In high school, the coolest person is that one who manages to have everyone like them. This person just seems cool and for some reason, that mentality has translated to Twitter and Facebook in that those with the most followers or friends (effeffs) are obviously the coolest. In turn, everyone then tries to get more people effeffing them in an effort to seem cool.
All of this doesn’t matter for dick though. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it used to, although my meager 300 followers (and similar amount of friends on Facebook) would point to my being very uncool when in truth, well, I am pretty uncool, but I’m okay with that. I’m also okay with having more followers of my blog feeds than anything else. This is a point that a great many people have lost sight of.
Any effeff seeing whatever you post for their reading pleasure can easily dismiss it, while a person subscribed to your feed will (at least in most feed readers) have them well sorted and might very well read whatever comes through from your feed. This is especially the case as what comes through feeds is much less ephemeral than effeff communications.
I mention all of this as Bloglines is closing in two weeks. While unfortunate to those users, these things happen. This is however not an indication that people are reading feed-fed information less. In fact, as you can see in the graph below from Google, after a lull, people are reading feeds now more than ever.
Why is this? Because as I stated, feeds are just a better way to get more solid information. While tweets, texts, and updates are all great for short, immediate information, they’re crap for anything long term or substantial. I’ve found this out firsthand as a local blog that I co-founded in San Francisco has over 500 followers on its Twitter, nearly 100 fans of its Facebook page, and nearly 200 readers of the feed (according to the Google Reader stats, which are understated). It gets very respectable traffic though. Where does all of the traffic come from? From the feed readers. Those people are a constant source of readers as opposed to the effeff group that may or may not see it. The feed crowd are not nearly as fickle and while they may unfollow your feed someday, they will constantly read it until that day.
Needless to say, I think anyone who goes chasing after the effeffs is nuts. That’s just good for bragging rights amongst said effeffs and not worth anything in real, meaningful traffic that actually reads what you put out on the web. Feed readers are having a resurgence because there is so much fluff out there that we need something solid to anchor ourselves to and effeffs ain’t it.