'You would be amazed how many people find Bonkers about Perfume by looking for avocados.'
In the same post, I also fret about the possible reasons why a single follower recently left:
'Perhaps they were bemused by my post about Californian road surfaces. Or the sheer number of posts about California last month. Even readers based in California would probably agree that the attention accorded to their state was disproportionate.'
So that was then - I lost one follower and it troubled me... Fast forward to January 2016, when I started out with 166 followers, from memory. In the space of a week or so, I lost 23 followers in two huge tranches - 13, and then a further 10. In the whole of 2015 I think I was down one follower, and hadn't particularly worried about that. But 23 in a matter of days is starting to look a lot like lemmings.
|Source: Jacquie Boyd via Debutart|
And as a woman of a certain age, I am prone to anxiety at the best of times - it is all part and paranoid parcel of the hormonal soup which comes with this mid-life territory. If someone doesn't reply to an email for a longish period of time, I am more likely to assume the person has taken violently against me rather than that they are away, or merely busy. And so my first reaction to this mass exodus of followers was that there were rumours circulating about me somewhere in cyberspace, urging perfumistas to unfollow Bonkers at their earliest convenience. I actually found myself googling various likely permutations of search terms, such as:
'I don't like Vanessa's style of writing / Vanessa / what Vanessa said'
'Stopped reading Bonkers about Perfume'
'Unfollow Vanessa's blog'
'Bonkers about Perfume not about perfume anymore'
And more, much more, in that cringeworthy self-critical vein! You see, the fact that I ran two consecutive posts on makeup and skincare around the time this drop off in followers occurred - even though I assured readers that I would be returning to the subject of fragrance imminently - struck me as possibly significant. Maybe people suddenly got fed up with these off-topic posts. Maybe all the followers in question were men, who couldn't give a toss about lipsticks and serum, though I had no way of knowing.
So my working theory at this point was that the skincare posts - in particular my list of vacuous personal discoveries such as tying one's hair back before washing one's face and how to apply eyeshadow(!) - might have been the tipping point that turned people away in droves. And then I suddenly had the idea to google a different line of inquiry, specifically about 'losing followers suddenly on Blogger'.
And to my surprise and relief up popped a recent blog post by a chap called Chuck Croll (the 'nitecruzr' below) on this very subject, which explains what may be going on, namely that Google is eliminating followers who use Open ID accounts as opposed to Blogger / Google accounts.
Here is a helpful extract explaining the problem:
'People Following without Google accounts did not get newsfeed subscriptions.
Followers using OpenID only got their photo icon in the Followers facepile. How would OpenID Followers get a Reading List subscription? Reading List subscriptions require Blogger / Google accounts.
If you look in your Reading List and find this blog listed, you are Following this blog using a Blogger account - since the Reading List subscription is one benefit of Following. If you don't find this blog listed, you may subscribe, using Reading List - or Follow, using "Follow Me". Just use a Blogger / Google account, when you Follow.'
Chuck goes on to say that readers can also follow using Google +, but I don't think I am currently geared up for that, and need to figure out what I have to do in order to be able to post the appropriate gadget in the sidebar.
Now I can't be totally sure that this is the reason for losing such a flurry of followers this month, but given the timing of the post about the phenomenon - and the fact that even my paranoia can be offset with arguments about the 'balance of probability' - I reckon this is what is at work.
So assuming the 23 lost followers (at the time of writing that is - they may not be the last to go!), were booted off Bonkers by Google rather than deserting of their own accord, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to them all - even though they are almost certainly not reading, or only if they are supremely determined! I hope you can figure out an alternative method / widget that works for you if you would like to receive notifications of future posts. There's Bloglovin and Follow by Email of course - I hope those are additional options, and not also dependent on a Google account.
Yep, as I said in my 2011 post, I remain 'a fair weather computer operator' and am not a little nonplussed by this widget weirdness, and readers apparently running for the hills...
And if the mass exit was in fact because of something I said - or the topics featured - I am sorry about that too, though I shall probably never know...!