The More Followers I Get, The Less People I Follow

This is Why

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Followers are great. I really appreciate it when someone follows me on a social network. Actually, that’s bullsh*t.

I appreciate it on Medium. Or on Twitter, from Medium. But I don’t care when Shipping Container Homes starts following me on Instagram (literally just happened while I was typing this).

So to get more out of social in general, I might unfollow you. It’s not because I don’t like you. I’ve just gotten tired of following people for the wrong reasons. On all social platforms.

What Are The Wrong Reasons To Follow Someone?

“There’s no map for you to follow and take your journey. You are Lewis and Clark. You are the mapmaker.”
— Phillipa Soo
  1. So that they will follow you.
  2. Because the bot farm you hired decided to.
  3. Every reason in the f*cking world besides you want to see what they post or connect with them.

I still don’t understand the point of mass following people. Or the follow for follow culture. All it does it clog up your feed. And fill your followers with people who don’t give a sh*t about you.

But I think that is social media today. It’s fake. It’s an entire stratosphere built on ego and the need for attention.

Look at me. Follow me. Be my friend. I like you.

Until you do. Then I don’t know you. Because I just wanted to add you to my numbers. That mean absolutely nothing. Unless I am doing influencer marketing.

I was just on The Bachelor. And now I’m at this hip restaurant. Which is really good. #ad Photo by Josh Rose on Unsplash

Why I Am Unfollowing So Much

It’s a lot of white noise. That I created. Because I follow out of habit a lot of the time. Or obligation.

If someone followed me in the past, I felt obligated to follow them back. What the actual f*ck? This is crazy. It’s like going to a Yankees game and having Aaron Judge feel like he needs to show up at your work next week to say thanks.

People follow of their own free will. You don’t owe them anything. If they are a bot (see Twitter every day, all day), they will unfollow you in a day anyway. That’s their entire plan. Inside the dirty mind of a bot farm.

So I am on a mission to unfollow. I’ve been doing it on Medium for a month. At one point I was following more people than were following me. That didn’t sit right with me. Because I am not reading that many people’s stories.

And if I am not reading your stories, why am I following you? I don’t know either.

But if I don’t read your stories (or pretend to, by following you) does that mean you won’t read my stories (or pretend not to, by unfollowing me)? This is our modern culture of social media anxiety and delusion.

Photo by María Victoria Heredia Reyes on Unsplash

But What Does That Have To Do With People Following Me?

Look, I am no one. I’m just some 47-year-old single father who loves to write. I don’t even have 1,000 followers anywhere.

Partially because I never did the tricks. Because I think they are bullsh*t. And I want people to follow me for the right reasons. Whatever those are in our culture today.

But what about in six months? Maybe I will have a lot more followers. Maybe not. But the more followers I get on Medium, the more I want to pay attention to them. The more I want to write better stories.

I want to be able to respond to the comments. I want to be able to churn out continuous good material instead of getting to a point where I am phoning it in.

To do this, I have to reduce the white noise. And that’s you. Not you, but the greater you.

If I have 12,000 followers, but I follow 15,000 people that’s not a good ratio for me — on either side.

Side note: If you are a business or building a brand and that’s your goal, that’s great. That’s proper marketing. For mass consumption. I appreciate that. But this story is focused on individuals.

And that’s not what I am after.

I look at people with 15,000 followers and when I see that they are following like 322 people I am even more intrigued. Because they don’t kowtow for audience numbers. Again, there is nothing wrong with that. But what I am personally looking for is writers that aren’t. Accounts that aren’t.

When I see someone who has a lot of followers and follows no one, I get a little fanboy envy.

“I have to say goodbye to things in order to take on bigger things that I’ve always wanted to do.”
— Mahershala Ali

To continue to create good content and to write a novel like I want to, I need to cut the sh*t. When I say sh*t I don’t mean you. I mean the game we play with following. The game I have played in the past. For no good reason.

I just want to follow who I want to read. On here. On Twitter. And who I want to see. On Instagram. If that means I lose followers, I am ok with that. Because then they weren’t following me for the right reasons.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

What’s The Goal?

Honestly, the goal is sanity. If you’ve read my other social media posts over the past couple of months you have been a part of the journey. A journey of deletion and reduction.

To make my life better.

And making my life better also includes following people I really want to connect with. And making my social media, what’s left of it, social again.

The goal is to follow only 100 accounts on every network that remains in my stable of procrastination. Do you want to do it with me? Want to add one? Then delete one. #followonly100

Seriously, do you really get value out of following more than 100 people anywhere? Do you really and truly like more than 100 things or people on the planet? Or do you want them to notice you? Maybe they will anyway.

Our feeds will be better because they will be full of our top people. The people who follow us will be raving fans if we are 1 of their 100. Could it be a better way? Would that be a more connected community feel to social media?

“The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.”
— Dean Ornish

The Hardest Part

Every f*cking site makes it so painstaking if you’ve gone overboard following in the past. Do you really want the spend the time to go one by one and delete 13,000 accounts. I know you don’t. Maybe there’s an app for that.

I’m lucky. I never let it get out of control. So over the past couple months I have been whittling away. And it’s manageable. But I’m not there yet. I want to #followonly100.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I love a good discussion in the comments.