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How to decide what bloggers to follow?

Even if you are new to the personal finance blog sphere, it soon becomes apparent that there are lots of personal finance blogs out there and a myriad of bloggers to follow. From thinly disguised sales pitches to company and personal blogs, there are many different types of content. I’m going to concentrate on personal blogs here as I feel this is where I have the most interest. No apologies, I am just not interested in sales pitches, or building relationships with corporations.

Some personal blogs are mainly open journals (people share some fascinating things), some are very factual, some attempting to influence and there are lots with a mixture of content. You’ll find a wide range of people represented, but how do you decide which bloggers to follow and build a relationship with?

Should we connect?

We are all human. And as they say, connecting is one of the most basic human desires. We are ultimately a social species, which enjoys the company of other members of our species, albeit in different quantities depending on your level of intra or extra-version.

Yet money and personal finances have historically been very taboo, with few people openly discussing such matters in real life. Especially in the UK, money- along with politics and religion – is not a suitable topic for conversation over dinner. Nonetheless, I feel it is really important that we break down these barriers, and overcome the taboos, and start talking openly and honestly talk about money. And I’m not alone in thinking this way.

Hence the personal finance blog sphere has exploded recently, offering everyone a low-cost way to display their platform. That platform is on display to everyone around the world with an internet connection: from bloggers who interact with both their readers and other bloggers, to readers who interact or readers who merely consume. There are so many bloggers to follow, numbering well into the thousands.

How to decide which bloggers to follow? Ms ZiYou to follow button

So faced with an overwhelming number of options, how do you decide which bloggers to follow? How do you guard your precious and valuable time, while also taking time to read, learn and reflect on your beliefs and life plans?

When wielding that powerful “Follow” button, the obvious drive is for people to gravitate to people just like you. Perhaps it’s people with a similar family set up, occupation, country or religious belief. You read their blog and immediately think: this could be me. This is all so relatable.

Connect with people like you

So you do what comes naturally, and click the link to subscribe to people like you. Their stories, trials and tribulations are very close to home. You feel they are living your life. You share, you emphasise and you feel part of a tribe. It’s reassuring that your way of thinking and doing things is validated. One of life’s underrated pleasures is finding someone who is truly on your wavelength. You feel happy and safe, and therefore are much more receptive to any advice offered or guidance received.

Carbon Copies Don’t Abound – You are unique

But don’t be put off if you cannot find anyone just like you. It is unusual to find someone exactly like you in every single facet of life. You might be the only llama riding male democrat in his 50’s that loves opera. But don’t let this put you off connecting. There are plenty of other llama riders out there, just some may be republican. And plenty of other opera lovers – just some will be 20-year-old women. By concentrating on your commonalities, you can connect and find a new friend who also loves llama riding. Building bonds based on common interests allows you to expand your network beyond your usual bubble, with people you have at least one thing in common with.

Agree and Disagree

So once you find people you strongly identify with and have shared interests, this is where the growth happens. Don’t expect people to be absolutely like you in every way of their life just because you both are committed to animal rights and are strict vegans. Instead, leverage your shared passion and connection to learn more and ask questions. Making sure you keep things respectful, gently challenge and ask for the rationale for their beliefs. Don’t adopt the missionary approach and try to convert people, just accept that you are different but show a true desire to learn and understand their position.

Have many tribes

I’d advocate following and connecting with a wide range of people. As an example, here are how I’d categorise some of my tribes, people I have at least one thing in common with.

  • Female high earning personal finance bloggers
  • Strong feminist women – especially those on Twitter
  • UK FIRE Bloggers
  • Bloggers who run
  • Blogger who garden and grow veg

But also connect with different people

And more importantly, I try to follow a few bloggers with differing views. This is the hard, but worthwhile bit. I know am guilty of aligning myself with people who think like me. Which could lead me to a little bubble, protected from all those non-conforming viewpoints. Although I find it strange that people have differing views to me, I am trying to not label them as wrong, but instead to listen and understand them.

Appreciate the perspectives – Build Love not hate

In my experience, building relationships with people helps me see them as people, not just a type or specific subset of person. And being able to listen to the other side’s arguments is necessary to demonstrate understanding, and to be able to challenge or confirm my own beliefs. Agreeing to disagree is one of the key constructs of civilised society. By learning to see things from others perspectives, and respecting those who differ we can grow as people. This is also a key skill in life, helping you get along with people who you don’t always see eye to eye with.

How to find more blogs

So if you are looking for some new inspiration, more reading material or some new viewpoints to challenge your existing beliefs, here are some places you can find them. Take your pick from:

Ms ZiYou Women Who Money

Women who money is aiming to provide trustworthy personal finance advice for women. The editorial policy is women-centric, but not exclusively female. Some great female bloggers are involved, you can find some great bloggers to follow here.

Ms ZiYou FIREHub logo

FIREhub.eu focuses on the European continent, with FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) focused blogs. Run as a non-profit, this is free of advertising and sponsored content and aims to bring people interested in FIRE together in an open and inclusive way.

Ms ZiYou CampFIRE Finance logo

A new aggregator, CampFIRE finance focuses exclusively on FIRE focused blogs.

Note: CampFIRE finance has committed to diversity, to review the male/female representation and ensure it is balanced

Ms ZiYou Rockstar LogoEncompassing all sorts of money blogs, from debt payoff to frugal living to early retirement, Rockstar Finance is a good resource, providing you many different bloggers to follow. This is a for-profit enterprise.

In summary

The world is your oyster, and you have so many ways to connect with people from all around the world. It’s great to connect with those similar to you, but greater personal growth and understanding can be reached by going further. Follow someone with differing views. Respectfully agree to disagree, and ensure you are not staying in a carefully curated bubble.

Over to you

  • What are your thoughts?
  • How do you decide who to follow?
  • How many of the people you interact with are just like you?
  • Do you follow many people with opposing beliefs?

Thanks for reading – please leave a comment below and join in the conversation. You can also connect on Twitter or Pinterest.

Looking forward to your thoughts and ideas – all are welcome. 

32 comments on “How to decide what bloggers to follow?

  1. I’ve never really thought about which blogs I choose to follow but it does make sense to organize based on creating your tribe and finding new perspectives. Also, I love the idea of opera-loving llama-riders connecting across political lines. =D

  2. I haven’t really thought about this topic much. Overall I enjoy reading blog stories of people who are telling their personal story. Many are in personal finance, some are not. The most interesting are people who keep it real, which is why I appreciate your blog.

  3. I like the idea of putting who to follow a bit more into system. Right now I just follow a lot of different bloggers on Bloglovin and click on the articles that sound interesting. What I’m struggling with is also who to engage with. I guess many of the same principles apply there 🙂

    1. Thanks for commenting Carl – that’s really interesting, I hadn’t heard that many people that use Bloglovin, but your description makes me want to use it!

  4. What are your thoughts?
    – Great post. I follow an eclectic mix of personal finance bloggers.
    How do you decide who to follow?
    – I tend to follow those that have similar views to mine or blog about things I aspire to.
    How many of the people you interact with are just like you?
    – Probably less than half. Like you say, it is very hard to find bloggers exactly like you. I guess that makes me “unique”.
    Do you follow many people with opposing beliefs?
    – Not that I can recall, I think that would be counter-intuitive.

    Do you follow many people with opposing views?

  5. I tend to follow bloggers who I can relate to. For this reason, I follow all of the physician personal finance bloggers (there are so many of them now). But of course I follow many other blogs that have some focus on travel, credit card points/miles, minimalism, zerowaste, veganism, plant-based body building, health, and parenting because that’s everything I am interested in.

    I follow a lot of people with opposing beliefs because, like you said, everybody is different. But I do follow people who generally have the same core values as I do. I think it would be a waste of my time to follow somebody who doesn’t share my values.

    Just because another person is a strict vegan and hardcore animal rights advocate, I don’t automatically assume I am exactly like them. 😉

  6. Oo, interesting topic. I’ve been thinking about this recently. So many blogs, so little time! I follow ~30 blogs across different topics (fashion, personal finance, lifestyle). I definitely notice an “echo chamber” effect within each topic, so I definitely agree with you about trying to follow or at least explore blogs with different viewpoints. I do most of my exploration via the aggregator websites you posted, or just random late-night browsing 🙂 I think the blogs I most admire are those that’s successfully crossed boundaries, e.g., fashion + finance, and thus reach a broader audience.

    1. I know Jess, there are so many cool blogs, sometimes it’s hard to know who to pick. And yes, those that cross boundaries effortlessly are always cool to read.

  7. I think the way I follow blogs are as follows: Once I come across a blog, I first and foremost read the About Me page (or similar post on why they are writing); then I read at least a couple of posts, and if by that time I get the feeling that this writer has something to offer to me, I follow them. Similarities help, especially geographic ones. A similar age group, or similar time-in-their-lives help to form an association as well.

    What I hate with a passion are banner ads and pop-up(s) which incessantly badger me to follow them or sign up for newsletter or download a pdf copy of their out-of-the-world advice.

    1. Sounds like we are pretty similar! Connection to a personal story is usually what draws me in. I am immediately turned off by sites where it is clear that the intent is to make money.

  8. In the main (though not exclusively), I pretty much really only go for one ‘tribe’, which is UK FIRE Bloggers, and that includes people at the start of their journey up to people who have FIREd. I also follow some investment blogs, probably in the hope that I will learn something! But with all blogs, I select them in the same way as @NWA-non, in that I will read their About me page and read a couple of posts before I follow.

    The number of female bloggers I follow is on the skinny side, only around 25% of my blogroll – I need to look for more.

    I enjoy reading about people not like me, as long as I can identify with them and ‘get’ what they are saying.

    Take you for instance – we are female UK FIRE bloggers – snap! However, I think that’s where similarities end…you’re a high earner (I’m not), you live in London (I’m up norf), you had a middle-class up bringing (mine was working class), you’re a feminist (I’m not), you run (I don’t), you have green fingers (I don’t), you work in IT (I work in legal), my parents were immigrants to the UK (yours weren’t), you will FIRE in 2 years (more like 7 years for me) and you’re a bloomin’ dollar millionaire!! You could say we barely have anything in common and yet, I read what you write and can see where you’re coming from. It’s probably the same with all the other blogs I follow.

    I’ve even met a few of the bloggers I follow (at FIRE meet ups) and my life is nothing like theirs but we all have a common cause!

    I’ve only ever unfollowed one blog as I couldn’t be arsed any more with his misogyny and retrospective editing of articles and deleting of people’s comments.

    PS – it’s good to see your blogging mojo is back! 🙂

    1. Hi Weenie – that’s interesting that you and NWA do the investigative approach, to see if you like before you follow. And I think there are many more male than female bloggers, so your ratio doesn’t seem that off! And yes, the common cause of FIRE does help bridge the gulf, and makes us happily interact with people we’d never normally bump into in everyday life. I think you are ace and have a really interesting life, although I don’t get this fascination with beer – drink of the devil in my eyes!

  9. This is a very thought-provoking post! I often get overwhelmed by all the blogs I want to follow and just don’t have the time for. I used to subscribe to loads and loads (and loads) and then I realised it was ridiculous. I would always scan the list of new posts for particular bloggers and I was excited when they published a new post. So I unfollowed the rest and just concentrated on the ones I had left. Now that we started FIREhub though I’ve found a gazillion more blogs I like and new ones are starting all the time, so I’m a bit overwhelmed again.

    Thinking about it, I mostly enjoy following bloggers who don’t take themselves too seriously, include jokes and make fun of themselves. I’m not so keen on blogs with overly long, meticulously researched articles about very technical investing stuff. Like most people I prefer personal stories. I also intensely dislike popups and free ebooks.

    While it’s still true that most finance bloggers are men, I can immediately think of about 20 really good blogs written by women that I enjoy even if I don’t religiously follow them.

    One of the main reasons I started blogging was to become part of the community and meet other bloggers. I love going to (and organising) meetups and geeking out with like-minded people. We don’t even talk about investing that much! Obviously there are very few people even bordering on being remotely like me in the community (I could be wrong – if there are any other Scottish FIREd ex-translator zero waste minimalist polyglot mothers married to Hungarians living in Romania out there, please get in touch!), but still I feel like I have enough in common with a lot of the bloggers out there that I can relate to them and enjoy their posts. Although just as an experiment I may try to find a blogger who is as unlike me as possible and follow them for a while to see what happens!

    Sorry to ramble on – I’m off now. Thanks for mentioning FIREhub and writing about our values! Your support means a lot to us.

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting Mrs W – I think you are doing awesome things with Firehub, you’ve overcome the challenge with all the languages admirably! And +1 for hating popups and free ebooks.

  10. You ask some great questions Ms ZiYou.

    I do my blog reading mostly via feedly (no adverts, no annoying email subscription prompts). Side note: bloggers who only publish a snippet in their RSS feeds are not cool.

    When I discover a new voice I tend to go back and read their back catalogue.

    After that if they are amazing writers, or a further along a similar journey than I am, then I will add them to my RSS subscriptions.

    Writing often is hard, writing well is harder. I regularly share worthy content via my TimeWellSpent curation. Credit where credit is due!

    Often times I will outgrow a blogger, either overtaking them on my journey, or simply tiring of the repetition of their message. In either case I will cease following them pretty quickly unless they are amazing writers.

    I really enjoy a blog where the author has a different approach or a compelling narrative where a writer is nobly/diligently pursuing a dream, i.e. [FvL](https://firevlondon.com/) and [RIT](http://www.retirementinvestingtoday.com/) respectively. Or one that is consistently time well spent like [Monevator](http://www.monevator.com).

    I lose interest quickly when a blogger achieves their goal then does an endless victory lap boasting about it, or uses their audience to start pursuing whatever cause now floats their boat, or relentlessly sells into their audience.

    I don’t actively seek out opposing points of view. I did my thing, it worked out pretty well, I now have “*enough*”, and I don’t much care what anyone else thinks. Reddit and Twitter provide great platforms for arguing and trolling, neither are really my thing.

    1. Thanks for sharing SlowDad, some great tips there. I had wondered what the point of feedly was, you have succinctly quantified it for me now – thanks.

  11. I’m at the other end of the spectrum. I retired at 55 a few years ago, if I had heard about FIRE, I suspect I would have gone about 10 years earlier. However I was deep into the ‘build as good a pension as you can’ scenario. I had been badly hit by leaving to have children, not getting pension credits while I was working part-time. So much so, that I left work with 24 years pension, while my peers left with 37 years, even though I had only 2 years off work! And don’t get me onto the discussion about equal pay. Despite being at a very senior level in IT, I know I was not paid the same as my peers. At one stage I had a 25% pay-rise to bring me into the same ball-park! Not equal…
    While things are not yet perfect, they are a lot better than they were. My Mum in 1951 had to give up her very good job in the Civil Service, because she was getting married! I could write a book about it – maybe I will….
    Maybe in a few years, we will be able to say the pay-gap has been eliminated. I do hope so!

    1. Hi Erith – that’s really interesting to hear from you that you may have retired earlier if you had other people doing the same.

      My mum did complain a lot about loss of pension when she took time off, and the idea of paternity leave was a joke then. And I can’t believe you didn’t get pension credits when part time.

      And I am very angry on your behalf about the gender pay gap – that absolutely sucks and is an absolute disgrace, so sorry we couldn’t get it all sorted in time for you.

      And I for one would love to read that book – the glacial speed of equality? How even after Dagenham, companies get away with classifying all women’s work as lower level.

What do you think?