How to Avoid the Blogging Bubble

Blogging bubbleI never see you on my blog any more…

I received a message from one of my oldest bloggy friends the other day.

The message hadn’t been sent in a nasty or malicious way at all – he was one of the first online friends I made I first started Suzie Speaks almost three years ago and we’ve kept in touch ever since – I value his opinion and it made me take a step back and think.

He was absolutely right.

And then, as if the blogging universe was trying to give me a sign, I read this post by the ever lovely Hugh from Hugh’s Views and News.

Indeed, over the last few months I have fallen prey to what I like to refer to as ‘the blogging bubble‘ – the point where bloggers focus solely on their own little space of the Internet and forget about the potentially millions of similar spaces out there, just waiting to be explored.

Three years ago, I was in a very different place. The blog was a way of coping with a very difficult time, and I churned out post after post of whatever was in my mind at a particular moment, mainly in an effort to mentally establish some sort of order in what seemed like a big mish-mash of nonsense that seemed to be permanently floating around in my brain. My writing was inconsistent and, at times, erratic, but it was solely for me and me alone.

And then, I discovered that people seemed to like my ramblings. I started to receive comments from people who related to a particular post, or who simply wanted to establish a connection, and over time, those connections became friendships. Every single time I received a notification, I felt excited. I started reading their blogs and finding out more about them and their lives – their families, hobbies, interests. I became friends with a trusted few on my personal social media accounts, something that I was extremely careful about. I’ve received Christmas cards from them. I started exchanging emails. I went a step further and met some in real life, at first in my local area and at various conferences, but then at the Bloggers Bash in London last year (which is still one of the scariest and yet most rewarding things I have ever done). I’ve spoken to a few in person via Facebook messenger. I listen to them on blog radio. I’ll be visiting one in May when I go on holiday. I’ve even spent the Eurovision Song Contest with two of my favourite online people in our own little Twitter party. The community has been some of the most supportive group of people I’ve known, and at the risk of sounding melodramatic, getting to know them has been a life changing experience.

Establishing a blog and building a community takes an extraordinary amount of personal time, but the community has also been a huge influence on my posts, and even my stats, and this is something that is often forgotten when all the hard work finally starts to pay off.

As the blog has grown, so has the number of comments I receive, to the point where at times it is difficult to keep up with. After a bad experiences with a troll or two, I keep all comments in moderation until I can approve and reply to them (and I genuinely try to reply to them all), but this can sometimes take time and it irritates a number of people when they don’t get a reply for a few days. But how many posts have I read in the last month or so? Probably about a hundred. And commented on? Probably about fifty, which is nothing in comparison to the hundreds of comments and messages that I receive on a weekly basis across the blog and my social media accounts, many from the same people time after time. Comments that, admittedly, I have started to take for granted.

More importantly, I have certainly noticed that, while I know they still follow and read the blog, there are many of my original community that don’t comment anymore. I know why – it’s because our online relationship became very one-sided, and that’s totally my fault.

A community is not about the stats – my social media has grown to the point where I now receive a consistent amount of daily views regardless of how often I publish a post – it’s about building and maintaining connections with others, and avoiding the blogging bubble.

So, I’ve decided to try and get myself out of the little world I have created for myself and put myself out there… Here’s a few hints and tips that I am now going to start adopting more often into my own blogging activities:

1. Put time in your blogging schedule to reply to all comments as quickly as you possibly can, even if it’s just to say thank you.

2. If you follow a blog, take an interest in it. That doesn’t mean commenting on every single post, reblogging or sharing everything on your social media, but a meaningful and relative message every so often will let the author know that they have your support.

Note: if you adopt the ‘follow for a follow’ policy, it’s pretty much certain that you’ll be following far too many to keep up with.

3. Never take your readers for granted, and appreciate that they may be partly responsible for the growth of your blog…

4. Read a fantastic post? Share it with others on your social media!

What about you guys? Do you get yourself into a blogging bubble? How do you get out of it?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page, my Pinterest page and my Instagram page

169 thoughts on “How to Avoid the Blogging Bubble

  1. It’s such an easy trap to fall into Suzie – Like you, I try to read as many posts as possible, but have to be selective and choose only those that appeal most to save in my To Read Folder as I trawl through 3000+ email notifications each day (I don’t even attempt to use the WordPress Reader or I’d go totally nuts). 🐡

  2. I definitely have trouble reading others posts often and thoroughly enough. I try to drop by and keep up, but I have literally thousands of followers. I can’t keep track of that many people. I try to visit the people who comment whenever I have time, and read several posts. I don’t always have time. I have to take my kids somewhere right now in fact. This is a hard issue, though, and I’m going to ruminate. Cheers.

  3. Almost everyday I go through a few specific tags in the Reader. Sometimes I find some cool posts to read and interact with and sometimes I don’t, but either way I force myself to at least browse blogs I don’t follow and I never have to really worry about Blogging bubbles.

  4. I think it’s something we all struggle with at times – I’ve had to really streamline my email notifications just to keep track of the blogs I follow. Although I always try to respond to comments as soon as I can, I know I’m behind in reading and commenting on other people’s work despite my best efforts. Blogging shouldn’t be stressful and I think you’re right, rather than commenting on everything, a meaningful message once in a while at least lets the other person know you’re thinking of them. I’m still discovering new blogs to follow, which is lovely, though I can sometimes get caught in the bubble, too.

  5. This post comes just at the right time as I was contemplating how to get out of this “bubble”. I try to visit and comment on anyone’s blog if they have commented on mine. If they only “like” then I will visit them and “like” one of their posts. I have no idea how many blogs I “follow” but I know it’s way to many. I never get to visit even half of them.

  6. Have to admit, I’ve been in a bloggy bubble recently … With trying to get a mortgage, working overtime, exercise classes, Therapy and a multitude of other things I feel as though I’ve taken a little step back from the community. This week though I have some time off (due to an injury) so have been catching up and realising how much I miss it! I really need to find more time for it.

    • I’ve had a few days off which has been a good opportunity to catch up a little bit but it’s one of those situations where 24 hours a day wouldn’t be enough to keep ahead of it!

  7. I totally get where you are coming from here Suzie. This is why I never exceed following more than 100 sites. If one of those sites stops posting for several months, they are clipped. Great post!

  8. This really hit home woith me today, Suzie. It was the perfect post at the perfect time. Not only because it helped knowing I’m not the only one who has begun to feel this way, but also in the solutions you offered β€” which mirrored my own. While I’m actually pretty good at responding to comments, I have found that my ability to spend time on other’s sites has waned. While I used to post several times a week, I am cutting back to twice a week to allow more time to read and share. Like you, I’ve met a lot of terrific people through social media, and specifically my blog. Like any relationship worth having, it can’t be a one-way conversation. Thanks for opening that conversation πŸ˜‰

  9. I encourage and foster comments on Facebook. My email account is loaded w/articles others wrote. I let it build up, read the ones that grab me, and do a mass deletion once every couple weeks. I will fully admit I am a Facebook whore when it comes to posting my stuff!

  10. Great post. Yes, I put myself into the bubble over the last 2 months. I’d like to claim that I was put in there by circumstances but then, thinking of it, I could have been more active anyway. I’m on my way back, reading and commenting, looking up posts from my favorite blogs and simply being present again. And it actually feels really good!

  11. I read email notifications rather than the reader except occasionally but I circulate from whom I get notifications some instantly some daily some weekly. And those I see this way I try and read and comment but only if I have something to say. I like in any event and when I remember share on twitter. So far that’s worked. Also like Hugh noted before I don’t follow a follow but check what people say. Somethings – too much religion say – puts me off.

  12. You have great insight, Suzie.

    I have only two things to add:

    1. I do not believe in “courtesy follows,” or as you termed it, “a follow for a follow.” If I follow a blog, it’s only because I find it interesting and engaging. I’m not offended if they don’t follow me back, and I honestly would feel bad if someone did not enjoy my blog but followed me anyway because they felt like they owed me something. Seriously guys, it’s ok. You don’t owe me.

    2. I’ve spent a lot of effort promoting my blogs outside of the WordPress sphere with good success. I have nothing against WordPress and do not want to push anyone away, but I also don’t want my blogs to be a glorified version of Facebook where the same limited circle of people just sit around commenting on and “liking” each other all the time.

    A huge majority of my readers are non-bloggers who have no WordPress presence. This means I can take my readership with me if I ever leave the WP platform. Bloggers who limit themselves to the WordPress sphere are cheating themselves out of a huge potential reading audience.

  13. I have a kind of hierarchy system that goes from tags in the reader for finding new blogs which I check less often when I have extra time, following blogs on reader which I check more often and then i put the blogs I want to check everyday into Newsify. It works for me and I think I wrote a post about it once but I need to do a spring clean and I might do a new post. Possibly a screen recording one this time ooo exciting!

  14. Thus post struck a real chord. I feel like such a slacker since moving to Cornwall! I’ve barely kept up with writing my own blog posts let alone following all the other blogs I’m interested in. I’ve hardly left comments and feel really bad for it but it boils down to time. I’ve had to cut back as my wordpress reader was out of control. Picking up on what a couple if others have said about not being able to comment, easily on self hosted sites – I think my own blog has definitely suffered here. I know a couple of people have commented that they can’t ‘see me’ anymore. I really do miss that sense of wordpress community – it just means I need to work harder on social media. I need more days in the week!

  15. Your post resonates so much with me! In the past months, I have mostly been in my bubble as well, though I also had issues keeping up with consistent blogging because of all the book writing I had been doing.

    At this point, I admit that I tend to fall behind in terms of reading blogs but I have reorganized my social media, so that I am able to share links about everyday, and I use Facebook and Pinterest to find links and follow people more easily.

    This is also why I try to offer room for my readers to bring up suggestions if they have them, about content they would like to see (within the range of my topics) in case it is something I could provide!

  16. FInding a balance is difficult – especially when life gets complicated. I still get email notifications for a lot of blogs I subscribe to – basically so I don’t “lose” people I enjoy reading if Reader/WP gets weird from time to time -but the inbox is so full it’s depressing sometimes. Reader is fine, but some blogs post multiple posts in one day – taking up so much room and hiding less frequent bloggers. There’s also the issue of bloggers who post at odd times, so you don’t see them in Reader. I need to go back to wandering through the tags I like.
    Bottom line is you do what you can, and hope other bloggers are struggling the same way and understand if you are slow getting around to them

  17. I do my best, but used to spend hours every day reading other blogs. Now that I’m serious about writing books, I have to prioritize. I read those who comment on my blog and hit the reader when I can.
    We just have to do what’s best for us! πŸ™‚

  18. I am finding it a bit of a struggle at the moment trying to keep up as well. I love the fact that I have such a wonderful community and interaction with people, but I never seem to be able to catch up with all of their posts. It does make me feel dreadful sometimes.

  19. The more emails I receive, the harder it is to maintain the relationships I have. It’s currently around 300 emails a day and can be overwhelming sometimes, so much so that I’ve thought about giving up blogging. I try as hard as possible to comment on blogs but have t miss some and just ‘Like’ them instead, but I do tweet them.I do miss the closeness I used to have with some people but finding the time is horrendous.
    All you can do is the best you can.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  20. It is a complicated process, breaking out. I visit someone every day and try to make it someone different. I have six and a half thousand followers, most of whom blog themselves and that can be very time consuming. Then there’s my day job…often I barely get round to that!

  21. Hey Suzie…. I completely understand your situation. I was the very same, when I started my blog it was during a really tough time & having that community of bloggers supporting me was (and still is) incredible. But with the growth of my blog and new followers it’s became impossible to keep up with their posts too – coupled with a busy work schedule & being a mum! Though I do respond to every single comment I receive as promptly as I can.
    I’ve come to realise that setting an evening aside once a week to catch up with as many as I can is the best format for me to try to stay in contact with both old & new blog buddies ☺️ Great post!! Karen xo

  22. I spend one day a week tweeking my emails (I don’t do the reader) some people I follow who I will always read, some people I will only read if the first few sentances attract me. For some, I have as a weekly digest, a couple are daily. Some I don’t follow if they follow me. Otherwise I would go insane (more insane than I am now πŸ˜‰ ) but I always try to respond to comments with 24 hours

  23. Sometimes I do feel overwhelmed by the number of bloggers in the blogger universe. However, I have learned to only follow the blogs that I’m most interested in. I do get discouraged when I comment on a blog and don’t feel like that person is engaged in my blog; however, maybe my subject matter isn’t as intriguing to them.

  24. I realised recently that although I reply to every comment that people leave on my blog in a timely manner, I don’t actually visit there’s unless I happen to be following already, even if they regularly comment on mine. I set an hour aside to click on my lovely commenters links and comment back on their posts, I found some lovely blogs I’d overlooked in the process! :o)

  25. Wow! It sounds like you have a really amazing bloggy friend who cares about you, and was probably just showing his concern by checking in with you. I wish I had more bloggy friends like that! πŸ™‚

  26. I’ve been really bad about this recently, with school and work plus blogging and my other projects, replying and reading others hasn’t been a priority lately. Thanks for sharing this, it was eye opening!

  27. You speak for many of us who have been here a while, Suzie. I read lots of posts about how to increase readership and followers and have even written some myself. Of course, many forget that with more readers and followers so will come more comments. We should never take those who comment on our blog posts for granted. I’ve seen many blogs where the author seems to not reply to comments and I do wonder why people keep going back. I agree that if the content is interesting then keep following, but I’ve stopped commenting on a number of blogs because my comments and questions have gone unanswered or unacknowledged.

    I’ve no intention of ever leaving WordPress as I think it’s the best blogging platform out there and I love the community spirit here. I’ve made many wonderful new friends who have given me a lot of support and encouragement and they, in turn, need to know how much I appreciate it. That’s why I always respond to and/or acknowledge all comments. If I was not going to respond to comments then I would turn them off.

    Nobody can read and comment on every single post after going past a certain number of blogs they follow and every blogger needs to understand that. I admit I don’t read every single post of the blogs I follow but I do try and visit as often as possible.

    Thank you for the mention of my recent post and it’s so very good to hear you’ve put a plan in place to overcome the problem you realized was developing.

  28. I love with this dilemma too. One small thing I’ve managed is to read at least 3 blogs a day – especially those of bloggers who have been reading mine for years. It’s not much, but at least I try to give back a little.

  29. Yep. I can understand. I have about 25 weekly subscriptions of which I guess they average at 3 posts each some much more others less. Then I have about 7 instants too, plus there are a few I try and check out on a weekly basis that aren’t on my list but in my head. So I’d say I am readin about 100+ blog posts a week. I now am VERY selective about who I follow or subscribe too. At the end of the day I’m a writer NOT a reader. It KILLS me and some weeks I just can’t do it all and I have to prioritise writing. Hugh and I disagree on this, but that’s fine, we can’t all feel the same about everything. But at the end of the day I try my best and I think that’s all I can and should have to do.

  30. I get in to the blogging bubble but I try to set aside time a minimum of once a week to read and comment on the blogs of my “regulars.” Hopefully someday in a year or two I’ll run into you at the Bloggers Bash in London.

  31. Definitely guilty. Yesterday, I was thinking about just that (wrote a draft for a blog post) – being stuck in my own bubble. Normally, I get to focus on my regular writing and posting routines, that I seem to have forgotten the whole ‘connecting’ with other writers/bloggers. For you’re right that there is a whole bunch of bloggers/blogs to discover. But if I’m completely honest, putting myself out there is sounds scary – I feel safe at times in my own bubble. However, I’m working on bursting myself out of my own bubble – at lest for a moment or two. πŸ™‚

  32. Whenever you respond to me, I feel so blessed! I know how extremely busy you are and when you take time to answer or respond I feel so grateful. Your blog is incredible, I marvel at how it has grown and I love reading about your life. You are a talented woman with so much to offer and give to others. This post is just one more example of that. Thank you for being you. I am a big fan of yours! DAF

  33. I am in complete agreement with everything you’ve said here. I make a point of replying to every comment I receive on my blog, and I’d like to think it’s appreciated by them. Even if it isn’t, at least I know that I’m doing my part.

  34. I absolutely adore the blogging community. I began my journey as a means to write personal pieces on my very own platform. As a professional content writer, I spent most of my time writing for other people, but my blog was MY space — my party on the Web page! Woot woot! It’s become so much more than that, however. It’s less about me now and more about relationship building and being a part of some phenomenal people’s lives and stories. It feels like such an honor to be welcome into the lives of those whom I’ve “met” online. You are so right to say we should take an interest in other blogs and never take readers for granted. Good post!

  35. It’s hard to balance the time between working on your own blog and making sure you’re networking as well. On the one hand, you want to make sure your contents great. But on the other, you don’t want to be a internet recluse! Glad to see I’m not the only one struggling with this. Great post!

  36. It certainly makes blogging far more interesting when connecting with others especially those with the same passions. I am only a newbie, and I love that I am learning a new skill and hopefully in our travels, we get to meet some of my blogging friends πŸ™‚

  37. I too want to get back to the reason I started blogging – to connect with people on a genuine level. I used to be better at at, and now that Isla is older I’m trying to get back to it. My writing time is now separate from my reading/talking time. I tend to ‘like’ posts I want to go back to and comment on when I have more time. I was blogging buddies with people who don’t blog anymore, but we keep in touch. Also I’ve met some people I read and become friends with them. I’ve never been to an actual blogger conference/meetup, which is something I’d like to try!

  38. I mainly follow blogs from your fantastic blog group.. so I didn’t quite get into the blog bubble *yet*

    Do you feel like you’re out of your bubble again (as this post was a year ago) or is it still really tough?

  39. Very helpful. Great advice. I honestly have been trying harder to stay connected. But I will also try to reach out to new people more. p.s. I’ll save you the trouble of replying to this comment, dear Suzie (!)

  40. Pingback: What Matters More: Numbers or Relationships? | You are Awesome

  41. Thank you for writing this post… You reminded me again to appreciate every follower as a family who support me everyday….

  42. A timely reminder for us all I think. It’s easy to let time slip away but it’s important to remember that social media is about being social including your blog.

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