When I first started using Twitter, which wasn’t too long ago, I started following various people I thought I’d be interested in hearing from. One of those people was John C. Maxwell. The day after I started following John C. Maxwell I received an email saying: John C. Maxwell is following you on Twitter! “Wow!”, I thought, the John C Maxwell wants to read my Twitter posts–until I looked at his home page and saw that he is followed by over 300 000 people, and he is following over 300 000 people. So any idiot who follows the John C Maxwell on Twitter will be followed by the John C Maxwell on Twitter–big deal. And is Maxwell actually sitting at his computer each day reading the Tweets of over 300 000 idiots? Ahh…no.
And that’s the sort of the thing that goes on on Twitter: “If you follow me, I’ll follow you”–I won’t actually read anything you post, but if you help to make it look as though a lot of people care what I have to say, then I’ll do the same for you. I got caught up in that stupidity a little myself when I felt obligated to follow someone I’ve never heard of just because they started following me. I had one guy follow me, so then I followed him, and then a day or two later he stopped following me–he was just using the whole “If you follow me, I’ll follow you” thing to gain more followers, and then after he built up his numbers he stopped following all the people he was following. Then I thought, “This is stupid”. I cleared my out my lists, and just started following people that I find to post interesting things–mostly reformed Christian bloggers and freelance photographers living in SE Asia.
That’s how it often works with social media I think–everyone one is posting, but no one is reading. It’s like standing in a room full of people where everyone is talking, but no one is listening. The person who most loves to see your latest tweet, facebook update, blog post, or video is you.
I like to post articles that I read onto facebook–I figure if I post something it might as well be educational. And I post pictures of my son too, but those are mostly for my family to see–I don’t care if anyone else sees those pictures. I’ll still continue to post these kinds of things on facebook. I’ll also continue to write blog articles–just because I enjoy doing it. And I’ll still follow the Christian bloggers and freelance photographers on Twitter. But, I think if you really want people to listen to you it has to be the people close at hand, the people you can meet face to face. These are the people who deserve your time–not the faceless people on the internet. Social Media is a great tool, but, for most of us, I’d say it’s nothing to base your work and life on. The real world beckons!