Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Follower City

Cheeky Secret #3
Put a Face On Your Followers
Of all the widgets Blogger offers, my favorite is the "Followers" widget. Since I first started blogging, I've utilized it on my site. I adore seeing the faces of friends new and old who like what I'm doing enough to publicly commit themselves as mine. In the early days especially, their visible support gave me strength and courage to keep blogging. Whenever I published a new blog, and clicked the link to view my page, I would see handfuls of people who entrust a few minutes of their day with me. Using the Followers widget encourages me to do create read-worthy posts for my regular readers and inspired me to keep working, even when I feel tired and uninspired. Even today, with more than seven hundred followers, I look at those pictures every time I log onto my blog. I notice when I lose a follower, I rejoice when I gain one. I click on their links, I try to learn their stories, I feel so grateful for everyone of those seven hundred faces who greet me when I hop online.
The Followers widget is also useful. It offers quick access to some of your loyal readers. I love knowing that I can easily find and access several of my favorite people's sites from my blog own page. There have been many times that I'll think, "now I know I read that somewhere..." I'll find myself perusing through my followers profile pictures to find the one I was thinking of. It's a lovely, simple way to locate and contact other bloggers, if needed.
There is another reason to use the Followers widget and I'll share it with you via visual. Last week, my husband came home from his evening job as a Sociology instructor at our community college andshared with me one of the videos he'd used that day in class. It's called the Asch conformity experiment and you can catch a glimpse of it here:

This "power of the group" is one of the reasons I share the Follower's button as a "secret." Consider this:

-When a new reader visits your blog, you have only moments to hook them to your cause. They won't spend enough time reading through your archives to find your voice and passion. They'll take a look at your most recent post or two. If they like your posts, or your blog title, or something resonates, they may just come back another time. But, what if during their time on your site, they see that you have 100 or 200 followers? Now they know that Aunt Pip and your Grandma Edna aren't the only one who finds you fascinating and funny. There are hundreds of people who have discovered you and like you enough to regularly stop by and see your latest antics.

-Once in sixth grade, a teacher yelled at our science class so hard her face turned pink and I saw her pop a blood vessel in her eye. After the rant, she stood at the head of the classroom, stonefaced and seething while the rest of us sat in complete.dead.silence. The silence lasted for minutes (hours!) and I knew that someone had to break the silence, else we'd all be stuck there like statues in our seats until our parents came in the dead of night and pried us from our frightened reverie. If that were to happen, there was no doubt in my mind that Ms. Crew would still be there in front of us, staring at us with her icy eyes.

I raised my hand. I could feel my fingers trembling uncontrollably, my breath caught in my throat.

"Yesssss?!" Ms. Crew hissed.

Gathering every ounce of oxygen I could suck in from that lifeless room, I whispered, "I think we're all ready to proceed with the lesson now. Thank you for correcting us."

"Very well," she remarked then turned toward the board and began teaching the lesson as if nothing had happened. We all breathed a collective sigh of relief. It took a full five minutes to catch my breath and still my fluttering heart. Saying that single sentence was one of the most frightening moments of my whole life. Me, lifting voice and hand high above a quiet crowd.

This is the second lesson of the Followers widget. Despite our greatest grown-up intentions, it's sometimes scary to do things alone. You feel so oddly conspicuous. So open to prying eyes (so accessible to spitting teachers). When a box full of blog Followers sits atop your blog, it offers a community welcome to anyone else who may consider joining.

-Which leads me to the biggest Cheeky Secret of the day: place your Followers widget in the upper left hand corner of your blog. If you don't have an upper left hand corner, place it in your upper right hand corner. Having it one of those locations works wonders. Why? Because of the power of the group but ALSO because of the power of suggestion. When a potential reader sees your Followers widget, they now have the option to put their face up there with others who like your blog.

The very best thing about the Followers widget? It doesn't just offer you as a blogger benefits, but extends a helping hand to your followers, as well. When a reader becomes a follower via your widget, their profile picture will (for a time, at least) be posted in the most visible location on your blog. This means that a direct link to their profile and site can be accessed by any interested reader who visits your site. And, who knows, maybe--just maybe--that reader will become a follower of one of your followers.

See, group conformity can be a beautiful thing!

Happiest Blogging, Friends.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

I am trying to learn as much as I can here. This is such awesome advice--and makes so much sense.