Updated: Jan 10, 2019
"I need more followers"
"I need more engagement"
"If I get more followers people will like me more"
"My followers aren't fake! Sometimes they just don't want to engage!"
It's a beautiful Sunday morning in my small studio apt. I'm rubbing my cats belly while eating some toast and eggs. I posted a video yesterday that got about 600 views but only a few comments. It is what it is. I think it's a dope video which I'll link below so you can check it out (SHAMELESS PLUG) but it didn't really cross my mind to take it down due to lack of engagement. But as I've recently learned, some people actually do this and act like their follower count and engagement is the end of the world. It honestly affects their mood throughout the day if they didn't gain such and such amount of followers or likes on their recent post. Apparently we've sunk so low as a society that if someone taps a heart on their phone to like a photo we've posted, it boosts our self-esteem.
Now I'm not trying to say I'm some high and mighty god here who doesn't worry about this stuff. I do and I pay attention to all of it. I pay attention to how my videos do and how my photos do on Instagram and I try to make sure I'm posting the highest quality content possible. But this has never attributed to my self esteem and I've never actually had my mood change because one of my posts didn't get the engagement I was expecting.
I worked on a video for 4 months that I thought was a masterpiece. I posted it and at the time only got around 90 views with little to no engagement. That video is still up but I'm more concerned about my stock investments going up or down or my bank account compared to some Instagram post not doing as well as I'd hoped.
So now this brings me to the topic of fake followers. Yes, people actually paying for their follower count on Instagram to go up. There can be a multitude of reasons for this, but I attribute this to a core reason which is low self-esteem.
I've heard people say things like "Well I need more engagement" and my response is, but the engagement you're paying for isn't real. So basically you're filling an empty void with fake engagement to be something you're not. It's like stuffing a turkey with chocolate. You think you're eating and getting some good protein but you're actually eating terribly thanks to filling the void with chocolate. Okay, I get it...bad example. But you get the point. I eat chocolate on my biscuits like my grandfather. I come from a strange family.
Another reason I've heard for people buying followers is so that others will like them more. Newsflash buddy, if someone only likes you for your follower count, THAT IS FAKE TOO! Pull your head out of your ass and get it together. This is another example of low self-esteem and feeling like nobody will like you unless your follower count is at a certain number. This whole situation reminds me of women who don't like to be seen without makeup because they think they look hideous without it. I've literally had women refuse to hang out or even Snapchat me because they aren't wearing makeup. It all seems like low self-esteem to me.
I'm on Instagram for about four hours day. I run a business on there so I have to be on there all the time. Just last night I made contact with an Orlando based rapper (who is incredible btw) and next time I'm out that way he'd love to do some work. I may not have a huge following but the majority of my income is based off people reaching out to me or me reaching out to them on Instagram for video production or photos.
Sometimes I feel like I'm living proof that you don't need some gigantic fake following number to make stuff happen on Insta. I'm a firm believer in posting quality content and reaching out to others to see if they want to work with you. But according to this Time article I read “Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough as people add filters and edit their pictures in order for them to look ‘perfect’.”
People are trying to portray a "perfect" fake Instagram life. People will claim they're this and that and then report to their Subway job and cry themselves to sleep. I think this is why I have a lot of respect for a guy I know named James. James can sign his heart out but he never claimed to be anything he wasn't. James worked dairy at the Walmart I used to go to and on his Instagram he would frequently post videos of him singing while putting up milk with his Walmart name tag clearly visible.
He never hid who he was even though he so easily could have. James could have bought 50,000 fake followers, bought all his comments and likes and never posted himself singing at Walmart. But he was authentic and true to himself and I think we should be more like James...minus the singing cause a lot of us can't sing this good.
From fake followers and comments to all of this translating to jealously and envy. If someone unfollows you it's the end of the world and you have to unfollow them just to show them who the boss really is. Or if you didn't participate in the ice bucket challenge (Yeah I'm going way back) you feel lonely or left out. I think this whole fake follower thing is destroying people's upside. I think it's limiting greatness to come out from people because they don't think they can post a piece of content because they don't have a good following or they do post the content and then take it down because it didn't get enough likes.
It's about posting quality content that you like and that you think is amazing rather than being afraid to post it because of your following. Last year I had around 900 followers at this time. Today I have about 1500. Does that mean I did better or worse with my work? Well to me, the number doesn't mean anything. To me the quality of my work improved tremendously, the amount of projects I did for clients skyrocketed (I did over 75), and I met some amazing people. So what I didn't hit 5k or anything like that? That's okay, because I know I had an amazing year and I put out quality content that made me happy.
You're limiting your own greatness by worrying about bullshit. Be authentic and don't live some fake Instagram life. Live a life you're actually proud of.