This whole business of follower maintenance has me thinking about the Art of Reciprocity. While waiting to get a haircut, I was reading an article on reciprocity, and it's application to business. Reciprocity is defined as responding to a positive action with another positive action. The Rule of Reciprocity states that when someone does something nice for us, we feel obligated to do something nice for them.
Reciprocity is a powerful concept, and is something that most of us learn without ever having to be explicitly taught it. The example used in the magazine article: your 10 year-old daughter is celebrating her birthday, and invites a child who she otherwise never plays with. The reason? "Because she invited me to her birthday party." Your 10 year-old understands reciprocity.
Now, to the whole issue of followers. As many of you will already know, i'm a populist. I believe in democracy, that everyone has something to contribute, and I believe in the power of collective action. Being a populist, I'm all for the encouragement of discourse, disclosure and the open exchange of ideas. The more we are talking, explaining, discussing, the more likely we can arrive at better ideas.
One of the ways I can encourage people to share their ideas on old-school gaming is to click on that little follow button, when I come across their blog. Why? Because by declaring that I am following someone, I am saying "your voice deserves to be heard", "you have interesting things to say", and "you matter."
That small act is very likely to be reciprocated in ways far beyond my simple click. That person is likely to continue blogging, since they are getting positive feedback through the follower tool. Through their blogging, they may post something that I can use in my game. And all it cost me was a 3-second click on the follower button.
Cyclopeatron and Tao of DnD make some excellent observations about what it means to be or have followers. I guess my point here is that, while what they say has merit, I will continue to publicly follow new blogs, without shame and without expectations, because I prefer more dialogue, more voices and more democracy. And since I understand the Rule of Reciprocity, i'm confident that my small act of generosity will be reciprocated in the future. So pay it forward, folks.