Monday, February 21, 2011

Why Do You Follow a Blog?

The other day I looked to the right of my blog and realized I'd hit 900 followers.

I dropped my coffee, scalded the cat, and ruined a perfectly lovely pair of pants.

I distinctly remember when I begged a few friends to "Friend" me on Blogger so I wouldn't feel like an idiot with only my picture waving at me every time I wrote a post.  I started blogging in 2005, but it wasn't until the end of 2008 when I began to get comments.



With the massive (210 jewelry designers!) Bead Soup Blog Party hop coming THIS SATURDAY, and all those new blogs to look at, visit, and discover, I thought I'd ask:

What makes you follow a blog????

I honestly think this is important to ask, because traditionally in blog hops, people go crazy and "Friend" everything in sight with no regard as to why.

So why do we do it?

:: Is it to gain followers to our own blogs?
Often, blog hoppers follow every single blog they run across in hopes they'll get a reciprocal follow back.  And while this may happen, keep your eyes open -- does that person EVER come back?  When you comment on THEIR blog, do they ever acknowledge it?

I used to be of this thought process until I realized I would rather have followers who WANTED to be here.  I live to interact with my blog followers.  Yes, 95% of them are silent.  They come out of the woodwork, though, when I've hit a low point in my life.  I can check my stats (a feature on Blogger dashboard -- I apologize, I don't know how it works on other platforms), and I can see how many hits per week my blog actually gets. 

(NOT MY OWN STAT PAGE)
 
THOSE are the numbers I care about.  Meat on the bone.  Not fluffy wool on the sheep.


My two cents when considering following a blog:


:: Look through not just the initial post, but through several posts.  That helps you see more of who the person really is.

:: Why does the blog capture you?  Its photographic beauty?  Its creative posts?  Its family feel?  Its shared ethics?  Its hilarity?  The fact that it makes you think?  That it gives you design ideas?  (Watch it on that last one -- some designers really don't like being imitated.)

Picture by Brandi Hussey of Brandi Girl, one of my favorite blogs.

:: Do NOT pay any attention at all to how many followers a blog has.  Some of my favorite blogs have less than 30 followers. 

:: How to get more followers?  For me, it was by reading and making genuine comments on blogs that touched me.  You'll find that some won't give you the time of day, and after a while, only a few of those will remain on my blog follow list.  Respond to those who do respond to you, be it by their email (their post should have an email, but some will say "no-reply" because they haven't added email to their blog) and some will just be that mysterious person who comments and has neither blog nor way to get in touch.  I call this response to them, by email or posting on their blog, courtesy.  You'd be surprised how amazingly it works.


These are all, of course, my own opinions.  Pick this, toss that.  I just wish I'd known what I was doing for the first three years!  Eventually, I'll write tips and tricks on blog writing from my perspective, but for now, I leave you with excitement and anticipation for this week's blog party!
 

Tomorrow I'll post a list of the party-goers, as well as YOUR chance to win a bottle of bead soup! Perfect, since my husband just told me we may get snow tomorrow. 

And little sneak peek of my piece -- a hint?  NONE of these came from my partner, Susie Hibdon,  but for the past six years I've hoarded these long enough.


Yep.  There's about five pounds of mostly mother of pearl buttons in there.  And after I used what I needed and went to put them to away and tripped over afore-mentioned scalded cat?  There's about two pounds of buttons in places I'd have to be a contortionist to get to.  

(( hangs head in shame))

So my question to you -- what makes YOU follow a blog?




Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.

86 comments:

  1. For me, sometimes it's a shared interest, or an author's writing style or humor. I've had comments from people that like my sense of humor. Or, maybe it's just the pretty pictures, lol.

    I follow yours because... all of the above. I enjoy the way you incorporate seemingly random pictures into your blog.

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  2. I follow several types of blogs- food, politics, and jewelry; all for very different reasons.

    I follow jewelry blogs because I like to look at what others are creating, for inspiration. Thus, pictures are important.

    Because I make jewelry I follow jewelry blogs for what I can learn- not just the latest bead weaving pattern, but how to make a photo mosaic (thanks Lorelei), how to create a great display, how to identify potential customers, the importance of courtesy, how to create a mailing list, etc...

    I follow jewelry blogs because if I do more than look at the pictures I eventually grow to really like the people who write them.

    One last related thought: Now that I have a blog I debate whether to sign my name as KJ or KJsBeadaciousBeads. I commented before I had a blog. If I use my blog as a "name" I worry that it looks like I am trolling for traffic.

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  3. You hit the nail on the head with this post. I like a blog that posts often but not everyday. I like pictures and I love when a blogger responds to me. Shannon LeVart was the one that first responded to me and it felt awesome. I like blogs that don't talk politics because my views are very different from most it seems. I like blogs that have a bit of family in with the work stuff.

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  4. Lori, I have been thinking about this myself lately and for me it is a combination of, interesting , unique artistic approach to a medium, ( related to beads usually) combined with glimpses into that persons lifestyle that appeals to me.
    Good photos, little anecdotes, humour, all add to the appeal. Any additional educative extras is also an bit of a attraction for this blogging newbie.
    Jenni

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  5. I think I've given up on blog hops. They just leave me with a lot of spam comments and no return followers (or hardly any)

    I follow blogs that pique my interest in some way. I love beautiful photos. Or maybe they have a lot of humor to their posts. But mainly, if I like the blogger's personality and how it is coming across.

    What I don't like to follow are blogs with a ton of graphics on the page or a bunch of ads. When I'm checking my RSS feed on my phone and try to view the page to comment, it's just frustrating, so I give up quickly (and probably un-follow)

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  6. Little Gray Fox, you do indeed have a point. I worry about all my "stuff" on the right hand side. There are certain blogs I know to skip when accessing via my Blackberry, but I like seeing them on my computer because the choices they put on their side bars are interesting to me. BIG case in point is Etsy. Impossible for me to navigate that thing on a Blackberry.

    Thanks for your input, it's valuable!

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  7. How funny, I just commented earlier today on another blog about this same question!

    I'll actually visit a blog for a while before I follow. Like you said, it takes more than one or two posts to get a sense of who the blogger is and what their style is. Once I'm hooked, I follow a blog because of the person writing - they've got to grab me and hold me.

    My daily blog reads vary wildly. Not everyone I follow is a jewelry designer - there is some digital scrapbookers and photographers and general interest peeps in there, too. The one thing they all have in common is a sense of personality; that's what gets me hooked.

    P.S. Thanks for the photo love!

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  8. I enjoy following other jewelry artists blogs and reading about their creative processes and just networking, blogs about family as they relate to my own (single mom, and chaos), deorating or just plain on life. Some of the funniest blogs are just about life in general. I enjoy bloggers who know how to connect and be real with their followers. I'm attracted to blogs with photos, an interesting writing style that captures my attention. Their uniqueness and how frequent they post. I always respond to new followers and typically a group response on a post, the email response is something to think about. - great post

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  9. I am so lucky to have taken your advice and grown my little blog with followers that I adore. I make sure I check my blog list and comment on as many as I can.
    The blogs that I follow are those that offer great information, good art, a great giggle, and those who have taken the time to get to connect with me. I remember when Erin of Treasures Found sent me an email about a comment I made on her blog it meant the world to me.
    In the blog world you get out of it what you put into it.

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  10. I used to follow blogs just for the sake of following them, or because they followed mine. Now I follow blogs that I find interesting for whatever reason. They have to be engaging to read. I also follow blogs that are to display artist work especially glass artists and jewellery designers.

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  11. Thanks Lori for this post. This came right in time for me as I was trying to clean up the blog roll on my blog. Initially I followed most of the jewelry blog I ran into but slowly I realized that not all of them appeal to me. A clutter free (read too many ads) blog with beautiful pictures and connection with the writer's way of writing are my key points, and of course something to learn and grow together :)

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  12. Lori - such a timely post - I was gonna pose the question myself, but more in a "so you follow tons of blogs, how to you keep from sucking away all of your free moments?" I am afraid I am in follow everyone I come across mode, but have started scanning some while spending lots of times on others. Some blog commenting and following has resulted in the development of a relationship, so those are the ones I always read, always comment, and read first. Definitely pictures and writing about the technique used, resources for the supplies used, what the inspiration was. I talk about my family all of the time, so I like hearing about the rest of the blogger's life, too. Seems like I just summed up Pretty Things :-)

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  13. I have to like the blog a lot. I have a lot of blogs on my blog roll, but those are the ones I like. I do plan to take a few off because I'm not going there, but, I still like them.

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  14. Congrats on hitting 900+! A huge accomplishment!
    When I follow a blog, I ask myself many of the same questions you pointed out in your post. I love to blog and reading others blogs, however, my time is precious and frankly don't have the time to read hundreds of blogs every evening.
    When I find an interesting blog, before I hit the follow button...I read back at least 5/6 posts. Pictures are important, typically I read blogs in the evening, so all reading and no picts can be tough after a long day. I don't care how many follows a blog has, as long as it holds my interest. I always try to respond to those who leave comments on my blog, it only takes a minute and it means so much.
    What a great post! Can't wait til the party...and find some new blogs.

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  15. I follow blogs that entertain me, educate me, move me, challenge me, and connect me with people who share with me.

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  16. I follow blogs that interest me! But more than that, I follow the people that interest me. I love learning and watching others grow their businesses/hobbies/brands but not to the point where that's *all* they do. Self promotion is awesome but when someone does it 24-7 without letting up, I am quick to unfollow their blog/twitter/facebook.

    Plus, it's an awesome way to meet people once I get up the nerve or find the time to comment! :)

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  17. I follow If I am inspired by their creations, touched by their life, they have lots of give aways - I had to be truthful, and so that I can get to know the jewelry community as a whole. I love when people share something new and teach me I like blogs where people give tips on how to suceed and aren't afraid to help others suceed. I have started looking at my followers sites and picking my favorites and showcasing them on my blog. It's a good way to get to know your followers and build a relationship with them. Then when they comment I have an idea who they are. Much cooler than comments from complete strangers.

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  18. That horde of buttons makes me drool, I adore vintage buttons and use them for EVERYTHING.
    I follow a blog because I think I have something in common with that person, creatively- lifestyle, fashion choice- something I feel a connection to.
    Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge
    Super cute necklace giveaway!

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  19. First of all, the blog topic would have to be of interest to me. If it's fiber arts, jewelry, mixed-media, quilting/sewing, painting/illustration. You've pretty much got me from the start. I don't want to hear about any political opinions, sex, drugs, or religion. I just want to know what makes you tick in a creative sense. I'm loyal if you stay on topic or true to your style/brand. I don't like blogs that are too busy looking or have ads. (How visually annoying.)
    Next step would be photos, video, and humor. I don't like a lot of text because I don't have a lot of time to read. Give me eye candy and brief clever text. I like blogs that provide challenges and interaction. My motto is : hunt, gather, create, share. Building community is very important. and social media can do wonders for getting your work recognized and making friends. But, you have to work hard at it. It requires commitment. Even when you may feel too tired. You still have to post regularly. Just like going to work - creating and communicating is a full-time job. Wow 900+. That is awesome Lori. A far cry from where I'm at; but, I realize all good things take time to develop. Your positive attitude gives me hope. You know, timing is everything. Blogging isn't something to jump into unless you really have a desire to stay afloat. You have to know who you are and where you want to be headed; of course, with a little flexibility built-in for sweet surprises. Always be curious and perceptive. Never sway from your own style.

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  20. Such a great, great post. When I started getting immersed in blogs was in late 2008, right before I launched mine. Call it research, but I spent about a month finding blogs that had an artistic sensibility whether they talked about toddler or tiaras and bloggers who were genuine, honest, authentic and people that I really wanted to sit down with in real life. I made it my goal for the first year to find one blog a day (that is the days I was looking) that was new to me and leave a comment. I would rabbit-hole it from one blog to the next until one blog would speak to me and I would comment. Some of my first and best followers have not been in jewelry. I think that is key. I love to be inspired by all my jewelry- or bead-making friends out there, but that can also bog me down. I have a great mix of design blogs (like Pretty Prints and Color Collective), cooperative blogs (like Art Bead Scene or Etsy Stalker), business blogs (like Blacksburg Belle or White Hot Truth), and funny as hell blogs (like Life With a Little One and Laundry Hurts My Feelings). Like Libby above (you made my day with your comment, Miss Libby!), I can recall the moment that a blogger responded to a comment from me. It was Heather Powers of Humblebeads. I was enamored of her beads found in a magazine and told her so. She wrote back. And now we are the best of friends. Sometimes I wonder at all the time that I spend hunkered down with my keyboard, but then I realize that some people I have met virtually know me so much better than people that I surround myself with in reality. But in reality these are some of my best friends. Like pen pals on speed. And it is getting in-depth comments like these here, Lori, that keep me writing more and more. My biggest dilemma is responding to all the comments that I get. That is so important to me, and I know that I have missed commenting back on some of my posts (maybe because the emotions that the commenters dredged up was too raw, or because of time constraints) but I read every single one. And if I can comment back you know I will! So yes. I do intend to visit all the people in the blog hop, and to pick up a few new blog loves on that day. Thank you for helping us to celebrate the community of caring and creativity that we are building one blogger at a time.
    Enjoy the day!
    Erin

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  21. An excellent post Lori!
    I don't follow many blogs but they cover a wide variety of subjects, from beading, fashion in general to sewing, a few cooking blogs,...
    I always follow a blog only if I feel a connection to the blogger, by that I mean I can relate to them or what they're writing.
    As a blogger myself, I try to comment back often and I make it a point to visit each and every blog whose owners commented on my blog.

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  22. Such a good question Lori. With One World One Heart over and just following a couple of the blogs I visited, I wondered about all those other blogs I had followed previously in my blog hopping.

    There has to be a connection for me, pets, kids, home life, artistic and creative personalities get me every time. I love beautiful photos but they can't be just photos, they have to speak to me before I dig a little deeper into who took them and why. The set up or design of the blog can't be too busy either otherwise I won't want to come back often. If they are an artist, I love to see their current projects and hear about their trial and errors on getting something just right.

    I love your idea of e-mailing the person who has commented on your blog. I usually visit their blog after a comment on mine but didn't think about sending an e-mail.

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  23. Hi Lori. This is such an interesting post you have written. I follow blogs that are truly interesting to me such as crafty creative projects, inspirational writings, beautiful photos, simple joys or interesting people. I don't blog hop and I don't merely want the followers numbers. I want real people who have interaction with me whether it is by comments or email. It feeds my soul to have found people in blogland who have become friends. I have certainly stopped following some I didn't agree with and some I did not appreciate their attitude or style. I follow your blog because you are honest and interesting and I love your creative art. Whew! This has been truly thought provoking. Thank you Lori. Happy blogging...

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  24. Hi Lori, Great post! I choose to follow a blog that sucks me in from the "get-go". I'll read two or four or ten past posts and then put them in my blog roll. I try to stay current with reading my blogs and some I just skim if the topic of the day isn't my passion. I have art history blogs, arts and crafts blogs, jewelry blogs and quilting blogs. What keeps me coming back is the personalisty that shows through the words and pretty pictures. You have is in aces, deary.
    Emanda

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  25. I think it is actually the writing style that captures my interest. I love when they add humor and a touch of what is going on in their life.
    I'm also into color and great pictures. That will catch my eye right away. And last but not least I love when someone will share a technique or tutorial with me.

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  26. Hi Lori

    I confess, in reality I don't "follow" any blogs, nor have I provided a public ave for following mine. However there are some, yours being one I have linked to my blog because I want to be able to read all your new post. I also make it a point to try to take the time to leave a comment as often as I can. I seem to have a few unconventional thoughts about the whole "follower" concept. All to often it has be used as you said a vehicle to increase one's popularity. It reminds me of our behavior in junior&highschool, where our self image and worth was based on the number of friends we have. I mean think about it. How many Bloglandian have had giveaways with the requirement that you be a "follower" in order to participate??? Tell me what purpose that serves. How many of those followers EVER leave another comment except the one for the giveaway? I would much rather have a few comments left by true Bloglandian friends that have come to see what I've been up to.

    I think like you Lori I have chosen to be a part of Bloglandia because I have a need for human interaction with artist like myself. Because I live in a foreign country and culture very different from my own, I confess I tend to live vicariously through my art sister's blogs. They provide me with a comforting link to the familiar, while I learn to live in this often unfamiliar yet hauntingly beautiful home.

    Okay now I'm quietly climbing down from my apple box, tucking it under my arm and fading back into Bloglandia.

    Pattie ;)
    Mazatlan Mx.

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  27. I started 'cleaning house' last week when I realized it would be a full time job to read all the blogs I followed. It caused me to re-think what, how and why I write. (and read!)

    Since my techno-saavy self didn't show up this lifetime, I'm one of those folks who's still trying to figure out this whole blog thing (i.e.- emails, ads, etc).

    I like to follow blogs that let you get a sneak peak of the person inside the artist that's blogging, that keep you entertained with great pics and that have a bit of variation in what and how they write.

    Great post here, by the way. Yours is one of the blogs I wish I'd started reading earlier on!

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  28. The answer is - I don't :P Ok, there are two blogs that I get by e-mail - yours and one other person. Her's, because I love the pictures! Your's because I learn a lot (and I love the pictures!). What I do is I try to respond every blog comment I get (either a return visit or an e-mail, depending on the comment and what they have set up) and I visit team mates blogs who post them. So if it's posted on the bead soup group, the etsy beadweavers group, and I sometimes make it to the chat thread for my other teams. LOL

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  29. well, in this case, i (now - #908) follow your blog because i enjoy your writing and your beading. i had been reading it for awhile, just never paid much attention the 'follow' thing - but i'm getting the hang of that. milestones come in various shapes and sizes and usually unannounced and in this case with scalding results. i usually check your blog 1-2x a week.

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  30. well, in this case, i (now - #908) follow your blog because i enjoy your writing and your beading. i had been reading it for awhile, just never paid much attention the 'follow' thing - but i'm getting the hang of that. milestones come in various shapes and sizes and usually unannounced and in this case with scalding results. i usually check your blog 1-2x a week. - thanks cryssT

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  31. A lot of it is writing style. Sometimes it's whether or not the layout is pretty because it shows that they put the time into how their blog looks and represents them.

    I follow yours because I genuinely enjoy everything you write. You have beautiful work featured, then cute little stories, then tales of struggles that pull us all together. It's so dynamic and so real.

    I've been blogging since 2007. It took me until now to get 44 followers and I'm so proud of it!

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  32. My reason for following a blog certainly has changed since I began blogging last June. First their writing drew me in and now I'm interested in learning more about a subject or a person. I'm not a jewelry artist but I follow yours and a few others because I love jewelry...and find your/their designs and beads unique.

    I can't get enough of good photos of whatever subject they might be. Learning how to take better pictures is a major goal. Another reason I follow Pretty Things.

    I wanted to write a book someday but now I am content to put words to my blog instead. So instead of following the complicated word blogs, I prefer the blogs that speak to me and my interests. The authors of the blogs I follow seem like friends I could meet for coffee and have lots of things to talk about.

    I try to comment after I read a blog because I know I appreciate comments. Even if its just to say "I'm here and I enjoy reading your blog and I care about what kind of a day you are having."

    Thank you for the ideas and tips that you share with us. I also keep up with what you are reading. The Postmistress is on my book list - sounds interesting.

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  33. great post! i follow blogs i want to go visit again because they inspire me in faith or creativity, or because of the way it is written or lovely pictures. whew, i guess i follow too many and have a hard time visiting all of them but there are just too many wonderful blogs that i find it hard to choose. but no, i don't follow to get new followers and i don't follow everyone who follows me.

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  34. Lori ,I follow your blog because it was you an Erin that made me feel special by commenting when I had been blogging for several months. I really value you as a person and your advise, and I love love your humor and musings (scalded cat and the like) I rather stumbled into blogging when my daughter set up my blog and I am hooked
    Be Blessed

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  35. Hi Lori, Thank you for this great article. You are always so helpful and original.
    I follow blogs because of content, pictures amd a personal connection to the writer.

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  36. Boy it was difficult to find your "post a comment" link, but your blog is worth it. I found you by your lampworking notariety, and through Julie Nordine's FB post. But once I read your blog, you became one of my favorite inspirations. You inspire me by showing me who you are. You inspire my philosphies and my art as well. I've learned about other blogs that you've talked about. I follow your blog because I've gotten to "know" you and I like you!

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  37. Thank you Lori for this encouraging article. Just shows, even small blogs can be great too -reassuring really, sometimes, you start to doubt about things and whether you should carry on. So great tips all around ^_^ Virginie ViviBijoux.com

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  38. For me, its sometimes the pictures or photos, sometimes the content, style of writing, art, colours, lots of things really.
    I am only just getting the hang of this blogging lark!
    Jackie

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  39. For me it is the gut feeling. Sometimes I look at a blog and it just clicks. Actually I cannot explain why it clicks, but the overall feeling of the blogs speaks to me and I immediately know I have to follow this blogger.

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  40. Hi Lori, I'm really new to blogging (as you know), I have been reading blogs for a while and set up my own one at the start of this year as my new years resolution to be more creative. Actually setting up google connect and connecting to other blogs has been a real turning point for me and it's like becoming part of an online family! So much better than just reading.
    I want to thank you for being my first follower and leaving my first comment!
    As for the question, I follow blogs which are fun and friendly but also informative and provide inspiration. I've grown quite a list but some I will read every day.

    Thanks for the advice, as always x

    Deb

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  41. Interesting topic, rather like gathering hundreds of friends on Facebook and actually knowing only a handful of them.
    I follow blogs because they are inspirational to me personally. I love words, beautiful photographs, vintage stuff, beading and embroidery as these are crafts in which I take an active interest. I make miniature teddy bears for a living and do feature them in my blog but like to share random pictures I have taken on my travels and other items I have crafted. Being semi self employed can be lonely as I have little contact with other people whilst working so perhaps following a variety of blogs keeps me from feeling isolated.

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  42. Like the others, I follow a variety of blogs. What I love is good photos, humor and information. I will read a blog for a bit before I decide to follow. I also try to comment on a regular basis and follow up when someone comments on my blog. It means so much to me when someone takes the time to comment on something I posted.

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  43. Great post Lori! I generally am the first one up in the morning and grab my cuppa and sit and read blogs. I find that the beautiful photos and tongue in cheek humor have a way of starting my day off in a very pleasant way before heading to work and being "hit in the face" with other realities.
    In the blog world I have found friends and kindred spirits that I do not find in my everyday and that's what keeps me coming back. I enjoy the creativity be it home decor, jewelry, glass, sewing, pottery or photography. When the personality of the blogger comes through in work and words that's what I make a connection to.

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  44. I follow a blog only if it has things of interest to me. I am currently not blogging so follow backs are not important nor have they ever been. Pictures are important to grasping my attention along with frequency of posts.

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  45. I was going to pose this very question on my blog. I follow bloggers that I feel connected to. Not just beading but everything. Do I relate to what they post, do they make me laugh, do they inspire me? At first when I started I would follow anyone who followed me then check out their blog roll to see if there is a connection. Of course I have connected with some pretty awesome people who have become friends and that is the best part. You are right it is not the amount of followers a blog has it is the connection you feel.

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  46. This is a great question Lori. I liken my interest in blogs to my love of reading, and my guilty pleasure of reality shows. It's like a perfect marriage of the two. But the other BIGGIE here is the dialogue, the sense of community and getting to know people - real people! There has to be a certain sincerity and genuine-ness in a blog for me to follow and keep following!

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  47. Hmmmm, what a good quesion! When I happen upon a new blog I take a look at older posts to see if I find anything inspiring. I like to see a mix of both their art/biz and personal life. Photos are a must to give another dimention to the blog. If the blogger seems to be only interested in showing their work, I pass it by.

    I love it when the blogger responds to my comments (of course this is not always possible). The best of friends can be made through this communication.

    My favorite blogs are the ones that make you feel like they have the reader in mind when they created their post.

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  48. Lori,
    Just have to start with a BIG Thank you. I have learned so much reading your blog, I feel like I need to pay you a consult fee. :) Didn't even know I could reply to the wonderful comments people leave. That's how new I am to the world of blogging. I'm a talker, but not so much a writer, so this is such a learning curve.
    I follow blogs because there is something in it that interests me. Not because I want them to "follow" me back, but it's nice if they do. I follow jewelry blogs, food blogs, DIY blogs and now, some photo blogs, because I'd really like to get better at taking pics. I love witty comments, and people with dry humor. I also like getting to know people when they share family moments. That is extra special. I love people like you that share their expertise and knowledge, and understand the goofy mistakes people make.
    Thank you again, just for being you. (Big Smile All Over My Face) !!!!

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  49. Hey Lori, like a few others here, I'm still finding my way in this blog world but I sure am liking it alot! It's always a thrill to come across a site that you just fit with for whatever reason, the photos or writing or personality, all important.
    Updating is also big and if you can teach me something, all the better.
    And may I just add that a photo like the one of your gorgeous bowl of buttons will win my heart every single time! Thanks for that and for sharing so much more.
    Susan

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  50. Good topic! I don't have a personal blog or one for my jewelry so the reciprocal factor doesn't come into play. I follow blogs because I find the author's subject interesting as well as their writing and I tend to find photography an important aspect as well.

    I follow blogs in a wide range of subjects I have interest in. The jewelry blogs I follow give me inspiration and ideas, not to copy but as springboards to go into different directions with my own vision.

    I live on a small island (22 miles long, 2 miles wide) in the Caribbean, and only get off to the real world 3 times a year to shop for anything, including beads. So I use blogs to find new sources of components/beads etc to buy when I am off and to get inspired on what to do with the things I have now. I have great friends here, but not many artistic types, and that spirit needs nurturing. I used books/magazines in the past, but blogs are a great breakfast daily inspiration. The majority of jewelry blogs are styles that are very different from my own, but I like that, it makes you think outside the box.

    I like writers who include themselves in their blog, it makes you feel invested! (and it's fun to look at all of the sparkly pretty things!)

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  51. I follow beading blogs to learn about what artists are doing, thinking and creating. An artist doesn't live in isolation! I do not follow a lot of blogs. I have 5 or 6 favorites and another 4 that are from people I know personally. Lori, I follow your blog in particular because you attract other artists with your personality and your posts "smile" at me when I read them. They vary in topic and are interesting. Sometimes I use your blog as a hub with which to explore other blogs that might be of interest to me and don't show up in a search engine. I especially enjoy Bead Soup for this reason although I am too much of a novice to participate. Someday...a dream!

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  52. I am very new to blogging (my blog's only about a month old) but I've been following some blogs for a year or more. I find I have three main reasons to follow a blog: 1. I just like it! I like the person's "voice" or topics or something about them that keeps me coming back. It may have nothing to do with my interests. 2. It has to do with my interests. Usually jewelry-making, the business of selling jewelry, style trends or things vintage. or 3. We've become friends online some way somehow and we follow each other. Perhaps we met in an online class or at an airport or something. Photos do count. There are a couple of blogs I follow largely because the photos are so wonderful.

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  53. I follow blogs that I enjoy reading and in a few cases I follow new blogs as a friendly gesture to someone I know who doesn't have any followers yet. But mostly I follow a blog because I enjoy reading it and love the pics. Inspirational jewellery, interesting discussions, blogs that link to projects, blogs from my favourite shops, humour blogs and comics etc. I've also started follwing a few blogs just because it's been a requirement in a giveaway.

    One thing I don't expect is people becoming reciprocal followers just because I like their blogs. They don't have to like mine because of that.

    It's easy to start following blogs, but stop follwing them... Especially a blog with few followers where the blogger immediately will se that I'm gone from the Followers graphics.. There are a few blogs I don't read very much and mostly followed because I wanted to be nice for one reason or another. I've thought about removing them from Google Reader and my blog links, but I guess I feel embarressed about it. Like I'm being rude to them personally because I don't want to follow them anymore.

    So I might have empathy, but I'm not a social person. Not the kind of person that easily makes friends or know how to make small talk. If someone wants to make friends they have to tell me that in a pretty concrete way and be prepared to be the contact seeking part. Over and over. I'm just rubbish at it.

    How does that pertain to blog following? I don't always understand what I'm supposed to do, so to speak. I like it when someone loves my blog enough to follow it, but should I interpret that as the person is saying I should follow her (or him) in return? Is it a faux pas not to? And comments, will the person think I'm arrogant or don't care about the comments if I don't e-mail an answer or hop over to the commentor's blog and write something? It's nice to see that the blogger responds in some way in the comments. But I don't expect any more than that so I guess I don't give any more.

    Sometimes I even forget to reply in the comments, either because I'm busy and prioritize other things or because I don't know what to say. At least I've altered the text over the comment box to let people know that I truely do appreciate comments and followers. A lot. I'm just rubbish at showing it...


    I like the internet and written words, it's easier for those of us not born gregarious or not being good at interpreting social codes. I can take the time to think of a proper reply or reaction, erase and rewrite, which I can't IRL. But it can still be problematic when interacting using social media. I know part of it is about learning social media etiquette, and that's something no one's born with. But tacit codes of conduct are so much harder to learn when you're not naturally gregarious. You easily look less appreciative and somewhat more unfriendly than you are.

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  54. I admit initially I followed and commented everywhere. Now I look at the overall blog posts and see. I tend to follow blogs that have similar interests to mine. In my case that is beading, sewing, and military spouses right now.

    I like people who are honest, funny, open, have pictures, and who share their lives not just their business. I like to feel like I'm having a conversation with them when I read their posts. And when I comment I tend to write as I would if I were talking to you in person.

    I also like blogs with tutorials because I love learning!

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  55. Hmmmm... reasons that I follow a blog. Well if I run across a blog that looks interesting, I will usually follow it just so that I can find it again. If I find later that it doesn't meet a need that I had then I unfollow it.

    I tend to follow book reviewers because I also review books, jewelry designers because I love this community and I might find something that sparks my muse (exp> I saw a bracelet last night that excited my muse, now I have a necklace designed in my head that I have to put together after work tonight. It doesn't look anything like the bracelet but that spark started it all). and food blogs because I collect recipes even though I never find the time to cook them. I love it when the blog owner responds back to me though I admit that I am horrible about it. Improving that is one of my goals for the year.

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  56. Thanks Lori for another great article. I never fail to learn something helpful from reading your blog posts,
    You are always very generous in sharing your experiences with your readers and i think my blog is improving because of it..

    I follow a variety of blogs that are informative, have great photos,share crafting experiences and tutorials but more importantly have a personal connection with the writer. blogs that are overtly commercial in formatt, have automatic music or wiggly jumpy images are not as engaging even if they do have good info.

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  57. Looking through my blog list, I seem to follow mainly vegans, jewellery artists and polymer clayers (and some of them are all three *G*)

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  58. The main reason I started following blogs was because it met my need to read. I love reading books but got away from it when I started making jewelry. So blogs, especially jewelry related ones, fill a void. Another reason is that I need to start a blog and haven’t yet. So, I read blogs for inspiration. I just recently began commenting on blogs (baby steps) which I was hesitant to do for some reason. I read blogs if they strike a chord with me in some way.

    BTW, I have different blogs bookmarked at home, work and on my phone. Blogs I really enjoy are bookmarked in all three places.

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  59. I follow because of a shared interest. I enjoy reading and seeing the unique styles of other designers. I also really enjoy the opportunities to join in on blog hops, they keep me going in a direction I want to be, designing my own jewelry.
    My blog is relatively new so I do follow some that have been blogging for quite a while, I feel I'm learning from them and becoming part of a fun community of friends.

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  60. I wasn't aware of the stats page until you just mentioned it. I clicked on my own and I couldn't believe how many people have actually been to my blog. I only have 1 follower and people seldom leave comments so I was surprised how many silent readers are out there.

    I follow blogs for so many different reasons: photography, humor, creative talents, general good-feel writing - I think it's nice to have an assortment. I don't read all of them every day. It depends on what kind of mood I'm in.

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  61. Lori, what a great topic. I´ve been given this a lot of thoughts during OWOH bloghopping. I follow blogs that appeal me in some way. That would be the way of writing, the photos, the art and what is shared.

    I always look for the blogs heart - the person behind it. That´s the most important thing to me.
    I also love to read about artistic work that I don´t do myself - I learn so much about other ways of expressions. As for myself, I would rather have few followers that read and comment than a lot that don´t care.

    And the layout is also important. A black or red blog with white text is almost hopeless to read and one gives up.

    Anyway, we are all different and find different things interesting. For me it´s important that people are nice to each other and give something back to the ones that take their time to read and comment. I´ve commented on a lot of blogs even several times and never get a comment back. That makes me stop following or just jump over it.

    Thank you Lori for putting words to this topic. Wish my english was better...

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  62. I have had my blog for a while, but have not put much time in to it. I am just getting my feet wet in the blogger world. I follow blogs that are interesting and Lori, I love the tips that you give for successful blogging. I came across the Bead Soup sign-ups the very last day and have been checking in here ever since. This has been a good way to check out other interesting blogs.
    Linda
    Must-haves Jewelry

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  63. Reading my blog friends is my morning routine that I REALLY look forward to. A cup of coffee and some good blog reading starts my day on a high note. I enjoy blogs that are personal, have good photographs, are inspiring, or make me laugh. I enjoy "meeting" the bloggers family and friends and pets through pictures and stories. One of my favorite blogs is written by a 12 year old girl about her wonderful 12 year old life.
    Thanks for asking this question. It made me think a bit.
    Cenya

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  64. I've listed in order what draws me to follow a blog:
    Great Photos
    Content
    Authenticity

    All of which I have found in your blog my friend :) Happy blogging!

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  65. Good question, Lori. For me, the blogger has to be real, has to write like a real person talking, not like someone who's writing a paper for school. Then, I want to see what you have to say. If all you write about is your jewelry, that can be fine but I'd really like to know who you are besides that. I like to know what makes you sing and brings you joy or what makes you cry or brings you pain. In short what makes you a real person.

    You've always had that quality, Lori. Plus you have the beautiful jewelry and gorgeous photos.

    AND you have responded to me personally when I've written you. That seals the deal. I come to your blog daily and always love it. When I get a blog (notice I didn't say IF), I hope it to be as much like yours as possible (while being my own voice).

    Thanks, Lori.
    SallyA

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  66. I have to say that the two most important things for me is 1)that I like the visual part of the blog in terms of the design and of course the jewelry, and 2) that the blog feels personal - it doesn't have to be super personal, it could be a personal style of writing or something that gives you a glimpse of the person behind the text.

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  67. Hi Lori and all you other art girls! I follow blogs that I find visually inspiring and have fun original pages. I try to follow only those that interest me artistically , however there are many "tech" related blogs that I find very helpful. I only have 71 followers and would probably spill my coffee too if I had over 900!! Congrats on that Lori! I will leave a link to my blog in case any of you would like to check it out and leave a comment . I would love to reach 900 like you one day! xo

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  68. http://lisaschmidtartstudio.blogspot.com/

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  69. Seems as though you've asked the right question to get us thinking Lori...

    I will follow any blog that follows me but, having said that...I only read certain blogs I have listed on my side bar...I read these because I've gotten to know the blogger/blog and enjoy what she/he has to say/do! I don't actively search for new blogs to follow but when I come across a blog that piques my interest I'll read two or three posts before I decide to put the blog on my side bar. I do make a point of commenting when I visit...there is always something that can be said! I very much enjoy it when others comment on my blog and I'm sure others do as well.

    For me it really is all about clicking with the blogger/blog...

    Cheers

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  70. Great post, Lori.
    I basically follow bead or jewelry blogs, but only because I don't have enough time to follow more! Once I visit a new blog, I explore a little, to see what else they have to say. If they are of a like mind (to me), or they are funny or otherwise interesting, I hit the follow button.
    In the case of your blog, I especially like your blog because you have a very positive message, even when you're down. You are kind and it shows in your posts. Plus, you make beautiful jewelry.
    I read all my blogs through "Reader", and I don't know how to comment from there, so I tend to be a "lurker". If I feel compelled to comment (like now), I'll open the blog and leave a comment.
    You are right about commenting. And, you have been nice enough to leave comments on my tiny little blog, and for that I thank you very much! You are so nice!
    P.S. I did not comment on your "Let's Meet" post, because we are already planning on meeting at Beadfest!!

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  71. Being fairly new to blogging, I have been thinking about why I should follow some blogs. I am drawn to blogs about most arts and crafts and love when a new technique, tool or idea is shared. Reading about others' creativity gets my muse moving, too. Most attractive are blogs that have text broken up by pictures because I often have too many other things I have to read, and a pic is worth a 1000 words. I enjoy a little personal family info thrown in because most of us have to work around similar issues. And humor is always a bonus. Artist interviews and studio views are great. I guess it all comes down to that personal connection you feel in some blogs.

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  72. Hi Lori well i did'nt even know this was out there(blogging) until recently. I wanted to check out some more pics of jewelry i saw in Bead Star Mag. I was instantly drawn not by the jewelry but the personal stories of others & making me feel not so alone in the world about my feeling & struggles with cronic pain, don't get me wrong the jewelry is amazing & an inspiration i can' wait to show my unique creation with everyone i acually have quite a collection i do the local art & craft fairs & festivals over the summer and i often offer my jewelry sales for fundraisers.Thanks to all of the bloggers i follow you make me feel not so alone in this big wide world lots of love Lana from Ontario Cananda

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  73. For me to follow a blog- I need to feel the persons personality come through. I think if it is honest, and funny, and informative, those are the qualities that get me hooked. Some I just love to look at their creations, some I love the photos, but mostly- its the writing, and the getting to know someone and their creative process a little deeper.

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  74. I love to look at what others are creating so if you often post photos of beautiful things and have a sense of humor I will follow you. If you don't post for months at a time I will toss your link away in the wind.

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  75. I follow different blogs for different reasons. I started to follow your blog because you are a friend. Some I follow if I feel they have a body of work that I can tell will blossom into a bouquet over time and I want to stick around for the show.
    I follow some who are doing amazing an innovative work.
    Others I will follow if they write good stuff and do interesting things with their life.
    You fit into those categories too!

    And lastly, there are some I follow if they've invited me to.

    As for responding to comments. My head cannot always keep up because I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the volume of comments or questions.

    I'm quiet and keep to myself mostly. :o)

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  76. I love the 1st 2 graphics, Lori!

    I avoid blog hops. They're just aren't enough hours in the day. I follow only blogs I really like (like this one).

    I've tried to limit myself to 30 blogs on my follow list. When I find a new one I LOVE, I have to eliminate one I don't visit much anymore.

    But ... Google recently made some changes I am struggling with and I can't edit my list anymore. It's getting out of control! Aaargh ...

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  77. Lori, can I first just say that you always soothe me. The way you write is calming and nurturing and I love all of you tips-always.

    I follow a blog for many reason. But I know I am not drawn to people that don't personalize it. I love the business blogs (crafters/designers) as much as I like the family blogs, but when the business blogs lack the human behind the keyboard I move on. I love the highs and low's of a blog too. When their is a good balance I click on the "follow" button.

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  78. I like much following a blog where I find something special and touching, it might be a lovely photo, a friendly thought - usually something to make me smile or really 'getting involved'. This happens very often in your blog although I do not always leave a comment.
    Commenting in english just makes me often feel uneasy - perhaps I'll not get understood. Well, I leave comments anyway :-D And smiles!

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  79. poor kitty! That will teach her to get to close while your blogging!

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  80. A very inspirational, thought- provoking post!
    I found your blog searching for jewellery- related blogs. And unlike many others, you don't just push your "stuff for sale"- you tell stories, anecdotes, little tid- bits. You share bits and bats of your life, and you don't seem to be afraid of who's out there to judge you.
    Your photography is whimsical, and sometimes, a picture you share says more than 1000 words.
    I follow blogs if and when I can see and appreciate the person who writes them, which, I think, is my stance in a nutshell. Appreciation comes from so many different angles- "love the humour", "admire the determination", "would love to be like her one day", "I disagree, but kudos for putting herself out there", "whow... you what???"... I think you get the picture. With you, it's a bit like home. Darn nice to come back to, not two days are the same, and some things don't need to be said in order to be understood.
    Does that make any sense?

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  81. This will be lost in the dusty old posts but I am still catching up on many of the blogs I follow, been too busy to browse much. Love your suggestions about following and love meeting people like you who really make an effort to connect. We are all busy with life but it is those real connections that keep us inspired and working with passion. Pictures are my favorite part of blogs. Good pictures speak louder than words. Some people have lots and lots to say but without pictures they lose my interest pretty quickly. Heart and Humor hold second and third place in my list of great blogs to follow. You have inspired me again. Maybe I will create a post about
    what I love about the blogs I follow. Thanks for everything Lori, you are definitely one of the most awesome bloggers I know. See you tomorrow!!!

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  82. I think the reason I follow blogs is simply because i am fascinated by people's minds and ideas and love to take a little peak. It is my first time stopping by your blog but I truly loved the way you write and express yourself. In addition as a jewelry designer I often browse around for inspirations.

    Hope you have an amazing mother's day.
    Your 901 follower, Michelle

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  83. Thank you so much for this information! I have been trying to get more followers for my blog as well! Very inspiring! Thank you!

    Nikki
    www.etsy.com/shop/trendzjewelrysupply

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  84. I think blog following is good way to appreciate someone'blog but we can also make followers in our blogs.

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  85. Interesting articles. I follow a blog when I read one article and that I want to read another one and another one after that. Usually, I like blogs that inspire me in a way or another; It can be on a graphic or aestitic level, the tone used or the topic, it doesn't matter as long as it makes me want to actually "DO" something. Reading your articles has made me more motivated than ever to make my own blog more inspiring therefore you are inspiring me and for that, I will follow you!
    cheers,
    Claire

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  86. Some really useful slides here. I've been looking for something like this to help with a research piece I've been working on.
    Stationery Design

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