When I visit Facebook I’m struck by the thousands of people talking about themselves, inviting me to like their page, or attend their event. I’m reminded of the Harry Nilsson song lyrics, “Everybody’s talking at me, I don’t hear a word they’re saying.”
I feel bombarded.
I wonder if I’m the only one. When did we all become so brash as to constantly talk about ourselves and what we’re doing?
Remember Sally Field at the 1985 Academy Awards exclaiming “You Like Me!” after winning the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in the movie, Places in the Heart? Everyone poked fun at her, yet there was a truth and honesty to her comments. People had voted for her, not because she asked them to, but because she did a good job.
Instead of exclaiming “You Like Me!” today many people are simply begging, “Like Me!”
And often, before they’ve done anything to earn it. Instead of taking time to build a solid platform, and do things worthy of following (like great leaders in history have all done) people are begging and bribing people to follow them. For me, this is a great big negative in the wonderful world of web 2.0.
I think we ought to earn our followers.
I love what Seth Godin says in his book Tribes, “Through your actions as a leader, you attract a tribe that wants to follow you.”
That has nothing to do with asking people to like or follow you. It requires doing something worth following so they are inspired to follow. In the book he also talks about what he calls “true fans.” True fans are those people who will go the extra mile to support you. He then points out that too many organizations (and I would add people) care about numbers, not true fans.
I also love this quote from the book/movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, “It’s the quality of one’s convictions that determines success, not the number of followers.”
We are not successful because we are able to get lots of people to follow us. We are successful when people support our views (or our products and services) and therefore want to share them with others. Then we’ve created a movement, something worth following or being a part of. And then, just maybe we’ve done something that will make a difference, and not just a quick buck.
If more people spent their time and energy developing a strong point of view and sharing their convictions, instead of trying to be popular, I for one would be a lot more inspired to follow them. Instead, I ignore most of what I see on social media. On the rare occasion someone says or does something inspiring or worth repeating, I’m the first person to join the party and pass it along. Sadly, that’s a rare occurrence.
Just because you can market for free and ask everyone to like or follow you, doesn’t mean you should.
And, it doesn’t mean it’s an effective way to build a true tribe, following, or business.