Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I have never been a big joiner, even in causes I believe in; I have to steel myself to join things.  I tend to be the type that thinks if you join have to JOIN it. Joining means to me that you will go to the meetings, setup for the events, volunteer to do the boring stuff that the other members tend to avoid.  You will be active and not just lend your name or a few dollars to the cause, club, institution.  As a result of this Puritanical attitude, I tend to avoid joining the majority of things that come my way.

My Master Gardener program requires 40 hours of volunteer/leadership work the first year.  You are committed to the cause of sharing the gardening experience whether you like it or not.  You can count the monthly meetings and the time spent driving to and from places.  Since January I have put in about 10 hours.  This week I am committed to several errands and an event which will add another 4 or 5 hours of my time.  Of course, as spring commences, gardeners are needed everywhere.  I was talking to a fellow MSTG (Master Gardener) and she said when she first started her project, there were few places to volunteer time in our rural area.  Over the past few years, many more opportunities have developed.  I am guessing this is due to baby boomers nearing retirement and looking for things to do and thus creating community gardens for areas.  I must say that our business meetings are certainly energetic and the last one had about 30 attendees!

While I was thinking of this process of joining I recently noticed new joiners (followers) to my blog(s).  I do not know how they found their way here in most cases.  I do not know if they even read my blog, because many do not comment on posts or comment only once.  I keep thinking that sometimes bloggers like to collect followers like friends on FB.  No communication is involved.  It is just a collecting thing.

I have two lists I follow in blogging.  Sometimes I "follow" the blog on their page and then that blog shows up on the Blogger Dashboard page if they have made a recent post.  The other way is the old-fashioned way of creating a link to the blog in the html code of the my blogs design which then shows up in my sidebar of my blog page when they post.  This I still tend to do more often than the former.  I keep forgetting the other list.  Many on this second list have drifted off into the digital black hole of neglect.  They started writing with the best of intentions and then blogging lost its appeal or they were using it as a tool to sell something and not really blog, or life and living got in the way.

My concern  has become that this following of blogs is just like joining.  My lists are getting long and I feel an obligation to read the majority of the posts of blogs I follow.  (Although I am not talking about your blog, of course, I head there first every time!)  I do not want to hurt anyone's feelings although I do not always feel a need to comment on the post, and as cute as that kitten is, I really have no time to read about it.

These blogger lists are somewhat like my speedwell plant that I posted about on my other blog.  It is lovely, interesting, and in the beginning a most compelling plant.  But then it spreads and becomes a maintenance issue and must be tended, and the fun starts to fade a little and obligation rears its hard head.

Do any other bloggers face this concern?  How do you deal with it?  I bet most of you are this all just silliness on my part?


  1. It's like you read my mind as I sat down to the computer this morning. I was thinking, I really have to find a way to limit this time or the whole day will go by while I sit here reading and commenting. Yet, here I sit...

  2. I used to think that I had to give return comments on any blog that left one on mine, but now that I have a lot more followers, I see that it isn't practical. Sometimes I think I ought to visit every person who follows my blog, but there are not enough hours in the day for that (and Facebook too) so I don't worry about it anymore.

  3. I'm not a joiner either. You will seldom find me listed as a "follower." The blogs I read are listed on my blog and that's it. I don't 'collect' blogs to read. I also do not 'collect' followers, for the very reason you mention.

  4. You are so funny.

    Me. I just write even if I say nothing at all. That's not a good attitude, but there I am.

    I don't follow. Just links, please, mam. Most folks I read don't read me anyway. :) Of if they do, they don't leave notes.

  5. "My concern has become that this following of blogs has become just like joining". I suppose for many bloggers "out there"--it is. George Carlin had a thing or 2 to say about groups and joining. Won't quote him here as he is rather blunt. You can probably google it tho.

    It is your blog Tabor. You don't have an obligation to put in those extra 4 or 5 hours a week to keep up your end of the "contract". If others want to have 100s of blogging "friends" let 'em have at at.

    I can't remember how I came across your writings. Been readin' for long time tho. Rarely comment. You are an articulate thoughtful writer. Something that is rare. And you take great photos!

    Don't let my words go to your head! And no--you do not have to comment on my comment.

  6. I understand and feel the same way. Many blogs I read and do not comment and others I do.
    I write and post images because I like to. During the winter months more time and now that Spring arriving in my new/old location and I a really feel the aging process - do not know what I will do.

  7. I subscribe to blogs in Google Reader. I can read the full post there unless a blogger only allows the first few lines to appear, as I do and as you do on this blog. If I don't feel I have anything to add to the comments, I won't even click on over to the page. I do read a LOT of blogs though, and comment on most of what I read if I have the time and interest. I don't use the Follow tool when the Reader suffices.

  8. I am an itinerant blog reader - I have a list of favorites and try to get to them all in a given day but like yours, my list has grown so that there are not enough free hours in the day to read them all. Come summer and nice weather and I will have even less time to read, comment, and/or post. I solve the problem by reading when I can, commenting when I'm moved, and writing posts in my head just to keep in practice ;)

  9. I read and comment on most days. But I limit myself to two hours. So there you have it. I can usually catch all that I follow this way in the week.
    Hugging you

  10. women tend to do general life blogs and men write on a topic until they're done then quit, or get hired to blog for someone. I don't think that's sexist. I could do a head count.

    Sometimes I think I'll quit because comments are going the way of the dodo and traffic drops but then, it's for me. And I'd rather have no comments than people who ignore all I've said and say, "have a great weekend. please visit me." ugh. rudeness isn't just for real life.

    If people blog but don't read any blogs I wonder about how they converse face to face...not that anyone can keep on top of the stack of reading that comes at digital speed.

  11. Lonely Rivers was born a couple of years ago - just a few thoughts here and there. I never had any expectation of readership...but while snowed in one Christmas, I suddenly got a comment from Ernestine (One Woman) and it was THRILLING! Then along came Ralph, and Helen and Tabor and Maggie and a few others and suddenly without joining anything I was caught up in the lives and intersts of new virtual friends. Though I only post randomly, I worry any day One Woman doesn't post - I check in on her every day as if she were my long time next door neighbor. I keep track of Maggie and the Geezer and I marvel at the Tabor photos and smart thinking and profound reflections. I am charmed by the fact that Helen and I can sing the same old GS songs, and that Ralph sings,cooks, and builds community wherever he goes. I don't spend enough time on the computer to feel burdened by the blog world. Tabor, I never miss one of your posts and I always appreciate your comments. It's just like real life, we get to choose who we hang out with!

  12. I have quit joining because I am the same kind of joiner you are. I feel the need to volunteer because others don't. Now I believe I will look to join the clubs you are already in so I won't have to do anything:)

  13. I don't like to join things either. But being involved with Master Gardening sounds so worthwhile: educational and satisfying. Sometimes blogging can be these things too, but you can only do so much of it.

    I find the Followers widget somewhat disconcerting: all of those faces looking expectantly at me!! I love them but won't show them in my sidebar!

  14. I have a pathetically slow computer (bought new 10 years ago), n so will not follow anyone or complicated my page html with stuff that slows it down. Someday, when I get a new machine...

    I go crazy keeping up with blogs! Luckily most folks only post a few times a week- n once "befriended" I always return. I pick a few per day to visit, n limit myself to one to two hours.
    I usually borrow Lynn's sidebar list to see who posted!
    I enjoy the responding coment exchange due to spending most of my time alone.

    Eventually I put up a sidebar link for repeat commenters.

  15. Oh Tabor, You hit the nail on the head this morning... I only have one blog--but have about 375 followers.. I truly do not know at least half of these people. That is why I pay NO attention to who is following...

    Comments are more important to me. Even that gets hard since sometimes I get a ton of comments...

    I want to 'return' the comment --and try to, but it gets very hard. I could spend 24/7 right here on the computer --but that is not healthy either. This time of year, I need and want to be in the YARD.

    That is one reason I quit blogging on weekends and holidays. I also don't blog when we are on vacation. Taking these blog breaks HELPS... AND --I don't try much anymore to catch up with the blogs I miss. It's just TOO much....

    I am like you.. I will only JOIN if I have made a commitment to be totally involved. I think many people just "join" for the heck of it. Kinda like "if you follow me, I'll follow you"!!!! That does come from Facebook I'm sure...

    Oh well---I've blabbed enough and probably didn't even answer your questions... ha

  16. This is funny because it's exactly why I did not become a follower of anybody and don't have those who have chosen to follow my blog listed alongside it which means I don't even know who follows it. I do think that you expand follower lists by adding people to your own but am not sure because for the exact reason you mentioned, I didn't do it. I wouldn't possibly want to read a long list of blogs everyday. What works for me is the updated list that I have alongside my blog. It is both advertisement for my readers to find blogs they might not have heard of or subjects that interest them and it lets me know when a regular poster at my blog has a new one up. I have a few blogs listed who have never listed me but if I think their blogs are of interest to others and I enjoy reading them, I list them anyway.

    I am also not a joiner except under duress and for something I really believe in. Master Gardener might have come under that category if I had lived in town where it was feasible-- or if i do live in town again someday.

    My daughter is a Master Gardener and she did her project back in Georgia by planting a Early American garden for a museum in a space that had nothing. Fascinating and fun project for her and being an anthropologist/archaeologist, she knew how to do it.

    I liked this topic a lot as it's something I have also thought about.


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