Excessive "following"

I’ve noticed a lot of people tend to start following me, seemingly randomly, and when I look at their page, they’re following another 30-40 people. Of course, most of these people never make any sort of commentary on any of my tea logs, and I’m taking that to assume they likely don’t read them – especially with the output of 30+ other people to deal with.
To attach more real numbers to this, I have 28 “followers”, and get feedback from maybe 5 or 6 of them – and those are generally the people that are active on the site anyway. Myself, I follow 3 people – and only people that have actually caught my attention, and that I feel provide constructive (and interesting) reviews.

So, there is a point to this sort-of rant… aside to sound like a douche.
I honestly don’t really get the point of following as many people as possible… is it like, back in the day, when people on myspace would collect as many “friends” as they could?
I’m posing this question to actually get some responses, not just to start a discussion, by the way. I’m curious.

40 Replies
AJ said

I follow two people, and only because I figured maybe I SHOULD follow SOMEONE since everyone does, so I picked two people whose Tealogs were relevant to my interests, and who posted semi-frequently but not every day. I could never follow that many more people, because I fear I’d drown in the amount of updates I would receive. And of course I’d read each update, because I am, after all, following that person for a reason!

I got a little antsy when I started collecting followers, because I don’t post nearly enough to warrant them. It just weirded me out because I’m a tad antisocial, and I don’t see what I could post that would interest them. But they seem mostly to include tea companies; not that that’s a bad thing. I actually seemed to have gained a few of them after a certain post I made a few days back. Eh heh. Not specifying the post. But I observed a small spike in followers.

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Angrboda said

For me it’s a semi-neurotic thing. I guess I collect people sorta and I have a small ‘YAY!’ moment when I see someone adding me.

I think it’s fun to get a wide variety of people’s opinions rather than just the one or two whose tastes are similar to my own.
It’s actually easier for me this way because if I didn’t follow all those people curiosity would just lead me to the most recent posts page instead where everybody’s posts show up.

Cofftea said

I agree, and I hope you aren’t condemning or criticizing people like Angrboda and myself. Forgive me if I took that wrong, I just don’t like people saying others are using steepster wrong.

Ricky said

Just writing my reply here because we are the batch that follows everyone =]

@JMKauftheil – I follow back whoever follows me. Is that such a bad thing? I’m just being courteous. I mean this isn’t exactly twitter or facebook, where people talk about their daily lives. This is steepster, a place where people share their experiences about tea. When I have time I click through and read the tasting notes on the explore tab. When I’m in a rush I go through the dashboard.

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fcmonroe said

Instead of checking out the latest activity, I just look at what’s gone on with the people I’m following via my dashboard. It cuts back on the number of tasting notes I see. I figure that if I’ve started following someone who isn’t interesting, I’ll delete them from those I’m following.

I think it’s one of those your mileage may vary things. There are a lot of different ways to use the site and sometimes when people first join, they jump in and start following a lot of people.

Shanti said

fcmonroe, I agree with your comment. If anything, following people cuts down on the number of posts you have to go through to see interesting stuff. You get a condensed feed of only the latest activity from people whose writing/taste in teas you like.

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I periodically check the tasting notes of the group at large, and try to participate in the Discussion area. If someone writes something about a tea that appeals to me, or seems to like the same teas that I do, has an interesting opinion, or has something in common with me (I love the foodies, crafters and teachers!!) I follow them. I have no hurt feelings if they don’t follow me back – I’m genuinely interested in what they have to say, and enjoy their posts. I interact with some more than others, but just because I don’t comment on a post doesn’t mean I didn’t read it, enjoy it, or learn something from it. My 2 cents :)

PeteG said

I too like JacquelineM genuinely follow a whole variety of personalities. I may not read all posts but if I am drawn to a particular tea or flavour then I stop and will comment if the teal elves prompt me. I will take a cursery look at the latest activity and check out tastings from those I have not chosen to follow…

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wombatgirl said

I tend to just look at my dashboard for what people are drinking, rather than the latest activity section with everyone. And so I follow people who write reviews or discussion topics that interest me or I think are well written. I don’t comment on everyone on my dashboard feed, just the posts that I feel I have something to say about.

And @AJ – I have to admit I started following you because of the Pertwee icon. I loves me my Dr. Who.

AJ said

Hahah, that’s a good enough reason, I suppose. Pertwee brings people together. One of the people I follow, I started following in part because of his TARDIS icon. But also the very interesting reviews!

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Shanti said

JMKauftheil, do you click on every person’s individual profile to see their posts? That seems too tedious for me to do, but maybe you prefer that way. I most definitely do comment and like the posts of all of the people I follow. I always use my dashboard to see their aggregated posts. I think that’s how most people on Steepster use their follow feature, or at least that’s how the feature was “intended” to be used…correct me if I’m wrong, Steepsterites! Usually ~20 of the people I am following write posts at least once a day, and the others maybe every few days. I only look at the general “latest activity” posts every few days or so, and if someone catches my eye, then I follow them so that their posts show up on my dashboard and I can comment on them and keep up with what they’re drinking.

When I follow someone, this is usually what happens:
1) [looks at Latest Activity board] Oh hey, this person’s review is really interesting.
2) [looks at that person’s profile page] All of their reviews are neat, and I want to keep up with their next posts. [clicks Follow]
3) [next day, opens Steepster.com/dashboard] Oh hey, here’s that neat person I found yesterday, and they wrote a new review and it’s cool! presses like, comments

Am I using Steepster weirdly?

Cofftea said

weirdly? lol love it!:)

Shanti said

lol Cofftea :)

Cofftea said

it might be weirdily though… like “verbiage”… I pronounce a 2nd “i”… although Idk if it’s actually there or not. lol

Shanti said

Heh, if it makes you feel any better, the first phonetic spelling of verbiage in the dictionary is “ver-bee-ij”. I prefer “ver-bij” myself. :)

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Shanti said

By the way, it’s not like 30 people show up at once on your dashboard—it’s a timeline of people’s posts, and usually I only have 15-20 new posts each day to read, not 30 people’s entire week’s worth of posts every day.

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I think the part where I drop off from the rest of the community here, from reading the responses, is in that I don’t tend to read tons of posts (a few a day can keep me contented), and I’m actually completely uninterested in the “recent activity” board. While this is one of my “main sites”, I tend to focus more on the activity of the four writing sites I participate on.
When it comes to things like tea, I’m more interested in that which is objective – information I can keep in mind, need I ever write a book on tea, or something. When I’m interested in opinions, it’s usually only if I’m in an active discussion. I simply don’t feel the intimacy of conversation – and, thus, the concern for varied minor subjects such as individual teas – when I’m reading these things on the internet. It’s only really when I read many posts from an exclusive few, that I actually enjoy and look forward to future posts. It’s much like how I look at books – I don’t really mind reading around, but for the most part, I’m just interested in the next novel I pick up Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Roth or Richard Brautigan. And the more I read of these authors, the more I connect with the writer, and the more I enjoy and appreciate each successive book.
It’s the same way with tea loggers – I like getting to know their tastes, and seeing how they react to different tastes. But I only have the attention span for a few people.

Shanti said

So, it makes sense for you to not have a lot of followers, then. :)

The only thing I’d say is that the biggest reason I like following people isn’t the “community” per say but getting feedback on the posts (how to adjust a tea’s steeping time/temp for better results, recommendations of other similar teas, etc), reading about other people’s experimentation with teas (for example, caramel out of Jackee Muntz), and hearing about new teas that I might want to try next.

I think I also lack some of that motivation through curiosity to check out other people’s posts. I’m fortunate enough to live less than a mile from a shopping center that has three stores specializing in tea (granted, one of them is Teavana), and I know a few other really authentic tea shops around the area, not to mention a few online sites. So I have enough selection that my level of curiosity exceeds the abilities of my wallet.
When I do look up reviews, it’s usually because I’m looking for commentary on a tea I’m considering purchasing. Very useful in that sense.

Erynn said

I do really like Steepster. I don’t follow too many people, but I do find the whole process and varying opinions quite interesting. I actually only drop by here once or twice a week because I have so much else going on elsewhere online. A lot of times all I do is skim here until something catches my eye, but what I do find is always worthwhile.

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I haven’t read all of the comments to this topic yet but I follow TONS it’s simply because I want to read and learn about as many teas as possible and when they are posted by the people I follow they show up on my dash so I get to ‘see’ them and in turn – read and learn…

Jason select said

Ha, maybe we should just make your dashboard the latest tasting notes pages ;)

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JasonCT said

I follow many people, however it’s mostly because I’ve chatted with them in the forums.
While I don’t post often to their tasting notes, I do however enjoy reading them.
For me it’s about the social aspect. I have a “my door is always open” sort of philosophy and always welcome new followers to either watch from the sidelines, email me, chat, etc.
Just my $.02

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