Followers or friends? (OR a different type of giveaway)

(get prepared for a long post, but read it all the way to the end for a special giveaway)

It has only been a bit over a year since I came out here to blogland. Inspired by my friend Andrew, I felt I wanted to go beyond the pure beading at home. I wanted somebody to look at it and tell me if my stuff is ok, or not so ok. So I started my blog in June 2009, being pregnant, just back from vacation and shortly before going on maternity leave. Not know where all of this would go.

I was dying to have a comment in the beginning – which happened almost never, except some nice little words from Andrew. And then one day, I had one or two followers. They would come to my blog, comment and visit again and eventually become a follower.

Then about two month ago, I made a commitment to myself that I would increase my followers to 100 by September. Now since the bead soup party stopped, the follower-increase is stagnating again. Some of the people that I leave comments with frequently have never left me a note. Some others that I left a comment with for the first time come back to me right away and say thanks even by email. And some others that have been there from the beginning got lost along the way.

So while I was very focused on getting more followers, it is not the number on the counter that thrills me, but the comments that people leave from time to time. The heartfelt words that make me smile and make me feel I have a lot of friends out there. People I will most likely never meet. People I have not even seen on a photo in some cases.

So long story short. When I was thinking about this yesterday, I was also thinking about giveaways to attract more people. I could probably put some really cool giveaway out there (and I am still wondering if I should do it) and say that people have to become a follower to enter. But would that only increase my count and are those people really caring about my blog or only my giveaway? Or would it mean that once they are a follower, they would actually come back from time to time and occasionally read what I have to say, and then eventually turn into a friend?

So for now, my giveaway will be different. I will not give something to the people that blog about my giveaway or follow me or facebook or tweet. I will give something away to the people that have been true friends. The people that left comments, gave me support and actually made me feel like this blog is worthwhile to continue. So the 5 people that left the most comments on my blog will get a small gift from me. How did I choose my winners? I actually counted all the comments I got since I started this blog. 291 in total.

So the 5 people that have commented the most are
1) Cathryn of Chilecats – A true thank you Cathryn for your friendship
2) Second is Rebecca of Songbeads, my bead-soup-party-2 partner
3) Third is Lori of Pretty Things – our friendly bead soup party host
4) Stefanie of Stefanie's Sammelsurium came in fourth – she is the one that dragged me to all the solder stuff (thanks!)
5) Cindy of Sweet Bead Studio was fifth – who just picked me for a surprise giveaway

I know this is a giveaway that you did not decide yourself if you want to enter it or no. So I will go to your blogs and emails, leave you a note, and if you would like to receive one of those, please email me your snail mail address, and you will get one of my little wire-soldered birds, some Sari silk, and a few bead goodies. I know it is small, and they are by far not perfect, remember I am still learning. But they come from the heart :)

At the same time I would like to say sorry to those of you that I am leaving out, because you come here every day, but don’t leave me comments. And sorry for those who have not made it to the top list.

Thank you, ladies, for making this blog worthwhile for me, and sending me support and heartfelt words. I hope you will enjoy this little giveaway.

Dear non-comment followers, a word to you: I would love to hear your thoughts, even if they are not nice. Some advantage about the anonymity of the internet is that we can actually speak the truth, right? And if you have something nice to say, I will appreciate it even more. Come by my blog and have a cup of coffee or tea with me (or a glass of wine if you prefer) and stay for a while. And please leave me a note and tell me how you think about attracting followers or friends.

9 Response to "Followers or friends? (OR a different type of giveaway)"

  1. Pretty Things Says:

    OMG, how sweet you are! I feel the same way about comments -- I love them! They make me happy and I do all I can to go to each person's blog and really READ it and then comment. Not just for giveaways, but all the time. Sometimes I miss (migraines lay me low) but I do my best.

    Thanks for recognizing me, and I'd love a bird! I'll email you my address!

  2. Copper Diem Says:

    Those are absolutely adorable birds! What a clever idea for a giveaway!

  3. Rebecca Says:

    Aw Nicki, you are so sweet! I will email you my address. Your birds are so cute! I'm very impressed. Hope your family get well soon.

  4. stregata Says:

    What I value about blogging is the contacts that I have been able to make. The contacts that go beyond a comment or a follower. Some followers never comment. Some commenters don't follow. Which is okay. But sometimes, real connections form - and for me - that is what makes blogging so very special.

  5. Cindy Says:

    What a heartfelt post. You have captured here in words what so many of us feel.... you have reflected on your year of blogging and have really expressed the essence of why we keep blogging... we really do yearn to make connections and to share with other like-minded people who love beading as much as we do. I am so honored to be one of your special Followers...and your soldered bird would be such a special, symbolic reminder of our online friendship.

  6. steufel Says:

    Du hast so Recht, mit dem was Du schreibst! Und die Vögelchen sind total niedlich, freue mich schon, die in echt zu sehen!

  7. Barbara Bechtel Says:

    What a great idea, Nicki. Your post was very thoughtful and poignant. I give you big kudos for stepping out and saying those things. As a perpetual lurker myself, it made me think about who I follow more carefully so I can be more of a quality blogging friend. hmmmm.

    The giveaway struck me as well, because I gave away 3 things with BSP and all three were followers but only 1 of the 3 contacted me to claim their prize. It sort of hurt my feelings, so much so that I didn't draw more names and am now more carefully considering my giveaways as well.

  8. Alesha Says:

    what a heart-felt post, and an excellent give-away! so glad I wandered to your blog today. :)


  9. Melissa Meman Says:

    Hi Nicki...just stumbled to your blog from another and read this great post:) I think you captured what a lot of us feel. I love, love the little birds, by the way! So cute :)