Why I Prefer the word connections to followers

pablo (20)

Followers:

Definition: a person who moves or travels behind someone or something

I’m starting to have a problem with this word.

As social media begins to develop and become a greater part of our everyday life, we have become more and more obsessed with the number of people that ‘follow’ us. There are more blog posts about growing your audinece than even Google can count and somehow, I think that this focus has actually detracted from one of the most significant purposes of social media.

The reason that I dislike the word ‘followers’ is because it focuses on how much you gain… instead of how much you should be giving. Building an audience requires more than a few automated tweets and a nice biography. In order for people to be ‘behind you’, you have to provide them with something that they can’t get anywhere else. Whether you’re posting engegaing content or though provoking industry insights; if you want ‘followers’ you need to be able to provide people with genuine value. 

This aside, using the word ‘followers’ also reduces people to numbers. Instead of considering every interaction as your chance to connect with an individual, they’re just another opportunity to get a ‘follower’.

The focus has become pretty distorted. Somewhere along the line, we have forgotten that social media is social. It is not a megaphone. It’s a phone call.

And this is where the word ‘connections’ comes in…

Definition: a circle of friends or associates or a member of such a circle.

Social media is relationship building. And the word ‘followers’ fails to capture the foundation of social networks everywhere. Having 10K worth of followers on Twitter doesn’t  guarantee any kind of success. You may have hit an objective, but what has this increase in numbers really achieved? Yes, you have more people ‘behind’ you, but do they actually support you. Connections are the people who actually remember you and then reach out to collaborate.

When we connect with others, we spend time becoming familiar with their character. We appreciate that they bring something to our online communities that very few people can.

Followers are generic and passive. Connections are personal, active and built to last. Instead of learning how to simply grow an audience, make sure that you take the time to nurture the relationships that are most important to you.

Want to make the most of social media? Don’t aim to have followers.

Just start connecting with people.

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