following/followers also presents a vanity issue that by nature becomes a popularity contest
The Change We Need

My Twitter Experiment, which is Pertinent

The following/followers issue has a handful of issues. For instance, I might judge someone based on their following/followers ratio before I give their work a fair shake. At that point I’m biased. It’s hard to get past bias like that. It’s exhausting.

The following/followers culture on Medium works similarly to the following/followers culture on Twitter. I did an experiment once where I maxed out how many people I followed on Twitter. Did you know you could do that? You can. You can follow two thousand people on Twitter, and you can’t follow more than that until your ratios balance out.

It had an odd impact on my Twitter followers: I went from having a bit over a hundred — mostly people I know offline — to over a thousand. That happened in less than a week.

So I suddenly had ten times the followers. The sad irony was that I didn’t have ten times the traffic. To be fair, I don’t use Twitter too actively. I do use it regularly, but nothing about my traffic statistics would have indicated that I had a thousand followers.

The whole process of following people and attempting to attract followers is utterly exhausting, especially when a lot of my traffic doesn’t seem to even come from my followers. It comes from people browsing.

The following/followers system in Medium seems to work similarly. I decided a little while ago that I’d just follow everyone. Medium loads and scrolls so easily that I much prefer having a content-flooded feed to the consternation that I get from pandering into the popularity contest invited by the following/followers system.

If I had my druthers, I’d make a suggestion to everyone in ze Mediumverse: Just follow everyone with utter abandon. While doing that, send frequent suggestions about an alternative system to the Medium grandees.

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