How many friends do you have? I mean really close friends?
My guess is any of us would name relatively few people you can consider in that category. If it wasn’t for social media, how many people can you recall their birthdays if asked?
Social media gives the impression you can have thousands of friends.
If you think you are close friends with all of the 600 people you are connected with on Facebook or you are truly engaged with more than a small fraction of the 2,000 you are “following” on Twitter, you have a serious delusional issue.
Furthermore, if you are following 10,000 people on Twitter in order to get 10,000 people to follow you, those 10,000 people are not following you any more than you are following all 10,000.
It is a physical impossibility to follow more than a couple hundred people effectively.
Some have attempted to grade social media-use based on the ratio of how many people are following you to how many you follow. It can be depressing if your self-image is wrapped up in assuming thousands of people are actually paying attention and they are really not.
If you have 10,000 people who have clicked “like” on your author Facebook site, but every time you post something you get three comments or shares, then you do not have 10,000 people following you…or what you are posting is boring. Over time, you will know if you have a audience or not by their responsiveness to your posts.
Here is a suggestion:
Twitter – if you are following thousands, delete half of them (those you don’t know personally) and see how much your follower numbers drop off. Honestly, it would be better to have 300 committed followers than 3,000 uncommitted names on a list. Keep deleting half of those you are following until you are down to people you really care what they say. If you follow someone only because they follow you, it is an uncommitted relationship and none of us need more of those.
They don’t “count” for your social media platform anyway. The purpose of an effective author social media platform is when you finally have a book to announce there is a recognizable increase in sales because you told your followers about it.
Facebook – if you have a personal page, manage it closely and “unfollow” people that are not in your inner circle of friends. You can still be friends, but you don’t need to know what everyone in world had for lunch. On a public figure page, if you have a healthy following, then please, post interesting stuff that connects with people and builds their commitment to you. Again, we don’t care what you had for lunch.
There are billions (that’s right, with a “b”) of users for each of these social media, but an average user is not connected to very many people overall. Currently, the average number of Facebook friends and Twitter followers per user is just a few hundred.
So, get real with social media. It is about quality and commitment of followers, not numbers. Yes, publishers and agents care about numbers, but we also know that there are techniques to puff up the numbers without any sort of commitment. Publishers and agents want numbers and proven effective engagement.
Numbers + commitment = effective platform.
If you don’t think commitment counts, only numbers, no matter how you got them, well, Emperor, that’s a nice new set of clothes you have on.