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.

In Which I Show You Who You Are & Ask You Two Questions

I MADE THIS DANDY BAR CHART that summarizes who reads this blog.  I created it using data provided by you, my commenters, after you took the SW COLOR ID quiz [that I wrote about HERE] and told me your results [in the comments].

As you may recall, after taking the quiz SW described each personality type in short pithy sentences.  And you know I do like a pithy sentence so here is all of that information in one place.

  • Naturalist [40%]: I let in the fresh air.
  • Minimalist [17%]: I find joy in the little things.
  • Creative [14%]: I make it my own.
  • Nurturer [14%]: I bring people together.
  • Trendsetter [6%]: I walk with confidence.
  • Free Spirit [3%]: I create my own path.
  • Dreamer [3%]: I take it all in.
  • Enthusiast [3%]: I jump in with both feet.

I realize the above is more statistical than my usual flapdoodle and twaddle, but I found it interesting to see the diversity of personality types, and the percentage of said, that engage here in the comments on The Spectacled Bean.

Or to put it differently: you, kids, are an eclectic bunch of wordy wackos who I believe have your hearts in the right place. Thank you for commenting here. You bring joy to my life.

• • ❤️ • •

HERE’S SOMETHING I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT.  Even though I’ve been doing this forever I’m not sure about how to refer to some things regarding weblogs.  I don’t want to be pedantic, nor do I want to sound like an old codger using antiquated terms.

I’m a wordy girl so this concerns me.  Thus I created the following two polls because I’d like to know your answers to these quandaries.

Thank you in advance for your kind participation.

1930s Slang: How Do You Say Very Good?

What’s your story, morning glory?

This is today’s silliness, it being the last day of April and all.  Wave good-bye to April.  Busy month for me.  Did different things for the heck of it.

Case in point, out of curiosity I did some genealogical research about ye olde family and in the process I, once again, stumbled over something entertaining.

In that wordy historical way I like.  Bumping gums and a ring-a-ding-ding I say.

What I found is Dirty 30s!, a fun website with a long list of slang terms from, you guessed it, the 1930s.

Reading through this list gave me an idea of how my ancestors spoke to each other.  You shred it, wheat.  Or I assume that they did.  I mean, they probably used slang, right?  No reason to believe that they spoke in scholarly language all the time.

[Well, one did write a book that landed on the NYT best seller list in the 1930s but he must have at least known these words and phrases.  Togged to the bricks, that one.]

Anyway, below I present for your entertainment a simple little poll about the word GOOD.  My theme for the day, it would seem.  I could do worse. Good is good.

Thus I ask of you to shake a leg and use your peepers because you’ve got a poll to take.

[Slang words and phrases defined in comment section below.]

Just The Facts: The Results Of My ‘How Am I Doing?’ Survey

Thanks to everyone who took my How Am I Doing? survey [now closed].

You’re the best and overwhelmed me with your kind answers.  I wasn’t fishing for compliments with this survey;  I was challenging myself to see if I could write one.  Then on a whim I decided to share it here for the fun of it.

At one point in my life I worked in marketing research so I’m familiar with the process of collecting data from respondents.  Below I’ve categorized it into three parts.

 I also know that once you collect the data, interpretation is a whole ‘nother thing.  Spin it the way you want. So with that in mind, and me being me, I’m spinning this funny, because honestly some of your answers were a hoot.

• • •

PART 1

What I learned about you:

  • 90% of you write a blog
  • 50% of you like to goof off on social media in the blogosphere;  followed by YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
  • 60% of you were very likely to recommend this blog to friends and family
  • 90% of you thought the survey was cool beans

• • •

PART 2

How you answered two specific questions regarding this blog:

These responses were straightforward and clear to interpret.  No further explanation required.

This is where things got complicated because over half of you used “Other” when responding to the question.  Some of you said that there was nothing you disliked so you were using “Other” to tell me this.  Some of you who clicked on “Other” made suggestions about my writing style and graphic design.  And one respondent said that using “Other” was the only way to show that all the choices were applicable to this blog.

• • •

PART 3

Here are some of your responses when asked what comes to mind when you think about this blog:

  • Ohio
  • A red kidney bean dressed like Elton John
  • Ooh, what will Ally Bean say today?
  • Engaging, enjoyable blog. Funny without trying too hard.
  • oh, shit, I haven’t read that spectacled blog in awhile. I better go catch up!
  • Beans 🙂
  • Lovely variety of slice of life topics.
  • A string bean wearing glasses. But also humorous posts and genuine connection with others.
  • My bloggy friend for years now
  • Flapdoodle

• • •

The One About Birdbaths, The Path You Choose, & A Survey About My Blog

Over the weekend we went to a garden decor center to look at birdbaths for my butterfly habitat.  There is no end to the exciting things we do here.  In fact I sometimes hesitate telling you, my gentle readers, what we’re up to because I don’t want to make anyone jealous.

We didn’t find a birdbath that’ll work for us because it’s early in the outdoor season here so the selection was minimal– and because the ones available required electricity which we don’t have where I want to put a birdbath.

But we had a nice time walking around the property in the sunshine.  YAY SPRING! 😎

+ • + • + • +

In the parking lot of this garden decor center is a sign that directs you one way or the other.  You can either meander down the Scenic Route that wraps around the front of the property where there are displays of ponds + fountains + birdbaths to give you an idea of what you might want to do in your yard.  This path is kind of artsy fartsy.

Or you can use the Main Entrance and go directly to the merchandise in the back of the property where it’s organized in large quadrants of similar items.  This is where the helpful sales people are ready to get you all squared away.  This path is fast and practical.

Scenic route or main entrance?  Those are your choices at the garden decor center.  And it seems to me, an English major who can find meaning in anything, those are often your choices in life.  Which begs the question:

WHICH WAY IS YOUR USUAL CHOSEN PATH: MEANDER OR DIRECT? Hmmm…? 🤔

+ • + • + • +

On a whim yesterday afternoon I created a free survey about this blog using SurveyMonkey.  Having never done anything like this before, I followed their suggestions about the questions to include.

There are seven questions that according to them will take you 1 minute to answer.  Trust me when I say that it took me longer than 1 minute to make this survey– learning curve, kind of steep.

I have my *fingers crossed* that this is going to work.  Also, you’ll be anonymous.  There are no demographic questions and I won’t know your IP address.

Click on HOW AM I DOING? to be magically transported to my survey, should you care to take a minute of your time and answer my questions.  Thank you in advance for your kind participation in my first online survey. 🤓

SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED.

Just Curious: Tell Me, What’s Your Least Favorite Holiday?

This is a question I’ve pondered lately.  Everyone I know is quick to tell me about holidays they like, but rarely do I find myself in a conversation about a holiday someone does not like.

So I made this poll, basing my answers on my Judeo-Christian Middle Class American experiences.  I know that around the world there are lots of other holidays than the ones I listed here, so if your least favorite holiday is not on my list you may add it to the poll using the “other” category.

If you, my gentle readers, want to tell me why a particular holiday is your least favorite, the comments below are the place to do it.  Certainly everyone has one holiday that bugs them while everyone else around them is enjoying it.

Tell me about it!

Revisiting The Strawberry Shortcake Controversy, Asking For Your Preferences

I READ AN ARTICLE that said one of the best approaches to writing a blog post is to write about something controversial. Readers will respond. Discussions will ensue.

Give attitude, get attention.

I believe there’s a truth to this approach.  I say that because years ago [like maybe 10-12?] I wrote a post about making Strawberry Shortcake for dessert.

Welp, my small readership at the time went bonkers telling me how I was doing it wrong. That my preferred Strawberry Shortcake combination was not the amazeballs that I thought it was.

I got comments disagreeing with me on that post for over a year. No exaggeration.

~ ~ 🍓 ~ ~

NOW THAT IT’S MAY, I’m thinking about making Strawberry Shortcake.  In fact I’m going to stop by a local farmers’ market today where I might find some delicious local strawberries to use in said dessert.

Thus, in an attempt to make the perfect Strawberry Shortcake ever, I have created the following three polls in which we will determine what you, my gentle readers, consider to be the perfect Strawberry Shortcake.

Yes, I’m crowdsourcing this recipe.

To wit, considering your own preferences please complete the sentences that begin each poll.  Then if you, my gentle readers, care to chat about Strawberry Shortcake, or anything else, leave a comment below.

As usual, thanks in advance for your prompt attention regarding this matter.

~ ~ 🍓 ~ ~

POLL # 1

POLL # 2

POLL # 3