I remember some years of high school as being better than others. A lot of it had to do with the people I was hanging out with. I always judged people by the way they treated me and other people and not by how much money or power they had, or by how many friends they had. Sometimes I hung out with the most popular kids in high school and sometimes I didn’t. I’m still like that today.
Social media reminds me a lot of high school, with the “likes” of Facebook, and terms like “followers” on social media. Like in high school, people are judged by how popular they are and how many “friends” they have. But as someone who has spent most of my life in the entertainment industry, the word “friend” is bantered about loosely, and your real friends can be counted on one hand. Your real friends are the ones who are still there when the chips are down and you’re at your lowest point.
Social media reminds me of the same cliquish hierarchy as high school, and why I would hang out with certain people and not others. Here are some of the reasons I will or won’t follow someone on social media:
- Information isn’t useful to me or my own followers – The first thing I do is look through someone’s thread to see what kind of things they post. If there are endless posts about what someone had for lunch or things that wouldn’t be of interest to the other people on my list, I don’t follow them. Nothing personal, it’s just not my cup of tea.
- Quotes – I’ve seen Twitter accounts that are nothing but quotes. It seems to work for some people, but when I see an account that has nothing else to offer I won’t follow them. I put a few in myself and will occasionally retweet them, but not accounts that have no other valuable information. This seems like a lazy way to get followers, but how involved are those followers? My guess is, not very.
- Too negative – Life is negative enough without seeing it on a social media feed on a consistent basis. I’m not talking about the occasional rant, but an entire account that is totally negative without any ray of hope. This also includes anything racist or sexist.
- Too political – When posts become too political for too long I will tend to delete them. There are people who make their living off of politics and that’s great. One or two posts isn’t going to bother me, but if it’s too much I know my own followers aren’t going to appreciate it and neither will I.
- Too promotional – The 80/20 rules should be 80% valuable content and 20% promotional. I believe you should use that 20% to let people know what you have to sell. If I’m following someone, I’m obviously interested in what they have to say, so I just may need what they’re selling. But when it becomes 80% selling and only 20% good content I’ll probably delete it.
- Too lopsided – If the number of followers someone has on Twitter is disproportionate to the number of people they follow, I will usually not follow them. This reminds me of the stuck up person in high school who thought too much of themselves. It doesn’t impress me. I’ve worked alongside some of the biggest celebrities in the business, so I’m not going to be star-struck. The only exception to this is people who constantly crank out amazing, unique content. But the bar on that is pretty high.
- Slips through the cracks – Sometimes I don’t follow someone back simply because it slips through my email and I don’t see it. This often happens when my email piles up and I’m frantically trying to catch up. If you’re someone with good content and I don’t follow you back, this is probably what happened.
There may be some exceptions to these, but basically if you follow simple common sense, you’ll be okay. Just like in high school, even the quirkiest outsider could become popular by having a great sense of humor and being kind and generous to others.
How do you decide who to follow on social media?