Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, March 9, 2012


Long ago, my friends and I came to an understanding. We wouldn't buy each other birthday or Christmas presents unless we really found something we wanted to purchase for the other person. We didn't want to do it just because we felt we had to. That has worked really well.

The same is true if someone does something nice for you or helps you out in some way. We then feel compelled to do something in return.

Reciprocation is nice, but does it need to be a requirement?

In the blogging world, it seems to be necessary to reciprocate. You follow me, I must follow you.You leave comments on my blog, I must comment on yours. You purchase my book and talk about it, I must purchase yours and do the same.

I think it all must come from a different place. A desire to want to help others, not a "should." Perhaps you follow me and I go to your blog and I don't relate at all to what you talk about there. Should I become a follower anyway? Isn't that ingenuous, because I probably won't come back to visit again.

I want to be a good blogging buddy. I have tried to purchase everyone's book with whom I have formed a connection - a continuous connection, not just a one or two time thing.

How do you all feel about reciprocation?



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I usually reciprocate, but only because I want to. Sometimes it just feels good to do something nice for someone.

serena page turner said...

I dont follow every blog I come accross, and i dont comment on every blog i follow. But sometimes I will follow a new follower as a thank you, or just leave a comment and not follow to show that I appreciate their support. Not because i feel i have to to but because i want to. I feel that blogging to a degree is almost annoymous, a few words and a picture is not the whole of a person. Good point though.

Tonja said...

Often it feels right to me to follow back and leave comments if someone had the courtesy to leave me one. Sometimes it doesn't though. I look at it like being in a friendship - if it's only about one person, then it's not good.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I know. I do feel obligated sometimes and other times I just want to share others' work because it feels good and I want to.
It's a fine balance. I may not support everyone the same exact way, but I try to do what comes naturally.

Laura M. Campbell said...

I'm a strong believer that if you do something nice for someone you shouldn't expect something in return and vice versa. It twists the good intention into an obligation. Then the obligation turns into avoidance. If you like something, read it and comment on it. If you don't like it or don't relate, then don't.

At the same token, I'm not a person that keeps a lot of friends around me. I'm a bit of a loner and don't like feeling over extended. I want to enjoy blogging. There shouldn't be so much pressure. I might turn a lot of people off, but when it comes down to it, they aren't people who will listen to what I have to say to begin with. You gotta do what works for you.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I give it all a stab. But I'm not consistent in my approach to reciprocity because I feel like I've got too much incoming stuff. Being inconsistent is probably worse! It's a little hit or miss with me.

KarenG said...

Really thoughtful post, karen, as all of yours are. Along with the desire to reciprocate comes the guilt, right? Because as much as we want to return like for like, it just isn't possible! I struggle with this one a lot. You've made me stop and think.

DL Hammons said...

I too reciprocate, but it's not 100%. You follow me...I'll follow you, but if you comment on my blog I'll only guarantee I'll read your blog...but not necessarily comment. A comment has to be earned by the content posted...not because a reciprocal agreement. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. good post - I agree with DL ... I don't always follow, I sometimes comment and I definitely don't subscribe ... but I do if I relate to the blogger and their content - some content I just can't get my head round ..

I try and be responsible and decent at the time .. but it just may not last .. because there's no interaction ..

Cheers Hilary

Tracy Makara said...

Great post Karen. Well, I try not to feel obligated because for my own blog and work...I honestly only want people who really like it and not because they felt as though they have to be there.

Joanne said...

I like the reciprocation of blogging, mostly because of the dialogue it inspires. I think it's the nature of blogs, that connection of ideas and talk. Just look at all the thought your question here has inspired!

Claudia Moser said...

All I can say is that I appreciate each and single follower, each comment and I don't think that anyone should feel obliged to do anything they don't want!

L.G.Smith said...

I like to reciprocate. If someone follows me, I always follow back if I can find a link (or their blog is in English). It doesn't even matter if I don't think I'll be interested in the blog, because often times I'm wrong about that.

Same with comments. I like to reciprocate. And I like it when others comment back. Like Joanne said, it feels more like sharing or having a conversation with the other person. And I really do like developing real relationships with people, not just tit for tat.

Ann said...

I too like to reciprocate. Sometimes I can't though because blogs are not linked to profile pages and I feel bad about that. I try to read my blogger friends books too. I am not a YA person or a Sci-fi type, so it really depends. You raise many good points Karen. I would love to support all, but I am only one person, with only 24hrs in the day, says she with a sigh!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

If I put my photo to someone's blog to follow them I like to make a comment. What I don't understand is people "Follow me" I log on to find they haven't got a blog I never hear from them from one year to the other.
I try to buy as many of my follower;s books as possible, it may take me a time to read them, whether they buy mine is entirely up to the individual.


Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

I think it all takes care of itself in time. At first perhaps there is obligatory reciprocation, but when that's the case, it's not sincere and it dies off naturally. I try to reciprocate with those who sincerely seem to enjoy my blog. But I'll also comment on someone's blog regularly because I like their blog, even if they don't comment on mine.

Patricia said...

I pretty much feel the same way as Laura Campbell stated in her comment. Being new to all this I just comment on those I like and would not want to put pressure on anyone to feel the need to "reciprocate". Great blog!

Jemi Fraser said...

I've bought dozens and dozens of blog buddy books - but you're right, only by those I feel a connection with (why, yes, I have yours...). It's about the connection for me, not necessarily the book. :)

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Karen -- I tend to do things because I want to do them, not because I expect something in return. I'd also like to think what I receive is from the heart, not something a person feels obligated to give. I think the system works better that way. It makes giving and receiving lots more fun.

Kylie said...

Hi Karen. Thank you for another thought provoking post! For myself, I read and appreciate every comment on my blog but don't always have the time or feel the need to reciprocate. Likewise when I follow or comment it is because I want to and I don't expect a follow or comment in return.

Karen Walker said...

Holy toledo, I had no idea this post would garner such thoughtful, wonderful comments. I am so sorry I wasn't around yesterday to respond individually. I had a singing gig and it took the entire day, then we went out to celebrate our success and didn't get home till late.

I so appreciate each and every one of you. It makes me feel not so alone out here when others share similar feelings. Seems the bottom line is do what feels right and comfortable for yourself, be honest, be thoughtful, be kind to one another.

Have a fabulous weekend.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm not sure I could add anything to the conversation now, but I reciprocate when it feels right or when I feel a connection to the person.

Siv Maria said...

Nice post and good that you brought this up again, especially now with the A-Z challenge right around the corner. I join when I can and comment when I have something to say. Not everything will always catch my attention but when it does I make a point of taking notice. I am a huge lurker :)

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

Most of the time, I like to leave a note, so to speak, in the comments to let the blogger know that I stopped by and enjoyed their words. It offers encouragement, and I really appreciate it when I get comments. I enjoy your blog, your thoughts, and your successes!

~Sia McKye~ said...

I don't follow every blog that follows me. Criteria is if the the subject matter interests me.

There are many blogs I read and don't always comment on because it's all said and I don't want to be redundant for the sake of having my name in the comments.

Reciprocation should not be mandatory.

Do I pay forward? yes and I also help out where I can. I just don't have the time to comment on every blog on my blogroll for every article they put out. If I did that it would be a 40 hour a week job. I have a ranch to run, kids, writing,reviews, authors to feature/promote, correspondence to answer. My compromise is to try to visit and comment on blogs through the week. Oh, I for sure, have my favorites--blogs and people--as do we all.


Debra Harris-Johnson said...

I saw your comment on Lee's posting and wanted to say I prefer for the following to be because you love what I write. This is why I have less than 100 followers and it doesn't bother me.
I realize I can't buy everyone's book and I hope that's not the entire point of your blog. Alex is a true blogger and very generous so I'm not at all talking about him but he is the exception.

Tyrean Martinson said...

It's important, but sometimes I'm late with keeping up.

Arlee Bird said...

I don't want to be stressed about it and I don't want people to feel slighted or upset by me, but in the end I can only do as much as I am able.

The fact is when we are baby bloggers with small followings and a handful of blogs we know about regular reciprocation is easy, but as we grow and have more contacts reciprocation becomes more difficult.

We should accept that we can only do so much and not stress about it. I think most people understand the situation and if they don't then it's in their hands.

Life is bigger than our blogs for most of us and we all have a balancing act to perform.

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