Saturday, March 13, 2021

Following, and followers

woman in an orange dress leading a flock of white geese across a barren ground
Max Pixel photo
"Following" is one of three ways that your readers can opt to be notified when you publish a new post on your blog. 

Followers are those who have added your blog to their reading list at

Google provides a Followers widget where anyone with a Blogger account can sign up as a follower. The widget also shows who your public followers are. 

However, there are other widgets, and other ways to follow.

Following is all that remains today of something called Google Friend Connect, an early basic social layer of Google.

Similarly, the Reading List, which is on your dashboard, is in some ways an echo of Google Reader, a popular (and discontinued) feed reader.

Following and Your Feed

Following is, in fact, a special form of feed subscription. If you disable your feed, or take your blog private, following won't work.

Readers can follow your blog anonymously or publicly. 

You can see a list of your public followers on a link from your Stats page, and also from the Followers gadget, if you have installed it. 

You can't see your private followers or even know how many of them there are.

Readers can follow from their Reading List pages, or from your Follower's gadget.

Readers who try to follow without being signed in to a Google account are prompted create or sign into an account. 

A Slimmer Follow Gadget

this blog

If you'd like to make this option available to your readers, but not use up so much space, here is how to create a stripped down "follow" gadget.

  • Following is opt-in only. You can block a follower, but you cannot add a new follower.
  • Following is distinct from subscribing by email. Followers are not automatically added to your subscribers list at Feedburner.

Learn more: subscribe • feed reader


  1. Isn't it funny how google keeps changing but still seems to be doing the same thing?

    I actually don't like the Follower gadget, it never seems useful to me but people seems to like it so I keep it on my blog.

    Anyway, I changed my follower gadget. Thanks for the idea/tutorial.

    Have a lovely day.

    1. Lissa, some journalists have made a career of asking "what the heck is going on with Google?"

      I'm glad the tutorial ("stripped-down follow gadget") was helpful.