Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Following

By April Moore
When did being followed become a good thing? Sometimes I feel like a cult leader when I'm asked about how many followers I have. There is a great deal of emphasis put on how many Twitter followers one should have, that it has almost become a source of shame, as if you've been asked what number pops up on your bathroom scale each morning. At least I don't have to reveal that number, but my Twitter number can be seen from around the world. (It's as if forgetting to remove the size sticker on the back leg of your new jeans before wearing them.)

Well, I'm not ashamed of my modest 1450 followers. There you have it. But I get it. When you have something to sell, whether it be a book or face cream, how wide you cast your net is important. Going door-to-door won't cut it anymore. But does social media really work? Most of my followers and those I follow, are fellow writers who are doing the same thing: hoping to cast their line out and snag a reader. However, are they really my audience? I'm not so sure. Anyway, I'm still hung up on this follower business. Our self-worth seems to be getting wrapped up in how many followers we have on Twitter and Facebook, as if we're not any good as writers if our followers don't rival that of a Taylor Swift concert.

It's a number; don't let it define you.

With that said, I'm not anti-Twitter and here's why:

I find fascinating articles about all kinds of things (that I may subsequently tweet, retweet, and tag as a "favorite.")

I can trash talk during the NHL playoff using #NHLPlayoffs and #StanleyCup (talking about hockey is optional).

I can create lists of Tweeps based on my interests, such as, music, art, criminology, science and celebrities (no, I'm not a Belieber). I'm talking about celebs who have interesting things to say (Russell Brand, Nathan Fillion, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and yes, Monica Lewinski).

And where else can you read what the Dalai Lama is up to---in 140 characters or less?

Otherwise, to me, Twitter is one big popularity contest, and sure, the popular kids get all the glory, but I'm content hanging back and doing my thing. Isn't that what everyone's all tweeting about anyway---what they're working on? I'll gladly focus on what I love to do, rather than what number is on the scale Twitter home screen.

How do you feel about the emphasis placed on the number of social media followers? (Yes, I know most agents/editors insist upon a large social media following, but what do YOU think?)


Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm pretty selective about the people I follow but I know I'm followed (and then often unfollowed) by a boatload of people I don't care about. I think quality is more important than quantity....and I firmly believe writers are readers (and they also buy books as gifts) so they make good contacts.

The one place I need to work harder to develop a larger network is on Goodreads. That's where the rest of the happy readers hang out....

JC Lynne said...

The picture is HILARIOUS! And I have a love hate relationship with twitter. One thing it does do? Forces me to concisely verbalize my ideas....that's so hard!

April Moore said...

So true, Pat. And I agree, Goodreads is the way to go. I need to start utilizing it better, too.

JC: I love that picture, too. I have fellow Writing Bug contributor, Kelly Baugh, to thank for it--she found it for me.

Kelly Baugh said...

Spending hours trawling the internet for funny pictures is part of a service I provide. Anyone one can contact me for details ;-)

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