Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Saying Goodbye to GFC

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Saying Goodbye to GFC...

No, I'm not migrating from Google Blogger to Wordpress or another platform, but I am saying goodbye to GFC, Google Friend Connect.

Why, you ask? 

Because Google has made yet another change to move bloggers away from Google Friend Connect (GFC), and this latest new change is working to make me choose to say goodbye to GFC.

Almost from the beginning when I started blogging, but did not know enough even to understand what I was reading, Google and bloggers warned that GFC was going away.

Bloglovin' came to town and promised to take us in. 

Somehow, it wasn't and isn't the same. 

When I was a brand new blogger, GFC was how I stumbled upon other bloggers by seeing them on blog sidebars, how I followed other bloggers, and how those other bloggers began following my fledgling blog and encouraging me as a new writer. GFC was how I developed friendships with other bloggers by commenting, by receiving comments, and by linking to linky parties.

I miss seeing names of blogs with thumbnails on sidebars. 
One of my best ways of stumbling upon a new favorite blogger is gone on most blogs. 

Maybe I'm not holding my mouth right, 
but whenever I read a blog using my Bloglovin' feed 
and try to comment, I can't. 

If I close the blog and reopen it not going through Bloglovin', then I can comment. 

Slowly, my GFC numbers climbed from 1 to 5 to 20 followers. The day I hit 100 followers I was over-the-hill happy. A milestone number! When I hit 200 followers was another milestone. Doing a little happy dance...

There my blogging friends sat in my GFC gadget, 

smiling at me in their little thumbnail photos on my sidebar, 

reassuring me every time I opened my blog. 

Each time I lost a GFC follower I wondered why, felt a little sad, and felt a little like I wasn't doing a good job writing.

Little did I know at the time what an honor was bestowed by Anita of Cedar Hill Farmhouse (back then, Cedar Hill Ranch) and Sharon of My French Country Home by following Botanic Bleu on GFC. Both Anita and Sharon were among my first 2-20 followers. When I followed their blogs, they reciprocated and followed mine. Today both of these ladies have their own published books and have huge followings, but not via GCF. Both revamped their blogs long ago and dropped the GFC gadget.

Yet, Botanic Bleu still has page views from Sharon Santoni. Makes my heart smile to see a reader sent from My French Country Home; there were 3 today.

To the right is a snippet from my Reading List. 

As I read the names of blogs on my Reading List, I see familiar faces from their photos and hear familiar voices from their blogs' personalities and writing styles. And remember our connections, their comments filled with care and concern, details about their families, notes about upcoming plans, triumphs and tragedies in their personal lives... 

The day they lost a friend, the day their blogs were featured in a magazine, the day they published their books, the day they told us of their health issues, the day their grandchildren were born... 

Of course, I will always be friends with Lois of Quilts and Other Good Things. She was my very FIRST follower, always commented on every post, and taught me how to connect to linky parties. When she became my follower she commented she remembered how hard it was for a blogger to get the first follower. What a sweet encourager she is.

When I look back at my early posts and see commenters, there is Stacey of Poofing the Pillows leaving encouraging, engaging, meaningful comments. Carol of Art and Sand, Lynne of Dreams on 34th Street, Sarah of Hyacinths for the Soul, Jody of Rooted in Thyme, and the list goes on of bloggers who followed Botanic Bleu on GFC and have become friends that I cherish.

All because of GFC.

All of these bloggers made me feel welcome in the blogging world and made me feel part of the community.

Then early this year (2016), GFC dropped non-Google bloggers from our GFC followers. We saw a drop overnight in our followers.

Two days ago, my Google Friend Connect gadget no longer invited readers to follow my blog. Instead, underneath the gadget, filled with the smiling faces of my friends, was the large single word



Did I accidentally change some setting to cause my GFC gadget no longer to invite new followers? I deleted the gadget, and added it back using the FOLLOW gadget. Still no invitation to follow, only to unfollow

Quick checks around blogland showed other blogs with GFC gadgets still invited new followers. ???? 

Then, today, I began seeing other blogs with unfollow under their GFC gadgets. 

Who needs a great big UNFOLLOW sitting there mocking them every time they open their blogs? 

Not I. 

Today is the day I said goodbye to GFC. 

Then I wondered. How are new bloggers going to make new friends, gain new readers, connect with others? How am I going to do the same thing?

Perhaps it is time... 

H e l l o  T o

I N S T A G R A M 

Update: July 25, 2016, 2:00 p.m.
I still plan to write Botanic Bleu blog, but am looking for new ways to connect with readers. 

A very observant blogger sent me a message to explain the new huge UNFOLLOW.
If a reader does not follow your blog, the reader still sees the invitation to FOLLOW (JOIN) this site. 
After the reader clicks to join the site, the invitation to follow disappears and 
the word UNFOLLOW shows up underneath the GFC gadget. 

Thank you, Betty at My Irish Cottage Home
Please hop over to visit Betty. 

So, people with Google accounts can still follow Google blogs by using Google Friend Connect. 

Thank you so much to everyone for leaving such encouraging comments. 


  1. Judith dear, I could swear you read my post, but I see you didn't come to visit me. I HEAR YA. If you have a moment, come and visit my newest post. I started Instagram last year around late May and I love it. HOWEVER, just be aware, that Instagram like blogging, takes time and a lot of work to meet new people. Come and see my post if you wish, then come to my Instagram.

    There are a lot of changes, and recently, Instagram went through a similar change. While I don't know all the logistics, I do know that Instagram has changed their algorithms and now our posts no longer appear in the order in which we place them. Because of the algorithms they have set up, ONLY THE PHOTOS that their data which is fed into the algorithms that "appeal" to the public will be show first. That has meant a drop in visits and also pushes the lesser IG accounts on the back burner. I am only quoting a few frustrated IG people here, but some of this is an advantage for IG accounts who PAY to get their accounts up front, some of them being business IG accounts. I may have articulated this incorrectly, but what IS correct is that IG has changed.

    However, I love IG. It's fun and fast and for me as a writer, I am reserving my more serious writing for private consumption. My blog is still my headquarters where I will continue to communicate to those faithful few who are interested in my adventures! But my poetry is written privately, shared only with my poetry group and hopefully destined for a publisher. My blog has evolved into a place to share and showcase my evolving photography AND I will be starting a new site from which I will sell my photos, at the right time.

    Your post here comes at just the same time I too have made a change. Come and see my post and come and join me on Instagram. I will follow you! Anita

    1. Anita,
      I popped right over to your blog with its incredible photography and moving message. The journey continues.


  2. OH! I see you wouldn't know I posted since I'm not on your list...but anyhow, do come to visit. Where is your link to your Instagram? I'd love to follow you! XOXOX

  3. The rules keep changing around us, don't they?

  4. Ah yes the good ole days of blogging. When I began 8 years ago it was such a warm and welcoming community. I dropped the GFC button a few months ago when I lost 500 followers in one day. It was nothing they did. It was Google. For me I think in today's world the best way to find new blogs is via images on linky parties. You click on images that appeal to you and meet new friends. It was one of the primary reasons that I wanted to start Thoughts of Home with the other girls. To create a gathering place that was warm and welcoming. Kind of like the old days. :)

  5. Blogging is definitely changing and can I say I don't like change. I'm actually moving to wordpress and this should be completed by the end of summer. Thought I'd never do it but to match my goals it's necessary. Social media drives me Crazy because it's not consistent but I have heard Instagram is the newest things everybody is grabbing onto. Send me a message and I'll give you some more ideas.

    Carole @ Garden Up Green

  6. Of course I know nothing about Instagram, but if you no longer see my replies, I'll figure it out so you know that I'm still out here!

    1. Ginger,
      Thank you for being so loyal. Readers like you are what makes blogging so special.


  7. I love your blog and follow it through Bloglovin' (which, fortunately, allows me to comment). Being a relatively new blogger, I have found it difficult to get followers. At this point, I am focusing on content and will just go from there. Personally, I love social media - but I've always used it as a way to connect with friends & family. I think it changes when it has to be used as a blog marketing tool. I wish GFC hadn't changed (it doesn't make sense to me). Best wishes to you!
    Michelle from Simply Santa Barbara

    1. Michelle,
      Welcome to the blogging world. Thank you for your encouraging words. It is good to know Bloglovin' comments works for someone. I must be holding my mouth wrong. :)


  8. It's a conundrum. At this point in time I just don't have time to figure out a new way of doing things, and I really don't want to go to Google+ and the whole 'in my circle' thing because of my work.......I am 'out there' enough and I don't need clients connecting the dots. I wish I knew what to do about it.

  9. Judith! So what is your Instagram? I would love to follow! Anita

    1. Instagram address will be posted in the near future.... looking forward to connecting with everyone on Instagram, especially you with your stunning photography...


  10. I do not have a blog so much of this post is foreign to me, but do want to say that I am sorry to hear of your troubles.

    I hope everything works out for you as I think you are one of the most articulate, talented bloggers out there and I enjoy what you post!

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

    1. Marilyn,
      Thank you for such encouraging words. They made my week!


  11. Judith,
    I have "no" clue as to what you're writing about.
    I just blog, visit other bloggers, comment and carry on!
    It works for me!
    I did have an unresolved issue with my first blog,
    so, I gently retired it! Something to do with Google +!
    Thanks for sharing, dear one!
    Sorry for your frustrations!
    I say, "Blog on"!

  12. I am coming back to blogging next week after a long break and had no idea this was happening. I see your posts through bloglovin. I have always enjoyed your blog and hope you continue it.

  13. I don't do instagram, so hopefully I will be able to pop in here and still find you. I understand the problem, I just don't have any interest in instant anything, besides they want too much personal info to join. Your blog is one of my favorites, so hopefully you will still be here.

    1. Jaybird,
      You are so encouraging and not just to me. I see the gracious comments you leave on other's bloggers' sites and always feel a little more connected to you.


  14. Thank you for your sweet words, Judith! You have given me more than I could ever have hoped to have given you! I am so far behind on all the blogging news that I was not aware of this change. Thank you for the heads up! I've been taking two classes with lots of readying and usually have my nose buried in a book or working on homework right now. Thank you for all you do for the world of blogging or at least MY world of blogging and blog reading! As always, your photos in this post are stunning! Blessings, Lois

  15. This was so helpful and sums up some of the frustration I have with social media. There is a constant need to build followers. Then to lose ten in a day was frustrating.I'm sad to hear this about Instagram. I'm just now trying to build a base there. I get two followers and lose them just as fast. Thanks for this post. I'm so glad I found you.

  16. This is another ....change... So tired of social media trying to angle for the $ to impress their shareholders. I am on Instagram and I love it. I can't say it has a huge following but I sure get more inspiration there than anywhere! It is like a little magazine feed on your phone. I am adjusting my social stuff too. I am about to ditch Tumblr, it is offensive with it's ads.
    Thanks for sharing at HSH!

  17. Oh Judith, my beautiful friend, I am still recovering from my issues with Google. As I said in my blog post today, my transition to WordPress remains a slow work in progress.

    I disconnected GFC last year because it was stressing me out.

    Instagram is fun, but not the place for people who love to write like you and I. I love IG because my kids use it...enabling me to keep up with my grandchildren. Our beloved Anita publishes her amazing photographs on IG. I was so happy to re-connect with her when she quit blogging last year.

    Hang in there. I know I will never lose you, as you are forever linked to me on my sidebar.


  18. I don't understand why Google can't leave well-enough-alone! Oh well...all we can do is keep-on-keepin'-on.

  19. Hi Judith, I just stopped by to check in and thank you for your kind comment on my blog and I found this post so interesting. I admit. I didn't really understand the recent changes with Google. I can relate to your frustration although I notice that I enjoy blogging much more when I avoid thinking too much about followers. How many I have etc. maybe it's me but it seems to work for me when I stay comfortably detached from it all. But I really appreciated your explanation of all the changes, you've motivated me to become more informed. :) also I will definitely watch for your linky party, it sounds great.


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