Today I want to share a story. This is going to be long and totally honest and probably not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
I really love social media. It has evolved so much since it all began when I was a mere senior in high school. While I think it’s always been a love/hate relationship in some way, I am really loving some things about social media lately and really hating others.
I completely changed the way I used Instagram lately (and if you follow me, I know it’s blatantly obvious). I used to use it for random snaps of any old thing, posting terribly quality pictures with no rhyme or reason. It was fine and I enjoyed it, but since I just launched Bee Sweet, I realized that my social media presence was important, even if my personal account wasn’t directly tied with my business. People can still see it and it could make an impact. “You are your brand,” and all that jazz.
But more importantly, I just love photography. I changed over my account from being random and “real life” if you will to a more curated and admittedly completely edited version of “my life.” But to be honest, I don’t see social media as a really true depiction of life at all anymore anyway. So to say I have “currated” my feed doesn’t actually mean that much to me, since I feel like nothing I see anymore is truly real. I don’t expect that from social media anymore.
Although I haven’t had any negative feedback on these changes and from what I can tell all my original followers have stuck around through the changes, for some reason I feel the need to defend the change. Maybe it’s because in the past I said I would never do this (note to self: never say never about anything). Or maybe it’s because I know people that personally hate curated feeds. Really I don’t think my feed is all that great. I have nice quality pictures for the most part but that’s about it. Curating it is a lot harder than it looks. I also thank Hawaii for the picture perfect backdrop to my life now 😉
I did want to say two reasons about why the changes were made though, in case anyone is curious.
One: I got a new phone with a HORRIBLE quality camera. I guess that’s what you get for the “free” phone these days. I quickly realized I was basically going back in time with posting photos from my phone because they looked soooo bad, which is a HUGE bummer. I feel like I can’t even take normal every day pictures when I’m out and about with my phone now. So I use my DSLR for everything, including Instagram photos.
Two: I wanted to have more fun on Instagram. I love photography (did I say that already?). I don’t think I’m some world-class photographer or anything, but it’s fun to me to see my account as an art form – something to play with and create. I really am enjoying it and although I felt kind of awkward about it at first, as if people were going to look at it and think I’m trying to “make it” or gain tons of followers or something, I’m not and I realized I’m doing this just for me. And like everything else in the social media world – if people don’t like it, they can unfollow it.
So a little story.
A girl who’s blog I had previously read years ago but lost touch with for whatever reason, I found again. She is also a mom, loves fitness, and we just generally clicked. I was enjoying following her and she seemed to “like” me too. Not long after we reconnected, she pitched me to join her multi-level marketing (MLM) business (which I will keep disclosed for privacy). Her pitch was actually amazing. It wasn’t just like “hey I thought you looked cool join my team.” It was like, I really think you’re great at this, I think you’d be good on my team because of this. It was a long email. I really appreciated the effort and was glad it wasn’t like the many other times I’d been asked to join an MLM.
I declined because I have zero interest in working for an MLM company and the particular one just wasn’t my cup of tea anyway. I stayed “friends” with this girl.
Then suddenly, this girl’s social media feed blew up. She took a good thing and set a bomb off. Every single post was talking about either herself in a very conceited not-what-I’d-want-to-see-from-a-mom type of way or was about her business. I unfollowed her account because she was posting way too much about all the same things in an annoying way. We have all been there and seen the disaster that many people with businesses (and not just MLM) are doing these days on social media.
Well, this girl actually messaged me and asked me why I unfollowed her. She has THOUSANDS of followers. And yet she probably sits there all day looking at some unfollow app obsessing over every single follower lost. At the time, I had actually unfollowed her on my personal account but followed her with my business account instead. So I told her that and she was like “okay,” and moved on.
But then even on my business account, I couldn’t take it. I didn’t want to see any more. Her posts were so attention hungry and not promoting her product/business well at all. So I unfollowed her on that account too.
And you know what she did? She unfollowed me ALMOST immediately. Maybe she pays for an app that does that her for, but I kind of doubt it. I thought it was so immature to immediately unfollow me because I unfollowed her. And previously, she was commenting on all my posts, had friended me on Facebook, was liking all my pictures. And then I just get unfollowed, dumped like I meant nothing.
Because I did mean nothing.
Am I really 27 and talking about unfollowing on social media? Yes, yes I am. #LOL #IsThisHighSchool #SeriouslyWhatTheHeck
Anyway – the points I want to make are… I feel like “businesses” or people who have businesses but have no idea how to market them are ruining my social experience. I am constantly being followed by people or companies who have ZERO interest in ME. They just want to pretend to like me and pretend to connect with me in hopes of turning me into another number on their following or a customer. I don’t like to feel this way and I’m sure you don’t either.
Secondly, THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN FOLLOWERS. I get that it’s super awesome glamorous to have 10,000 or 1.2 million followers on Instagram. SUPER AWESOME. You are LIKED. REJOICE. But what does that really do for you? There are certainly some people that have a huge following that are rock stars and do social media right. But the majority of people who are hungry for followers, I can smell from a mile away. And let me tell you, that crap stinks.
I find it so sad that this girl in the story above feels the need to monitor followers that closely and that the follow/unfollow mentality is so strong these days. I find it sad that people are so caught up in who is following them, like it matters in any kind of eternal way.
To me, what matters more is the connection. If businesses and companies are going to do their marketing right, a simple follow of a random user is not a good way to attract business. But actual connection is. And yes – that takes WAY more time. But people can so tell when they are just being treated as a cog in the wheel, another number, or just a customer. People want to be treated like they matter and a lot of what is happening on social media lately is just treating people like garbage.
When I think about followers, I truly know quality matters so much over quantity. One of my favorite sayings is that one the most famous men in the world only had twelve followers (Jesus), and look how that turned out. Followers and popularity are not everything.
Even if you are not using social media for a business, I know we all think or care about followers to some extend. LET IT GO. I am not just saying this either because I don’t have a huge following and I want to make myself feel better. I actually think I would freak out if I had thousands of followers and 100 new notifications every time I logged in. More does not always equal better. More isn’t bad, but it isn’t always the best goal to have.
Questions for You:
- How has your social experience been impacted by business?
- Does number of followers matter to you?