Many of us are familiar with Google Friend Connect (GFC), that little sidebar widget that displays a blogs “Followers” and invites you to “Join this site”. It’s one way in which bloggers like to display their blog’s popularity, and many blogs like using it as a requirement for giveaway entries. If you “follow” a blog through Google Friend Connect, that blog’s posts show up both in your Blogger Dashboard (if you have an account) and your Google Reader (my RSS feed reader of choice) if you have a Google account.
A few weeks ago, Google announced they would discontinue Google Friend Connect for non-Blogger blogs (also see the discussion over at IFB). Since Alterations Needed is no longer on Blogger (I moved over to WordPress over summer), that means Google Friend Connect will no longer work here after March 1, 2012. For that reason, after today, I’m taking the widget off my blog. I believe GFC followers will still receive posts, despite the widget being taken off the blog, until March 1, 2012, but I won’t know for sure until I post my next post.
What this means for you:
If you use Google Friend Connect to subscribe to your favorite blogs: Take note that after March 1, 2012, any blogs you’ve followed with GFC that are non-Blogger blogs may no longer show up in your Blogger Dashboard or Google Reader. This may be a good opportunity to look through the non-Blogger blogs you follow through GFC, and see if you’d like to subscribe to them in another way.
If you have Google Friend Connect installed on your non-Blogger blog: You may want to alert your GFC followers of this issue. It is obviously up to you whether or not to take down your GFC widget, but the longer you leave it up, may just lead to more followers you have to hope subscribe to your blog in another way come March.
If you have Google Friend Connect installed on your Blogger blog: It appears Google is keeping GFC as a Blogger-only follow widget, so you don’t have to worry about possibly losing readers due to this change. However, if you decide to move your blog from Blogger to another blogging platform, you need to think about what this might do to your readership.
Here are some ways you can subscribe to Alterations Needed, if you’d like of course, or if you’re following through Google Friend Connect and would like to continue subscribing in another way.
Other ways to follow or subscribe to Alterations Needed:
RSS feed: You can use this link to subscribe to my RSS feed, which will bring each and every post straight to your favorite RSS reader of choice. Some favorites include Google Reader (if you have a Gmail account, your Google Reader is usually linked at the top of your Gmail inbox, or sometimes under the link “More”), My Yahoo!, Newsgator, Bloglines, and Netvibes, just to name a few.
Bloglovin: You can use this link to subscribe to my posts using Bloglovin, which is a lovely RSS reader that is geared toward fashion, beauty and personal style blogs.
Twitter: You can use this link to follow me on Twitter. I chat on Twitter quite a bit, where I share links to new posts, interesting things I find around the web, as well as live-tweet shopping finds. Quite a few petite bloggers hang out on Twitter, chatting fashion through the day, so even if you don’t join Twitter to follow me, you should definitely check it out to keep up with your favorite bloggers.
Facebook: You can use this link to follow me on Facebook. I post less on Facebook than I do on Twitter because I don’t want to clutter up your News Feed, but I do share links to new blog posts, and only the really interesting stuff I find. I also do my best to answer questions and give advice if you ask.
Tumblr: This one is new! I’m playing around with Tumblr for those of you who like to use your Tumblr dashboard to catch up with your favorite blogs. For now, I’m linking to new blog posts and fun Instagram shots, but I’m hoping to add more interesting things as I get the hang of it.
While this means some readers of Alterations Needed may get stranded during the switch in March, I’m a little happy about this. I’ve always felt Google Friend Connect was a bit useless. I feel other ways of subscribing to blogs are much more useful to readers, and asking for followers through GFC seemed to me a lot like a vanity metric that bloggers got a bit too obsessed with. I’ll admit, I jumped on the mandatory “follow my blog” band wagon for a few giveaways in the past, but I always felt conflicted by it, and only really did it due to the pressure I felt about growing my number of followers when compared to my blogging peers. But really, when it comes down to it, unless you are an active Blogger or Google Reader user, GFC served no helpful purpose for you, the reader. I’d rather you subscribe in a way that is helpful to you (RSS reader of choice, for example) or in a social media way where, if the fancy strikes, you could chat me up (I’m on Twitter more hours of the day than I’d like to admit =P ).
If you subscribe to Alterations Needed through Google Friend Connect, I hope you’ll decide to continue subscribing in another way of your choice. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading, commenting, tweeting, facebooking, subscribing, and helping to build the best online community I could ever ask for over the last three years.