Just yesterday, I saw a Tweet from Alicia at A Kernel of Nonsense that spoke to me:
I wish you could block people on WordPress. I hate when those certain accounts find you and begin liking every post you’ve made for the last 84 years.
And I immediately ran through my head all the annoying bloggers who won’t go away (even after I’ve asked!) and are clearly “liking” my posts so they can engage in the most self-congratulatory task any blogger can: trying to get a like for a like.
You may be asking yourself, “If she’s so tired of certain bloggers, why not just block them?” You can’t block blogs on WordPress. Your only option is to make your site private to everyone except people you give permission to visit, meaning you will not get new visitors. You can also remove people from your follower list, but they can add themselves again (and often do almost instantaneously). Another option is to require comments to be approved so you can delete the weird ones, but most of these strangers aren’t commenting: they’re liking.
These like-aholic bloggers will often find you based on your post tags. Thanks to Katie MacAlister‘s Dark Ones series, I have “sex” as a tag. Boy, does that bring out the interesting folks. For instance, one blog that keeps following me (despite me booting him off my followers list) is about this guy’s dating life in the city. Firstly, your city dates are just dates. Secondly, there are photos of women — what look like stock photos of models — but the fact that he thinks it’s acceptable to recount his experiences with women grosses me out. He used to like all of my (unread) posts, but now I think he’s just trying to annoy me.
Another tag I’ve used is “photography.” Oh, I wish I never had. Every amateur photography with a WordPress site fills my (unread) posts with likes, making me look more popular than I could ever be. You’d think I had the stats of blogging queen Jenny Lawson. But really, I have a few trusty friends who read and comment on my posts, and I’m happy with that.
Since I’ve been writing about anxiety lately, I’ve used the tag “anxiety.” For instance, I felt the tag was appropriate to describe the book Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah C. Andersen, who is always anxious! Now, I’ve got dozens of sad, sad bloggers following Grab the Lapels and liking my (unread) posts. I struggle with these folks: are these bloggers actually anxious/depressed and want to find other anxious/depressed people, or is a “like for a like” meant to cheer them up? Still, I’m not playing that game.
Then, there are the lurkers. You may be a lurker. They’re book bloggers who like my (unread??) posts, but never comment. Although I appreciate the boost, I’m not looking for likes. I want to talk about books WITH YOU. Why? Because you are AWESOME, or I wouldn’t follow you! When a blogger slowly stops engaging with my posts and only leaves a like, I have to assume (sitting here alone) that the post hasn’t really been read. Or that it was a terrible post and not worth talking about. But that’s okay! There are SO MANY other book blogs you could read that click with you. I don’t need a pat-on-the-head sort of “like.” I can do that myself (and rub my tummy at the same time).
Therefore, I am removing the like button from Grab the Lapels.
YOU: “But how will you know how many people liked your post?!?!?!?”
Believe it or not, it’s easy to tell.