Don’t Chase Followers. Make Friends3 min read

Take a good look at this picture. It shows the map of all the folks who read this blog.

It’s a fun statistic. On the same page, you can see a number of other stats: the number of followers, shares, comments, page views…

Traffic, they call it.

Numbers.

But that’s you, if you come to think about it. One of those numbers is you. If you’ve commented a few times on my blog posts, your name appears in another statistic as a top commenter.

Are you a statistic? Just a number?

Aren’t you an actual person?

Aren’t you just like me? Like the person who commented before you?

Yet, somehow, it’s so damn easy to forget that our followers are real people.

And that’s when you make all sorts of mistakes. And that’s how you screw up. Big time.

The numbers always lie.

No one ever starts a blog with the goal of having one reader. Just one.

And that’s a big problem, because, you see, you write your first blog post, you publish it, and you get that first follower.

But you don’t celebrate at all. You want another one. You don’t even see that reader as someone who thought your writing to be good enough to subscribe. You just see a number.

This is why no amount of followers will ever be enough. Because you see them as nameless, faceless, voiceless entities, when in fact each and every single one of them has friends, has a voice, a life, a story.

Funny… we never focus on the one. On that one follower. On each and every single one. On our ideal reader.

And it’s ironic, because a long time ago, someone believed in my blog post that they shared it on their Twitter. They had close to a hundred thousand followers, I had a hundred.

Just one person. But their share meant that over a thousand people read my blog post in less than twenty four hours.

You see, if you chase followers, you will have a few problems, such as:

1. No number will ever be big enough.

When you chase numbers, it’s not possible to reach the end. Numbers keep going forever. You just keep counting. The 1 millionth follower will feel no different than the tenth.

There is no finish line, there is no satisfaction.

2. A follower will forget you.

Do you remember that first follower? They could have been a lifetime fan. But did you care enough about them or did you neglect them to chase follower number two, number three, and so on?

The enormous irony is that when you chase followers, you really will attract people who want what you have. Don’t ignore these people.

3. There’s no time to develop relationships.

Here’s the thing: if you are constantly chasing followers, you never have time to stop and ask yourself if what you are doing even makes sense. Or if your readers actually resonate with your content. Or what type of content they like best.

There’s no time to do anything but chase more followers.

Whenever you find yourself thinking about this faceless crowd you call an audience, stop and think of your ideal reader. Think of someone walking up to you and telling you that they feel like they know you because you the words you have written. Better yet, they sometimes feel like YOU know them because of the words you write.

Don’t chase followers. Make friends.

Cristian Mihai

Became Internet famous by the age of 23. Never recovered. I write short author bios all over the web. I’m an acquired taste. Don’t like me? Acquire some taste.

69 thoughts on “Don’t Chase Followers. Make Friends3 min read

  1. Thank you, my friend Cristian, I will remember this advice. I appreciate your reminder. It’s not about numbers. It’s about the 3 P’s: People, Passion, and Purpose. Your purpose is to help bloggers like me become more personal, more passionate, and more purposeful. You perform your art daily with the other important P: precision. Thank you!

  2. This is so real!
    Great idea to talk about this particular subject.I just told my community on instagram that I don’t look at the statistics on the blog often and now I end up reading this article.Clearly this article need to be read by all bloggers.

    1. We often focus so much on the numbers, that we forget we’re talking about actual human beings.

      I often find myself editing the word “follower” with “reader.”

      Community is also a beautiful word. I like it.

      1. Exactly and the saddest part of it is our lack of interest in getting to know who these people are.
        Indeed!I think the term follower is not an appropriate word to use towards people who show interest for our work.

  3. Thank you, Cristian. Good reminder. I think about the specific people my words touch and feel the honor of that, to serve into them as individuals. One day, I thought: I only have two hundred followers (and still not much more). But, then I imagined if I was before them in a live audience reading my work, as I’ve done many times. Grace. Honor. Gratitude. Especially in a world where the demands on our attention are a costant cacophony, each reader does us a favor taking time. May they feel it was a good investment.

  4. So true, Christian. Because my blog shares the message of hope for complete healing, I pray for each person who visits. I ask God to transform each person through what I write. I have noticed that less than 1% of my followers actually follow me. Most of my traffic comes from searches. Each person who visits is important to me and I write for them. So if you visit, know you are in my prayers. If you comment and leave a specific prayer request (will not be publicized) I will pray for your specific request.

  5. Very true. Sometimes we can get a bit too obsessed with numbers, and forget that behind the numbers are people. Well…some of the time, at least. Sometimes I wonder if some of the people who follow me (like the “Vitamin Concept Blog”) are actual followers or bots.

  6. Great post. It is important to keep in mind that behind the statistics there are real people reading the work. It’s easy to forget that in an online world. Reading your posts has been encouraging and I appreciate what you have to say.

    1. Thank you for the compliments! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

      And, yes, we get so caught up in the game, that we forget what we are playing for, who we are playing with, and what does it all mean.

  7. Oh my! In my nervousness and excitement just to reply to you, I made some spelling errors! A no-no for bloggers especially! LOL You’re very helpful! Looking forward to where this will take me! LOL

  8. Being part of a community and making new friends is one of the best things about blogging – it would be very sad to miss out on it!

  9. I have a friend that did a funny, successful blog but had to stop doing it because she said keeping up with the numbers (of those who read her entries) was what became important & was driving her nuts. I’ve been doing a blog since Dec. 2013. I LOVE writing those blog entries far more than writing the stuff I get paid for. I am still & ALWAYS amazed that people read what I’m writing & am so appreciative. People that send comments always get a personal response from me. It is so rewarding to know that one person or 100 actually read something I wrote. I hope I never lose that outlook & enthusiasm. My friend has lost so much because “numbers” of readers became the most important thing to her & not that people were reading & enjoying her stuff.

  10. Damn! That just hit me..
    But I remember my first follower because that was my brother 😀
    But seriously I’m gonna start working on this.
    Thanks
    Be my friend then 😉

Leave a Reply