like

  32. Such a thought-inspiring post. Well done. I love where you took this.
    So, I agree. I have blogs I don’t miss (even if I’m late) and I think of those bloggers as friends, blogger buddies, people I have a running dialogue with. With other blogs, I am a follower, a reader, one of many ‘fans’. In the same vein, some bloggers follow me and I pop into their world from time to time, but their content isn’t necessarily what I want in a blog. Awkward. True, but awkward.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. joey, you raise a good issue about what to do when someone follows your blog, but you have no interest in what they write about. Awkward is right. I’ve no answer to this issue, but wish I did.

      In the end, my take on blogging relationships and how they evolve is that as long as your expectations are being met and as long as you’re treating other people fairly, then call each other whatever the heck you want. But you know that’s me, a practical sort of person. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Hi, Ally – Your survey, post and comments made me think. Previously, I wasn’t all that conscious of what ‘blog labels’ I was using. I agree with Marty that some words have been tainted for me (like ‘Friends’….thanks, FB). I also agree with Joey et al — I use different terms for different blogs/bloggers depending on my relationship with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Donna, I’d never stopped to analyze these terms before either. I find that I default to the generic term Reader because it has the best explanatory power, but I do think of some bloggers as Friends and a few as Followers [even though I am loathe to refer to myself as a leader]. Fascinating topic overall, but I sense there’s no consensus about which term is the best one, most used. This surprises me, but then many things do about blogging. Kind of why I like it.

      Like

  34. You know, sometimes I start one of your posts wondering where on earth you’ll be taking it — this is one of those. This shows superior analytical skills.
    People in the blogosphere (yes, I choose that one, too) remind me of people IRL. Friends from church (ie. people I see once a week and that’s it) are different from friends from my kids’ school are VERY different from the friends I drink tequila with.
    Nothing confuses the friend/acquaintance/church lady dynamic like too much tequila. Just saying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura, sometimes [most times] I start writing one of my posts and wonder where on earth I’ll be taking it. It’s a surprise for all of us.

      I have no strongly held opinion about which term is the right one, but I do think that how you think about people influences what you’ll expect from them. So it’s best to understand where you’re coming from– especially in the blogosphere where we only know each other via words and images.

      Maybe I should have had Tequila Drinker as one of my options on the poll. Missed an opportunity there, didn’t I?

      Like

  35. Once again, Ally, you’re investigative nature piques my interest and thoughts for the day. I’ve been wondering about this stuff for a long time. And the key factor for me, as a part-time blogger, is TIME. When my self-imposed time slot for blogging efforts stop, and my level of ‘wish-I-could-be-a-better-friend-reader-blogger’ spikes and falls as rapidly as the thoughts about my level of disappointment in myself not being able to keep up with reading and commenting. So I resort to the ‘kindness’ status you described above. That results in only those who visit me first get my undivided attention. (Like you – even though, if I had found you first, and loved your blog, (like I do), and if I had all the time in the world, I’d read your blog first, to see if you’d come visit mine next. So that makes me wonder…Who is the friend first” in blogging, it remains a mysterious conundrum of blogging to me. You’ve got my undivided attention, as a dear blogging friend, this morning. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelley, first thank you for all the kind thoughts about this blog and me. I’m blushing here. I agree that I’m glad we found each other in the blogosphere because kindred spirits need each other. 💕

      You’ve hit the nail on the head with this observation. Considering blogging is a side gig to my real life I, too, have only so much time to devote to it. I do this for fun [and to keep my brain clicking] so I have to hope that my Readers will understand that I’ll do my best to read what they wrote on their blogs, but I got time + energy limits here. Thus while I try to be an attentive Friend, sometimes I’m an interested Follower. Never a Lurker, though– I’m either in or out. [When would I have the time to lurk?]

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, and I’m touched by your appreciation of my words and by our kindred spirits we share here in the blogosphere.
        Your last two sentences sum my blogging efforts too. I appreciate how your comments are genuine and thoughtful/thought-provoking. I so appreciate your ability to inspire with your words of wisdom. Thank you for all you do to keep blogging fun, entertaining, and our brains clicking!!

        Liked by 1 person

  36. As Norm said, you have a talent to bringing up thought-provoking topics. This is a curious one. Non-bloggers don’t ‘get’ the distinction between friends and followers and it appears that even bloggers have different perspectives.

    The point that stuck out for me was the sense of disappointment that happens when bloggers have different expectations about the relationship. I know I’ve been disappointed on several occasions when a blogger I truly considered a friend subsequently disappeared without a word. What kind of friend does that?!! There are a few of them I still wonder about how they are doing 😕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Joanne, yes, yes, yes! I agree and have the same sense of betrayal [?] regarding some former bloggy friendships. I expected a bit more consideration from some people and they just disappeared leaving me hanging, wondering, worried.

      I never thought anything about these terms and expectations until my friend irl asked me about them, but once I got musing on the topic I had to write about it here, my friend.

      Like

      1. I’ve heard from other bloggers who’ve said the same thing. It actually rather hurts, just like a lost friendship in the real world.

        … and yes, you are definitely one of those on the friend list 🙂 It seems to me that we’ve just made an implied pact to never just ‘disappear’ on each other!

        Liked by 1 person

  37. Well, you certainly know how to grab a topic and go with it. 🙂 I must have missed the poll, and I’m sorry about that, but the responses and comments have been very interesting to read. I always think of it as a blogging community and some follow, some read, and some are part of my blogging life. It’s a good thing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Judy, I like your take on this. I agree, blogging is a good thing. I’ve no strong opinions about how anyone envisions the people who pay attention to his or her blog. However many commenters here do have specific thoughts on this.

      I didn’t realize how complex and personal this topic would be when I posted this. I was following up on the poll results, sharing my take on what I saw as significant. I tell ‘ya, if my social media virgin friend hadn’t asked me about what terms I use here in the blogosphere, I’d never have thought to talk about this topic.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. It’s a thought provoking post, Ally. I liked your potential answers. I’m disappointed that no one said they were in Bloglandia. I really liked that one. 😀 Hmmm that could be a great dystopian satire. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Teagan, we all know where we are [the blogosphere], but the poll results suggest that there is no established term for anyone who pays attention to your blog. I use the word Reader because I’m writing here [very literal], but other commenters have reasonable explanations for their preferred term choices, too. Whatever works, works.

      And yes, Bloglandia lends itself to satire. Or comic books. Or sci-fi. Don’t know who coined that term but I like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Enjoyed the results – and I have used “blogland” A few times but blogosphere was, and is, my top word.
    From the comments – I like what zen den said about blog land and found it interesting to see that suggested double g spelling – I say not needed and definitely another exception

    Enjoyed the way you defined terms and I also prefer to say readers – because some readers Of a post are neither follower nor friend – but some can be both…
    And when you say “gentle readers” it has a touch of manners – actually reminds me of the miss manners column where the person responded with “dear gentle reader”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yvette, I rather like Blogland, too. Sorry it’s not the done thing, but I’ll soldier on using Blogosphere. I know I’m repeating myself when I say it makes no difference to me which term you prefer, but for me Readers [or gentle readers] fills the bill. I didn’t know about the Miss Manners connection to that term, but I like it. Do what you want, refer to people as you will, but please be nice about it. That’s my summation of all of this.

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Such good questions!! I missed the poll but I liked reading your breakdown. I think that one can have all three – readers, friends, and followers. I’ve definitely developed friendships with fellow bloggers over time (over time being key) but I can see how the interplay between friend/follower can get fraught.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. katie, yes, I think you’re right. After thinking about this subject [way too much here] I’ve decided that I think of everyone as a Reader, but some become Friends while others remain Followers. [I suspect there are some Lurkers out there as well, but I didn’t think to add them to my original poll.] It’s one of those things that as long as you’re happy with how you interact with other people then it’s all good, but when your expectations go sideways noses get out of joint here in the blogosphere.

      Like

  41. I think this is one of those times when we get to watch a word take on a new meaning. Followers has more, um, followed on from the idea of following someone’s blog, where the word doesn’t, to my ear at least, imply any power imbalance.

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    1. Ellen, I do enjoy seeing language evolve and change, as is the case with the topic of this whole conversation. Many commenters have said what you said, in that they don’t think of followers as anything more than an apt description of what a person is doing when paying attention to your blog. I can go with that, now that I understand it– although I’ll always think of y’all as readers because I’m a writer and that’s what you’re doing here.

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