According to LJ’s home page, there are currently more than 28 million LiveJournal blogs and communities around the world, with about 160 thousand blog posts made just yesterday. That’s an awful lot of people and an awful lot of blog posts. So (assuming that’s your goal) how do you get more of those 28 million bloggers to take an interest in your own journal?
Everyone’s different, and what works well for one person might not be suitable for another, but I do believe there are some blogging tactics which are pretty much universal in their effectiveness (or lack of it).
A good number of folks want to use their LJ blog (at least in part) as a self-promotional tool, so I thought it might be useful to do a series of posts examining some of those ‘tactics’ in more detail. We’ll start with one of my favorites:
THE “LJ FRIEND” THING
Unlike (say) Facebook, where both sides have to agree, it’s possible for someone to ‘Friend’ you on LiveJournal – and thereby read all your blog entries (at least the ones which aren't locked) – without you ever having to return the compliment. However, from a self-promotional point of view, I don’t think it’s a good idea to take (what in the vast majority of cases is) a friendly gesture from someone and turn it (however unintentionally) into the online equivalent of ignoring the offer of a handshake.
When someone I don’t know adds me to their f-list, I take it as a compliment, I check out their journal, and friend them right back. If someone comments on my journal, or joins my FindAWritingGroup community, or responds to a comment I left on their blog, I almost always friend them too.
“Why should I friend people back? I didn’t ask them to friend me.”
True, but assuming they’re real people (even if they haven’t commented on your blog yet, a quick look at their profile and blog page will tell you if they’re genuine), where’s the harm?
“I’m doing just fine as it is. Besides, I don’t blog to make friends, I blog to keep people informed about my work.”
That’s your choice, of course, but remember those 28 million LJ accounts? Trust me, if all you’re going to do is talk at people, not only will you have a hard time getting folks to listen, the ones that do will get bored, fast.
For what it’s worth, I’ve enjoyed reading work by many of my online writer friends, but aside from r/l folks I’ve met through writing groups and conferences, I’ve yet to add anyone to my f-list whose name and/or work was already known to me.
“But I can’t keep up with the posts on my f-list as it is.”
That’s a valid concern, but if you’ve got a huge f-list, folks will understand that you might not be able to read their blogs, especially if you put a note to that effect in your profile.
Besides, LJ now has a brilliant f-list filter facility, which allows you to choose which LJ friends’ journal entries you want displayed on your friends page.
“What if we don’t get along? I don’t want to have to unfriend someone.”
Unless you really want to, you never need to unfriend anyone. Just filter them out (as described above). Let’s face it, if you don’t get along, you won’t be commenting on each others’ blogs anyway, so who’s going to know?
In case you’re wondering, I currently read all but about eight people on my f-list – the most common reasons for filtering people out are foul mouthed ranting, regular obscene language and/or consistently ignoring mine and other people’s comments.
Of course, this is just my opinion. What do you think?
When you friend people on LJ, then make regular comments on their blog posts, do you notice/care if they don’t friend you back?
Does it affect your opinion of him/her?
Does it put you off reading their books/stories in the future.
Next time on “Blogging Tactics”, we’ll take at look at comments and how (I believe) they can have a huge impact on both your readership and your f-list, in the meantime:
How about you?
What’s your policy on ‘friending’?