A lot of my opinions aren’t among the most popular, and that’s okay. I’d rather speak my mind (hopefully it comes across tactfully) than follow the herd and go along with what I consider to be the status quo.

I’ve recently been conducting my own little social media experiment. And while the results aren’t shocking (to me, at least), they are doing wonders for my ego when it comes to proving the point I’m trying to make. I post a lot of comments about how society is being dumbed down on a daily basis. The evidence is all around us. And the biggest culprit of this massive crumbling?…Social Media…

For example…I recently lost a few hundred Twitter followers over the course of one night (482 in just under six hours to be exact). My crime? Unfollowing them. Nothing more.

Now, in all fairness, I sometimes say or post something that doesn’t sit well with someone, and I suppose I can understand someone unfollowing me for those reasons, but my number of Twitter followers hadn’t changed in several weeks. As soon as I unfollowed about 1,600 people, the proverbial claws came out and I suddenly lost a bunch of followers because people can’t handle the social media rejection of not being followed themselves.

We’ve become a society that is so enamored with what other people think of us and how many people want to “follow” us, that our obsession with this desire overtakes any rational thinking. We’re so concerned that thousands of people might actually miss out on every single thing we do in a day, that we post every little thing we do throughout the day, just in the hopes that someone will see and “like” it. I purposely unfollowed those 1,600 people on Twitter for my little experiment. Why? Because I wanted to prove my point. And oh did I…

We’ve become a bunch of butt-hurt crybabies, just like the ones we tell our own kids to steer clear from. When your kid comes home and says, “Mom (or dad), this kid at school always whines about every little thing and all he cares about is being popular.”

What is usually your response to this? Well, I’ll tell you mine… I tell my kids to stop hanging around that kid and find a new friend that doesn’t complain so much and who doesn’t care about racking up a large amount of friends just because he wants to be popular. We tell our kids that there is more to life than being popular. But then we get on social media to see how many “likes” our stupid little memes have gotten in the past ten minutes, or how many friend requests we have from people we don’t even know. We’ve become a society that only cares about being popular – and it sucks.

So, the next time you tell your kid to go find a new friend because of how their current one acts and that there’s much more to life than being popular, take a look in the mirror and swing that judgmental pendulum back around at yourself for a few seconds. If you don’t like what you see, make a change and do something about it. I did.

As an author who is trying to build up my brand and spread the word about my books, of course I need social media. I’m not naive. I know I need a bunch of followers if I’m going to reach the masses eventually, but at what cost does this all come? If I don’t follow you, does it mean my books are lesser in quality? On the flip side, if I do follow you, does that make my books better to you because you feel you have a connection to me because I follow you too? Both questions can be answered with a yes, but only because this is what we’ve become.

Do I want a million followers? Hell yes. I’d be lying if I said anything less, but does that mean I have to follow a million people of my own in order for that to happen? I’m not one to play by society’s rules. There’s a saying – you can’t win the game if you don’t play the game – but I’m not willing to play it like that. Maybe I’m wrong (it’s happened once or twice in my lifetime), but I don’t see the need to get caught up in what I consider to be the downfall of society.

I look at it this way…Would Stephen King, Clive Cussler, or James Patterson be as popular as they are if they had started writing books in the past five years? Absolutely not. Their writing ability and talent would still be there, but I wonder how they would fare with their sales as newly published authors if they chose not to get onto social media and follow a bunch of people simply because it’s what society says you must do in order to reach a certain level of “achievement”.

Social media is a double-edged sword. I hate it, but I need it. Finding the delicate balance between the two is becoming more difficult by the day. I’ll probably go back and re-follow some of those people I unclicked. I didn’t mean to delete everyone necessarily, but I don’t need to see thousands of little cat pictures cluttering up my feed from people I’m not interested in. If I unfollowed anyone here, please let me know and I’ll remedy that. I don’t mind following people I have a genuine interest in. That is what social media was supposed to be about in the first place. We’ve just turned it into what it has become today.

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

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