We’re barely a third of the way through 2021. Yet, my blog has already attracted double its average annual number of followers. There may be some reasons for this. For example, I’m blogging regularly this year. I am also sticking to a theme (writing) rather than random content of things I think certain groups of people might find useful. However, all that random past stuff are what gets my blog the most traffic, not my writing posts. The writing posts barely read by the followers, which is fine. I’m mentioning them to make my point that the vast majority of my blog’s most recent followers aren’t human! Rather, they’re like bots, or templated blogs using the same profile pictures, some cultural variations on a name like all French, and a handful of posts each in a layout! What is up with this, WordPress? This isn’t Instagram!
As someone who cares about meaningful indicators, I’ve long known my number of blog followers isn’t one. If they were and a tenth even read a tenth of my new posts, I would see some with ten times the number of views my new posts get. That, is the more reliable indicator, though I don’t let it persuade or dissuade me from posting more. I’m doing a lot of this writing to get through the bad stuff I must produce before I improve and become a better writer. I’m not naturally talented to just jump in at a decent or high level, so if I don’t do all this deliberate practice, I won’t get anywhere. I should note my deliberate practice are my writing “assignments” that are writing contest entries, in case you were reading this without knowing what I’m doing for my blog. It’s the warm-up to my writing “assignments”, of which the latest is 2 pieces each of 300 words flash fiction and nonfiction. I’m so delighted I was able to get through them rather “quickly”, meaning like a few hours each, averaging 150 final words per hour instead of the 100 or fewer on my longer “assignments” up to now! It’s going to be an excruciating wait to not only get feedback, but until when I can share on my blog to show real readers the difference! 🙂
Back to these “bot blogs”, they feel like the Instagram situation where someone can buy thousands of followers for their accounts, though here, it’s not someone buying followers, but rather someone paying to have a bunch of blogs set up, that follow a huge number of blogs in hopes for a “guilt” or “polite” follow back. That would be an “oh, you followed my blog, I guess I should follow yours in return, even if I’ll never read anything” follow back, in case you didn’t know what i meant. Their “business model”, if I had to guess, would be to get enough followers to seem credible, then do whatever it is they were intending to do with their blogs. Otherwise, I don’t see why a handful of blogs with the same user picture would follow my blog, with a handful of these bundles of such blogs.
Whatever it is that’s going on, I have to say I’m disappointed in WordPress for allowing these. I know it’s hard to catch, and if they weren’t scamming people, then there’s no harm and thus, no incentive to work to remove them at the risk of removing some legitimate work. But it seems to be spam WordPress has no filter for catching. Oh well, maybe I’ll just chill and be delusional to enjoy all my recent bot followers as if they were real. How harmful can that be? 🙂