At the rise of social media, the number of followers one has been a big thing. For many it still is. To the extent that influence is a bliss, that is. Or the proverbial “size matters for some and for others not much.”
I used to be very active on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, to the point that I had more than 250 interactions a day. I guess I could be have been called an influencer or a guru, because I had more than 5 500 followers on Twitter and over 22 000 on Instagram. Mainly, cause I was running growth hacking experiments.
However, the majority of interactions were, in 99% of the cases, contained to a handful of tweeps or instagrammers. The rest was just a number to me, as much as I was a number to them – a sort of status that proves you have the possible reach, but not really. An inevitable ego boost or a natural conclusion of the act of mental masturbation.
I must admit that earlier in my social media career I was also looking at the count of followers. Back then they were in the vicinity of the lower triple digits. Later on, when the number started growing, I was running an experiment monitoring the count and asking people who have unfollowed me what urged them to do so.
As one can imagine the reasons were just as many as the answer of “How do you like your eggs?”: tweeting too much, not publishing enough updates, irrelevant content, incompatible views about the world, etc. And as soon as I have established that there is no real pattern, I discontinued to the research and focused on growth hacking.
That said, growth hacking turned out to be yet another act of mental masturbation. The more followers I gained, the engagement rate with the content I was publishing was actually decreasing (percentage wise, that is). Newcomers seemed not to care much about my rumblings. I was getting attention predominantly from those I originally interacted with. Until a point.
Now, when I look back, there are very few people following me from the very beginning who still do so. My exhibitionist incline has lowered down to almost sea level. I’ve stopped publishing on Instagram, drastically decrease my presence on LinkedIn, almost completely discarded Facebook as a place to be, and nowadays can be categorised more as a reader on Twitter.
None of this matters anymore to me. If it was not part of my job, I’d probably delete my Facebook profile and seriously consider my presence on Twitter and Instagram. The way I see it is that technology yet again developed much faster and the humankind is playing catch up. The amount of noise is way more than anything that makes sense or provides any nuggets of something that could interest me.
Perhaps things will change eventually, but for now I will try to consume more than I actually produce or share. I just don’t see how the latter will make any difference, given the current media landscape, social behaviour or the demand the community has.
The number of followers does not correlate necessarily to the engagement rate, but about that some other time. Until then, read my take on the retweets and favs/likes on Twitter.
Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer
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