Are you stalking me? Because, that would be kewl!
I’m not much of a Stamp Collector. I did it as a child, still have my collections, some are even valuable. But I don’t practise that childhood pastime as I once did, but recognize, that for many years, it provided entertainment, the social side of trading with friends, established some tenacity skills of sticking with a hobby. And for those who continue to collect stamps (or coins, rocks, shells, whatever), good for you, it just isn’t for me any more.
I put aside stamps for my son, and my grandson, over my many trips to other countries, and with my correspondence world-wide. No one sends letters much anymore; it is harder to find collector stamps in the wild, most have to be purchased at a Post Office as First Day Covers. I think those early hobbies help define character in our children (and some adults) and should be encouraged whenever the interest is shown.
Many people collect items of interest to them. I never understood spoon collectors. During my time in the Navy, the phrase I hated the most before a long deployment was “Could you pick me up a spoon in each country?” Why a spoon? Why not the best selling Music CD release from each country? That would be far more valuable and useful, than a wall full of wooden plaques holding spoons from countries you have never seen, and will never visit.
That’s how I feel about Social Media. Some are still collecting, this time followers, which is fine, except they have never talked to those people, never read their tweets, never interested in the content, just the numbers. Is this about the Badge, or accomplishment to brag your status, or is there a reason you don’t block every person that tweets “GET MORE FOLLOWERS!” I do, I block them, and everyone that follows them. If someone blindly follows every person that follows them, they are just being silly. You have no idea what that new follower is about.
How many people can you follow? I suppose some people can skim and pick and choose, but how many are you ‘really following’? If we all went on a Volksmarch, each walking in a different direction, would you still be following? No. It would be impractical, and impossible to follow two different directions at the same time. I don’t read a lot of books anymore; I do most of my reading online, or in digital form. I have a lot of interests, some stronger than others, but a wide range of topics amuse me, and I suspect some of the shared content is appealing to others. I’m assuming that is why they follow me.
In my normal login morning, I see overnight followers from other time zones, languages and all walks of life. If I am engaging people, the conversation keeps me from doing other things, reading the news, and curating my shares. Eventually, those chatting morning people will go to bed, others are at work, and I will peek in on the content of the overnight followers. How can you tell if they are worthy to follow? Not simply because they followed me? I have no idea who they are, or what they are going to share next.
I have an online newspaper that gathers content from the people I follow, and their shares. A friend of mine is rather big into the business of Social Media and was shocked when I informed her that her online newspaper was full of sex adverts and soft porn. How does that happen? Well, it happens, when you blindly accept a follower, who happens to run an escort service, porn industry worker, or just a jerk. You don’t have to follow everyone. This isn’t discourteous; someone might follow me for my strong interest in News stories or Music interests. Why would I be interested in someone that shares only dog pictures, I am a cat owner! (I love dogs though, so that was a bad example)
I don’t like Anime, Sports, or Trolls, and if you have no idea what a BOT is, check your followers. Automatic ‘Robots’ follow people with higher presence, just to draw from their credibility and appear to be quantified by that influencer if they follow back. Don’t give them that chance. If you know, and are certain, that any BOT is following you, block them, report them (chances are your social media platform has Terms Of Service stating automation is not allowed) and do not follow anyone that is playing Stamp Collector and looking for more #TeamFollow idiots in the game.
I think the only time you should care about followers, is when you are analysing your own accounts. Are your tweets or posts effective and are they reaching like-minded people in places you intended? So, it might be a show of your hard work, being consistent every day, that you attracted a large following. If you are in business, it provides the objective evidence of the usefulness of Social Media. Not everyone thinks it has any merit, you know, old skool TV advertisers who don’t believe online is the way to advertise.
I see this with musicians frequently. They want their music to reach the multitudes, so they focus on the music (good idea) but not the online presence. So, let’s pretend you are a singer from Hamilton Bermuda trying to make a living, writing a few songs, selling some locally, or trying to get them to the mainland. How do you invade the Miami Charts from a 21 mile piece of coral in the ocean? You better have a great manager, because someone has to get you out there. This is the new era, no longer do people listen to main-steam radio choices, and they pick interesting songs from around the world. I listen to only one local radio station, but hundreds of Internet Radio streaming. I look for artists, wherever possible, I try to find their online presence and mention them in my tweet. I am disappointed if I don’t find them, or shocked to find someone with that skill-set I like, only has a few hundred followers. I have advised and tutored some bands to get started online. You don’t have to tweet often, but you have to be there, that’s the rule now: Thousands of musicians on Twitter, Goggle Plus, even Crackbook, but no idea what they are doing online, and don’t get the results they want.
I simply can’t follow any more people. Above 500, I start losing track of ‘who is who’, or missing their tweets anyway, and various news articles I want to read. Sometimes you have to mention someone, to be seen in the stream; otherwise they only see random tweets. I often have all day to do this, not branding myself, so no need to tweet, but I know how it is done. I measure my effectiveness, and I see the results. I am disappointed when I return from two days offline, to discover Klout score and followers dropped off the same amount as a month of building produced. People are fickle. I have found that if I tell them I am offline, please wait until I get back, they seem to do that! That’s just an observation. But I have time to notice what works, what doesn’t, and I don’t do mobile, Smartphones or Tablets. I don’t do Social Media in bed, I am fully awake and sitting at my home office desk gathering content and reading. If I have to go to the store, I am offline. If I am driving between homes, there is no internet connection available; I can sometimes get a tweet in, but no time to download my replies or updates.
So, here I am today, asking the question, “Is your follower count important to you and If so, why?” Getting to 25,000 followers on Goggle Plus took forever. Then they seem to increase a thousand a week after that! I’m not updating every 1000, but sometimes I remind people I have a Goggle Plus account that contains a different audience than my Twitter followers: I might prefer to follow on G+ over Twitter, where there isn’t the volume of single tweets rolling by like a steam roller. I can pick people easier, look in on groups of people in different interests, and still use hashtags.
Plus, my online Newspaper, The Rasta Rag, does not pick from Goggle Plus without manual submission. So, as the weather gets nicer, chores between two homes must be done, but only one area has internet access, people will wonder why my habits change, where I went, and the fickle ones will drop off. Those with a real reason to follow will probably wait me out, and when I discover them, I may follow back; I really prefer never to unfollow people if I can.
I tend to use the platforms that receive the most interaction, Twitter first, Google Plus second, and sometimes I never use Tumblr for a month! No one seems to be reading, no replies, no need. Instagram is making it big, but yet only available with a mobile device. Sometimes I don’t use my Smartphone for a month, except to answer a call. The real trick to followers is the engagement. My friend joined Twitter, followed Gaga, said ‘Hello’ and was disappointed she did not get a reply and left Twitter! People follow Lady Gaga for her music, in the millions, and I am a DJ and I don’t follower her. But, I bet if she said ‘Hello’ to me once, I would. Think about your reasons to be here, and how you can make your experience better, even if you have no brand to promote, curate and RT really good content, but don’t get the following, remember the engagement rule. Let people know you are here, a real person, with the ability to speak. People love that, and follow in droves!
In case you would like to look in on my activities, here’s a partial list:
Twitter, I do my best work there, I follow all I can handle now;
Google Plus, It replaced Facebook in my former life, more space to type, the platform that follows the most people, and has my largest following;
YouTube, (Remember, I am not a musician, or promoting a brand) where I make playlists of the categories of music I have listened to. But I tend to save any video listing of interest to view later, if just for my later use, they are not publically shared;
Tumblr, You’re looking at it: Originally used (incorrectly) as a Blog Space, it became a drop zone for longer content, but without engagement to prompt me to do more, it sometimes gets ignored;
WordPress, If you can find a way to annoy me, hit my hot button with some social or personal injustice, this is where the longer blogs take place. A company is behaving in some way that I feel would be important to let the public know about, and personal fights against the corporate bullies, would be found here. Get me on a tangent and watch me write;
Instagram, I never had a Smartphone until recently. I could view pictures, but not have an account. I live online, but can’t use this platform without a mobile device. Rarely used, unless I get a picture with my phone for some reason. Probably mostly my cats;
Pinterest, I think I was attacted to that 99 percentage of users being women, and I wanted to get in there like a dirty shirt before any other male discovered where the girls were hanging out. I could share my pictures and funnies and ideas anywhere, but decided to join this when it started, now it’s just the girls and I sharing fuzzy-warm pictures;
Klout, This is supposed to be a measure of online influence. So much so, that companies give PERKS, or gifts of their products to top influencers. I have received many boxes in the mail when my Klout score was high. However, it does’t measure most of the platforms I use. It measures Twitter great, Google Plus it seems to ignore, and it leans heavy to Facebook, a platform I do not wish to use again. Miss a day on Twitter (or Facebook), and your Klout score drops. It doesn’t matter if you engaged a thousand people on Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram or Tumblr. I place less value on Klout these days, but check it from time to time, but if you use it, I always appreciate your K+
Rasta ™ – Retired Navy, activist, past DJ/Performer, big on Music, very Social, seldom serious, a news-fiend, relentless when scorned and Screwed by Bell Mobility, Canada’s largest Telecommunication company with the worst Customer Service in the industry.