A few days ago I received an e-mail from a fellow blogger asking me to take a look at their site. Nothing out of the ordinary so far. Ever since starting The Art of Blogging last year, I receive a couple requests like that via e-mail and/or comments on a daily basis.
Usually, I do not have the time or the energy to offer free feedback. Most of my time is spent writing the content I share on this blog and working with those who want to be my clients.
But, well, I clicked on the link I was provided, to discover that the blog in question was very new.
Seven or so blog posts, every single one of them the definition of overshare. Lots of personal information about someone I didn’t personally know. I managed to go through three of those posts, and then left the blog without subscribing, feeling like a stranger had knocked on my door, walked into my living room, sat down on my couch, and politely asked me to give them a kiss.
I strongly believe that it is almost impossible to build a readership without having to engage with other bloggers, however you need to be aware of the proper way to do this.
Begging strangers for attention would never work in real life, right? Well… don’t you think commenting on other people’s blogs that they should visit your own site is not only disrespectful, but also shows a lack of social intelligence?
In real life, in this online world, we need to build rapport with another human being, develop an emotional connection, and spend some time getting to know one another.
If I do not know who you are, if you never commented on any of my blog posts before, and you ask me to visit your blog and offer you feedback, which means that I’ll have to spend way more time on your blog than you did on mine, what do you think is going to happen?
As a rule of mine, I never even approve comments that include links to other blogs. Just because I can, and because I feel cheated, as if the purpose of that comment is to make me (and some of my readers) click on that link.
I am well aware of the fact that that’s what we do. We are social in the hopes of getting something out of it.
What do you think would happen if a man walked up to a woman and told her they should have sex right away?
What I’ve always loved about blogging is the ability to connect on a deeper level with other people and to form relationships with them. However this takes time and perhaps bloggers need to keep in mind some of the principles of “courting” in case they do not want everyone to think of them as jerks.
The fact that this is not real life doesn’t mean that the same rules don’t apply anymore. Sadly, if you haven’t put in the effort to become socially calibrated, you’ll find it extremely difficult to interact with others in a proper manner.
Other bloggers and your readers need time to get to know you, build trust, figure out that you’re an actual human being, and arrive at the conclusion that you’re interested in them more than you are in watching your numbers go up.