Stop Chasing Followers — Chase This Ultimate Metric Instead

Advice from an award-winning blogger of 17 years

Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.


a goose with two followers (its goslings)
Photo by snowbear on Morguefile

For months I’ve watched an issue get hotly debated on this platform, and I have finally decided to jump in with my opinion.

The issue is: Should you chase followers?

Some people on here are purists. They believe you should not do anything in direct pursuit of followers. All you should focus on, they believe, is the quality of your writing. They point out, quite correctly, that there are writers with 200,000 followers who can’t even get 100 claps on the articles they write. Write well and let the followers find you and choose on their own to follow you.

Others consider it good to go out and try to actively recruit followers. I’m not talking about those “I followed you and gave you 50 claps, now I expect you to do the same for me” Facebook groups. Those are ridiculous. However, it does seem to make sense to go out and read the work of writers in the same topics you write about, and if you like their work, clap for it and follow them. Those writers are your best potential readers.

Of course, the number of followers is just one of the metrics writers use to measure their success. You can also measure views, reads, claps, highlights, Top Writer statuses… and, of course, earnings.

However, my 17 years as the writer of a personal blog has led me to believe that the ultimate metric, the best measure of success as a writer, is none of those.

Today I will tell you about my blogging history and how I discovered the ultimate metric.

Birth and rise of a blog

In 2004 I started a personal blog. I had recently left college teaching, and I wanted it to be a way for my former students to keep up with me. In the beginning, it was truly just that, a place for me to post personal stories, and nothing more.

In the summer of 2005, however, I got a pleasant surprise. I was hanging out on my high-rise apartment building’s rooftop deck one day after work. A couple of my neighbors came up to me and said, “Hey, Paul, we read your blog. We really enjoy it.”



Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.

I write about writing, ideas, creativity, intuition, spirituality, life lessons. Ex-college teacher Twitter: @paulryburn