A love note to the people who follow and respond to others’ work

Thank you for the likes, the follows, the retweets, the comments and, most of all, the time.

(Source)

There is all kinds of advice out there about how to get more people to follow you on social media. There’s one rule— and only one — that I have found actually works:

Follow other people and appreciate their work, and, when they follow you, thank them for the time they spend with you.

That’s it.

Yes, you can purchase followers. But why lie to yourself and the world about the extent to which people appreciate your work? You can become world famous. That’s definitely taking the steeper hill, but it has been known to happen to people now and again. You can also try tweeting a lot of really great links in the hopes others will discover your account and make you internet famous.

Now, I’ve noticed a new trend in the auto-reply ‘thank you for following me’-note on Twitter. It’s nice, but I find it more annoyingly impersonal than anything else. This doesn’t qualify as following the one rule.

I have been the beneficiary time and again of people’s hearts, stars and digitally raised thumbs. It’s high time I said ‘thank you’.

So, ‘thank you’ to everyone who has ever liked, retweeted, reposted, commented on, shared or otherwise encouraged me and my work to move forward in the world — both on social media and beyond. I even extend that to those who have gone to the trouble of picking it apart and taking the time to criticize my work or even me. Thanks for taking the time. Really. I would be naïve to put my work out in the world expecting only positive results and feedback.

No one can improve without critique.

It can be difficult, in an age of toxic commentary and vitriol in comments sections across the internet, to find anything approaching a positive spark in your heart. But appreciating the people who take the time to respond to your work, and appreciating others’ work with thoughtful replies and without expecting anything in return is really the only course of action I have found to help me grow. There is, of course, network effect at play. That aside, it feels good to appreciate others’ work — to say ‘thank you for that slice of awesome you just brought into my life.’

So, thank you.

‘E’ is for ‘Everything’ also has a newsletter, featuring these and other fun reads on productivity, business, design and more. It goes out every week…ish. I’m still working on that habit.