I listen to the Gary Vee podcast every once in a while, and something I hear him constantly repeat is to not pay attention to the number of likes, comments, or followers that you have. So that’s in the back of my mind all the time.
So one saturday night I was doing an audit of all the accounts I follow, because I’m a father of three and this is about all the excitement I’m ready to handle at 9pm on a saturday. Anyhow, I came across an account that had 25k followers and hadn’t posted since 2018. This account stood out to me as being quite mediocre as far as photo quality and caliber of woodworking that was displayed. Just nothing special. And the last post was mid 2018.
I unfollowed the account, but I kept thinking about it. Something wasn’t sitting right. Was I jealous that I have only 1,000 followers and felt my content was more compelling? Perhaps I deserved another 24,000 followers just like this person had? Sure that feeling crossed my mind, but it’s not what kept me pondering. Gary told me to not pay attention to followers! I shouldn’t care!
Yet, somehow instagram followers have become the currency of the day in my mind? The quickest way for me to validate or invalidate someone or something is to look them up on instagram, and see how many followers they have. As if that’s some earned score of awesomeness.
It isn’t! But why? What is going on?
Back when this account was active, there was more consumers on the platform than there were creators. Lots of people were making accounts in order to follow but not to post anything. This created a demand for content, so if you were one of the few posting anything of interest, accounts would find you and follow you! But times have changed!
Influencers like the wood whisperer have said that they’ve seen it on fb and now it’s happening on IG. The platform isn’t showing all their content to all their followers unless they pay. Which makes sense to me, there’s too much content so the cream (or the ones willing to pay) will rise to the top.
So the accounts that were doing the right thing at the right place and right time (IG 2016-ish or before) sit atop these huge follower counts and people like me look to them as if they are better than the next account which may be objectively more interesting/better, but has a fraction of the following.
The question is, how much longer will this legacy collection of followers be relevant? Will something come along and level the playing field? Is there a similar “land grab” happening on Tik Tok or LinkedIn? If a new platform comes along will people jump on it faster in order to benefit from the initial lack of content?
I wish I had the answers!