This morning I read a post on Marian's Roots and Rambles about dealing with people you don't know following you (Twitter) or adding you to their circles (Google+). What is proper etiquette? Should you automatically follow back? Check them out first, and then decide? What would be your reasons for not following someone back? Marian was concerned that this someone (who is a quasi-celebrity) who followed her (circled her?) had done so simply to get more followers of their own as people follow back. If Marian follows her back, does this imply some level of endorsement of that person? Marian then discussed her relationship to the genealogy "world" and a certain protective feeling about it, and that protection might mean not wanting to appear to endorse someone, or through allowing them to add her to their circles, to give the appearance of endorsing someone. It might help to know that in Google+, shared circled people (followers/followed) are normally visible.
My stance is that on Google+ and Twitter, if I don't recognize the name, I always check out who follows me, check their profiles and some activity. If it looks entirely self-promoting, or is offensive to me, I block and report the individual. If it's someone who I just have little or nothing in common with, I usually allow the follow, but do not follow back. I don't need ten thousand followers. I might have 150 friends on Facebook. I place a higher value on a smaller number of good friends than I do on endless streams of acquaintances or even less worthwhile connections. If we have something in common, like Genealogy, or science fiction or photography or... then I follow back and correspond. It's voluntary social media, not an obligation. It's a lot like if I meet you out in town. If you shove advertising in my face, I'm not likely to hang out with you. Likely, if you're inviting me to a quilting circle, I'm not going to be very interested in hanging out. But if you want to go shoot some pictures of stuff, we just might be spending some time together.
I have many more interests than genealogy. It seems to me like most genealogy bloggers tend to have that as a major focus of their lives, and that's simply not where I'm at with it. I do genealogy as a hobby and for my own family history, and the blog I write is just an offshoot of that. I don't feel any special "membership" of the Genealogy Blogging Community(tm) other than to be flattered when others take note of something I've written. I read the blogs because they either have something to teach that I wish to learn, or have information about people and places of interest to me, or in some cases because I like the writer's style and humor.
As I write this, I'm wondering if that will garner me some ill will, or at least cause some of you to stop reading my blog posts. And then I wonder if that matters much to me, given what I just said about not feeling any membership in the community. I think it would bother me more in that any blogger writes to be read by others, and I enjoy it when others get some useful information or entertainment out of something I write, so I would prefer not to lose readers. Some of the comments I've received have been very positive in stating that things I've written have been informative to others. At the end of the day, that's why I blog!
This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2011 by Daniel G. Dillman