Followers likes and fans

Recently on Twitter, I have found more people who follow you, wait until you follow back and then quietly unfollow.  They usually do this in the first week, so clearly this is a policy they have adopted to grow their following.  Given that the vast majority are muted, since they are not interested in my product, and I am not particularly interested in theirs, you would think they would content themselves with sitting quietly on the list, but no, apparently this is not enough and they require a list of mute followers who they do not themselves follow.

When first on twitter, this was mainly 17 year olds, with a list of four word sentences about nothing in particular, who seemed to require validation in the form of 20,000 or so followers not listening to anything they say.  Recently I have noticed, however that more and more middle aged people are doing the same thing. When did we all become so vain and facile that we relied on fake followers and likes for an ego salve every day, whether interested or not?

Now in the case of someone trying to build a following or business empire such as that of David Wolfe, I can see why it would be beneficial to have a massive following of superficially disinterested people.  The more followers or likers of his page, the more important he appears to be, and the more feedback he gets from his many posts.  Whether this feedback actually does him any good long term is really up to him. I am sure that the numbers are considered to be useful indicators of popularity with the same types of interest groups as lost their money in the dot com boom of the late 90s – people who do not really understand how the internet functions.

My guess is that they are mostly floating fans of the pithy memes and few of them will actually turn out to be customers.  Experience so far tells me that engagement has no relationship at all with followers or likes.  I have around fifteen thousand readers, and a few thousand people who want to see artwork,  and you would never guess from my figures on social media or individual sites.  I am considered to be providing good blog posts, although people rarely comment.

When I examine my own behaviour, I can see why this would be the case.  If I am interested in something, I do not need to click like to be reminded that I am interested.  The only things I click like on are either things I wish to be seen to be interested in, or reciprocal likes with someone who has requested that I like their page. I would not dream of clicking like on ebay, for example, although I spend a great deal of time and money with ebay.  It is a kind of extension of tattoos or branded tee shirts as far as I am concerned, and not something I feel the need to identify with.

The internet generally was a lot more interesting and personal when we were still without the social media giants of facebook and twitter.  Social media has made it far easier to spread the word about things that are important to us, on one hand, and far easier to sink into a daily social whirl without actually finding any new and important interest streams, on the other.  Take the number of daily meat eaters who now spend their time ranting about animal cruelty when they see a picture of a dead giraffe or lion, for example.  Are they actually joining the dots in terms of the tasty steaks and cheese on the supermarket shelf?  I think not.  It is nice that people are less anthrocentric than they once were, but not so nice that they seem to be encouraged not to actually think for themselves.

Our reliance on celebrity culture for stimulus is also causing a kind of brain death which horrifies those of a generation who remember life before continuous light entertainment on demand.  More and more news items refer to products, and more recommendations from celebrities have replaced actual media content, examples beyond clothing and makeup including politics, social values, moral judgements and campaigns. Even the spellcheck on my own blog attempts to make me spell like a Yank, in a futile attempt to make us all adhere to Webster’s simplified English.  It will be a sad day indeed when everyone forgets how to spell programme properly. The road to idiocracy is paved with apathy and laziness.

Rather than rely on the number of likes, retweets and followers we get, perhaps we should worry more about the input, in order to improve the quality of our general output, at work, with friends, and in our daily lives.  Does it really matter if Brad went out without Angelina?  Does it matter at all if Miley takes her clothes off again?  No, of course not, but as long as you waste your time on that, you take your eye off the ball in terms of being aware of your own power and ability to shape your own futures.  This suits your political situation, whatever country you are in, perfectly.  The less time you spend actually thinking for yourself the better.

Stay unhappy, and you keep shopping.  Stay entertained, and you stop thinking.  Carry on relying on others to provide you with a minute to minute mood changer from your gadget or phone, and you forgo your own development.  All of those things are desperately important if you happen to want to steal the future from the masses.  Sleep on, and you win the destiny of losing everything to the very companies you continue to feed with the holy money.

As long as you are worrying about how many fake followers, likes you have, you are not doing anything about the things that really matter in your life.  It is too easy to pick the soft option.

The post Followers, likes, and fans appeared first on Ina Disguise – Author.

Continue Reading

You will spend your money on….

This is the time of year when you have just slightly overspent on your family and friends, and socialising in the event that you have employment and suitable friends/colleagues.  You will now be considering diet products, as you will seek to lose weight for your forthcoming holidays, which are traditionally planned at this time of year.  In the event that you have the time and inclination, you will also be considering a New Year’s resolution, which may also cost you money.  After the debauchery season, comes the austerity season.

Your spending is highly regulated by media influence throughout the year.  This is much the same whatever your income bracket.  It is a skillfully managed machine that has become finely tuned over the last three centuries or so, since the rise of the department store and initial increase in marketing budgets that led us to where we are today.

It is alarming, when you are unused to it or know how the system of manipulation works, how smoothly you are induced to slip into a state where you are easily induced to spend with the herd.  Your diet is as relevant to this as any other part of it.  Take out the traditional food, socialising, willingness to conform and you quickly realise how often, and how fully you are lied to in the course of the year.

I used to wonder why people would want a holiday every year, because I loved work so much.  Now that I am ‘on duty’ 24 hours a day, 7 days a week I actually need a holiday once or twice a year, in line with those who chose to have children or who have been trapped in a particularly tedious job and lifestyle by circumstance.  Most things that people in the west want are actually social constructs to make someone else a living.

Once you accept this, and try swimming against the tide somewhat, you will discover just how fast the streaming goes.  In my lifetime we have gone from 20 year spending phases of life to 5 or less.  It used to be that you had the childhood phase, the disposable income phase, the young family phase, the mature family phase, the post family phase.  Now we have more individualistic phases to extract the cash from a wider range of people. Computers and gadgets have caused a proportion of the population to genuinely believe that they need the latest phone/social media/computer/game/movie, and they need it now.  To fund this, they need a ready supply of fairly meaningless and unfulfilling work, and during the course of this they need to lie, agree to say nothing about things they don’t agree with, or pretend to like someone who really is not at all admirable.  The age of the role model, and the age of integrity have gone in favour of the great Capitalist con.

The irony is that our national economies performed much better when we favoured honesty and were shown examples of heroic rebellion.  Saying yes to people we have no respect for, on the grounds that they have a nicer suit or car, is what led to the economic crash.  Banks and supersized companies alike, favour the cheating robot over the honest and devoted employee.  This is not healthy.  The Western economies fully deserve the downfall they will suffer in the next century or so as a result.  Sooner or later, command capitalism or simply a well educated, well motivated developing nation who admire progress will eat us all alive, unless we learn how to look back and learn.

As individuals, we need to learn to swim against the tide.  Every time a stupid acquaintance remarks on our old car or clothes we should learn to righteously sneer at their frivolity and congratulate ourselves at avoiding the great capitalist con that keeps them in debt.  There is no actual joy to be gained from being endlessly available or engaged in pursuits that are simply designed to drain our finances into someone else’s pocket.

It is important to remember that the multiplier effect only goes so far.  We in the West dropped the idea of real money some years ago, in favour of virtual money that moves as a number without any currency to back it up.

Be ahead of the game, rather than sorry at the end of it. Any economic growth they report now is directly at the expense of another nation, students or sectors of society that you are told to hate, for a variety of increasingly spurious reasons.  Hate the fat, hate the elderly, hate the disabled in relation to the welfare bill or the NHS.  Hate the Muslims whilst we destroy their countries for yet more gain.  Hate whoever they tell you to hate, but do not be deceived that it has anything to do with anything apart from the money.

Continue Reading