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The Follow Button: Strong Enough for Men, but Remade by Women
© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.
The Follow button is a HubPages feature that emails you when the people you follow publish new hubs. You can also leave them fan mail and view their favorite hubbers. Here is the official HubPages position on this control, taken from the FAQ, among other places. It is suitably paraphrased to avoid the Duplicate curse.
- Follow only those people whose writings you can truly read and comment on.
- Do not follow others just because they follow you.
- Your HubScore can drop if you follow hubbers indiscriminately.
These guidelines are unshakably logical, judiciously ethical and mathematically precise. They were obviously written by a man. (And being one allows me to come to some conclusions, however sexist, about my gender.)
These guidelines are totally inappropriate to and commonly ignored by most hubbers.
First, accept that most of the HubPages community consists of women. (If you need the statistics to back this assertion, you can read my research in Who Reads HubPages? Audience Stats to Increase Your Traffic and Maximize Your Hubs.) We can all agree that women behave differently from men. However, I have neither the scientific expertise nor the social wisdom to say whether nature or nurture is behind this dichotomy.
One characteristic ordinarily ascribed to females is the importance of relationships. This reliance on social interaction can easily trump any artificially created prescriptions. Chief among the tenets for good relationships is reciprocation.
- If someone grants you a kindness, you respond in like manner.
- If someone follows you, you follow them back.
This cycle of give-and-take build trust and enhances the relationship.
Skeptics may trumpet the supposed flaw in this thinking. Indiscriminate use of the Follow button can quickly lead to hundreds or thousand of followers. How can any relationship-oriented hubber possibly keep up with the writings of all those admirers every day? You can easily discover how people keep up up with your hubs by the number of comments they leave with your articles.
But that tit-for-tar calculation is a man's convention..
- That gender measures success only through results.
- For women, the effort is just as valid as the actual accomplishment. Followers who sometimes visit and leave comments are just as valued for keeping up the relationship as those who do so all the time.
This female transformation of the Follow button also presents a mathematical advantage that should appeal to male minds.
- Assume a group where each hubber has a thousand followers producing a hub each day. Assume that such a large number only allows for any 10 percent to follow any of your hub writing on any day. Ten percent of 1,000 still equals 100 views a day.
- Compare this to another group of hubbers who only follow those writers in which they are truly interested and can respond to 100 percent of the time. This slavish attention reduces the number of possible followers to a practical maximum of 50 or perhaps less, which reduces the number of maximum views to 50 or less.
- The 1,000 partial followers still produce the greater number of view than the 50 total followers.
Go ahead and follow people simply because they're following you. But do try to visit their hubs at least some of the time. This reciprocal system works well even if it runs somewhat contrary to hub guidelines.
You may accuse me of doctoring numbers to fit my conclusions. And I will freely admit that my suppositions are based on experience and feeling, more than scientific analysis. But I have over 230 hubs, 386 followers and nearly 30,000 views a month to support my words.
I also welcome differing opinions and statistics to make for a lively discussion. Put your judgments in the comment field below.
Please also take the poll. Those results should hint at how often hubbers actually follow their fans..