Some days I spend too much time on social media. It’s addictive, I get it. It’s also probably one of the primary causes of depression and anxiety among Millenials.
It is what it is.
But today I don’t want to talk about us comparing our day to day lives with the highlight reel of the rich and famous.
Today I want to talk about those who pretend to be rich and famous for likes and shares and a bit of money.
To become so perfect on social media that you don’t need anything else in life…
Sometimes I wonder if, maybe, just maybe, we’re downplaying the effects and influence that these networks have upon our sense of self-worth.
There are thousands of people trying to be popular on Instagram, spending their money on ads, trying to create content that earns them more likes, more views, and more followers, and seeking as much validation as possible.
Even Dan Bilzerian is now involved in a lawsuit regarding the way he spends the money he uses to fascinate people on social media.
We’re talking about a lot of people trying to become as popular as possible, so they can earn an income by being influencers.
There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you focus on creating content and not pretending you’re someone you’re not.
Regardless, this does not matter. Karma is the price we must pay for who we pretend to be by living a life that does not make us feel truly alive, so there’s no point in complaining about the fake-gurus and the fake-rich and those who pretend to be something they’re not.
But the truth is that it does feel like a pyramid scheme of sorts. A pyramid scheme for attention.
Or a lottery, if you find this analogy is better suited.
We all buy tickets, and we hope we’d win.
But the thing about lottery tickets is that not everyone who buys a ticket can win. For the prize to mean something, there’s got to be a lot of people who lose.
For every success story, there are ten thousand failures.
For every account with a million followers, there are a million accounts that never get past 100 followers.
After all, attention is not an infinite resource.
I’m not trying to argue whether trying to become popular on social media is worth it or not.
It’s worth it if you know why you’re doing it.
This is one of the main reasons I write what I write. I do my best to get people to figure out why they do what they do.
If you do work you’re proud of, if you want an audience because you want a platform that you can influence towards a better future, sure, go ahead, play the game of attention. You might win.
But what if you don’t?
This is not me being pessimistic. It’s a valid question.
What if you don’t?
What if, a couple of years from now, when you figure out that you’re never going to be insta-famous, you are going to regret the time and mental energy you invested in pretending you were someone you’re not, trying to sell an image, or trying to create content that you did not care about?
It’s going to break your heart a bit. Maybe even more.
Everybody wants to rule the world. I get it.
But what if it’s not worth it?
What if you just get to sit on a throne, afraid someone’s going to poison you?
If you do not share the work that matters to you, to the people who need that work more than anyone else, is it even worth striving for more followers?
Maybe the answer is… we should strive to make our platforms better, not bigger.
Maybe we should know why we want an audience on social media. Maybe we should try to express something, not just impress.
Sooner or later, the wannabe-influencer has to ask themselves a simple question:
“Does my work benefit those who follow me?”
Not All Likes Are Worth the Same
One of the things I learned early on in my career as a full-time blogger was that not all likes are worth the same.
That’s why hacks and shortcuts don’t work. Not in the long run.
It all comes down to the experience you provide, to the impact you have on those who follow you.
Being Internet famous because it’s cool won’t make you feel competent, and won’t make you feel confident.
We become confident by doing the right thing for the right reasons.
A game, even the game of attention, is played to be won, indeed, but it’s also important for us to know why we want to win.
Do we want to win because we want to impress others?
Do we want to win because we want to express something of value?
This is a question worth asking because we might find ourselves looking back at our past actions and be ashamed for even winning a game that wasn’t even worth playing.