Growing up, I never had any social media. The only social media I had was Facebook, made when I was eight, and a Snapchat. Personally, I do not count Snapchat. I used it more for texting than anything else. It was not until recently that I began posting on my story. It was not until even more recently that I created a private story. The only reason I did this was so my parents would not see. To me, the allure of social media never kicked in. A few weeks into creating this blog, I decided to join Twitter and Instagram. I only use these two things to promote and connect with other writers. However, I have noticed just how life-sucking and consuming these platforms can be. I wake up and check. I check the numbers. I look for replies. I look for messages. I look for likes. I look at my followers. God, the followers. If the number feels like it has dropped, panic enters my mind. If the figure rose, joy invades my heart. I now have apps on my phone telling me when people unfollow. When twitter puts me in its jail, my heart sinks. This is not healthy. This addiction to validation from complete strangers, which we will most likely never meet, is toxic. If I am happy with the content I am putting out, why does it matter if my Insta pic only received 35 likes instead of 70. I like it, this should be enough. Yet, it’s not. Discouragement, pain, jealously fill every thought I have.
One thing that I had no idea was a thing until I joined these apps were following trains. See, I do them. I can’t sit here and say that I don’t. I take part in follow trains, writerslift, and more. I have automated messages that go out to my new followers every day. I can say with 100% certainty that tomorrow, I will be posting this on multiple writerslift when this goes live. I will be promoting this post. I realize this may sound hypocritical, and I agree. Yet, its an addiction. Whenever I have free time, I need to or else everyone forget about me. I will join follow trains and will message the current list and groups I am in. They make no sense to me, yet I will continue to do them.
See, I can sit down one day and follow 100 people. These 100 people, in turn, follow me back. That’s great. I gained 100 followers. But of these 100, only 1 interacts with me and the blog I am trying to create. Give it a week, and this one person leaves the blog. While I may have these followers on paper, my blog, my baby, I am not growing. There is no genuine interaction occurring. To me, I find this pointless. Yet, I do them. I do them because it lets my brain see growth. It allows me to look at the numbers and see a positive change. Currently, I think our Instagram has around 1,300 followers, our twitter has about 750. My blog averages 20-50 views a day. That should not be the case. I want the blog to get to the point where I do not have to spend hours promoting and blowing up twitter, hoping people will take a look. However, I know that I am the one who put myself in this position. My need for instant validation on my work lead to me to the point where my followers are not genuine followers of my blog.
Now don’t get my wrong, I do have some consistent people who tune into the blog every day. I have their profile picture and names memorized. But the majority of my “followers” on my social media never tune into the blog. I never see their names pop up. I never see them interacting with the blog. Instant validation may produce momentary bubbles of joy but will never get me to my end goal. Yet, I wonder if there is any other way or if social media allows no other way to grow.