Why Do You ‘Follow’ Me?
I’ve considered the headline to the article. It’s scary — and exciting. Knowing that there are chances it will polarize my readership: some will be patient enough to see and understand my argument, while others will straight up say I’m getting ahead of myself; I need to be more humble about these things.
Why is it that when we start being more intentional with what we want and don’t want, we’re often told we need to think more about our actions and the consequences? Sounds like gaslighting to me…
It’s a topic almost anyone who built an online presence had to deal with at some point. It seems the more you rely on the audience for some metric — views or fans or money — the more impact the decision has.
It sums up to a pretty simple question :
Why am I following this person online?
For me, it’s difficult to separate that question with the one I often ask myself :
Why should anyone follow me?
In that question, the subject of the value I’m adding hovers fiercely.
Anyone who is building an audience, whether they admit it or not, wants it to grow — maybe not to infinity, but to a size that makes the life we want (if dependent on the audience) somewhat sustainable.
I think of Paul Jarvis here, the poster child for how to build a Company of One. Mr. Jarvis has been a solopreneur for decades with no plans of scaling. He even wrote a book about it.
We’ve all read articles about how we shouldn’t bother with new followers; how we should focus on impact, value, etc.
We know the theory. But in the real world, our lizard brain wants to be liked. More followers seem to equal more people liking us.
So, when there’s a sudden loss of people following you, like the recent YouTube purge, we panic.
I know I watch my social media counts. I have a mantra I repeat to myself when I notice I’m panicking:
‘Value over everything. Quality over quantity’.
We imagine a world where no one listens to us digitally and it sends us into a rush of ways to fix it.
So why would anyone willingly put himself in a position that could cause this to happen?
Why would I do a drastic purge of the people I follow online, knowing that this could trigger a massive unfollowing on their part and a panic attack?
Anyone who has done this also knows the importance of focus. The importance of reducing noise and being more intentional with consumption.
At some point in your digital content journey, you will have to make this decision while listening to all the panic alarms go off.
I knew this day was going to come. I might as well do what needs to be done.