The Problem With Follow for Follow

Follow for follows is a very popular social media “game” where people claim that they will follow whoever follows them…but does it really help build an engaged audience?

Much of the time, follow for follows lead to a user having a bunch of random followers that follow and then unfollow immediately after. It also leads to having a large number of followers with little to no engagement. Neither of these are productive.

Growing your platform isn’t just about how many numbers appear on your followers list, but how many of those followers actually engage with your content. A successful platform has an engaged audience, with people who genuinely care about the content being produced.

Personally, I’ve never liked these follow games…and I don’t find things like “writer’s lifts” on Twitter, to be useful. Do I want to grow my platform? Of course, but I value actual engagement with my audience much more. I prefer having discussions with fellow members of the writing community. I also have no problem re-sharing someones work, if I’m interested in it, but I find having my feed flooded with “writers lifts” very frustrating. Especially with users who seem to do them every day of the week. If this were happening once a month, I don’t think it would be as bad. It would be nicer if it were set up in the same way that #PitMad or related hashtags were, where say…on the 1st of every month, people use #writerslift to help smaller creators grow their audience.

Personally, I find the BookTube twitter community much more…relaxed in these types of Tweets. The smaller creators that I follow grow their audience by engaging with readers, authors and other BookTuber’s. This is something that I think everyone in the writing community should be doing.

Yes, you don’t grow your platform as quickly, but from experience, participating in follow for follows and writers lifts results in a lot more unfollows, than followers that actually care about what you have to say.

Do you grow slower? Yes, but no.

Recently I’ve found that because I have made and shared more “political” tweets (although I don’t believe valuing human life is “political”), that I have had a decrease in followers over the last two weeks. Despite this, I have had new, actively engaged followers find my platform who not only are members of the same communities as I am (reading, writing and voice over), but also people who felt strongly about the Black Lives Matter movement.

I don’t think those who unfollowed me are “racist.” In fact, I assume that they were people who already didn’t engage with my content, and only followed me because I was a writer. They had no intention of engaging in my content to begin with, and simply hoped I would blindly follow back if they followed me.

In other cases, I assume it was because they were upset by some of the things I was posting, and that is okay. My feelings aren’t at all hurt. If you need to unfollow someone in order to either guard your heart, or because their posts are negatively having an effect on your mental health, then do so. Following someone whose content constantly upsets you is like…mental torture. Please don’t do that!

Have I unfollowed people during these past few weeks because of Tweets they made? Yes. I did so before as well. If I’m uninterested in someone else’s content, or they say something that I disagree with, like making “All Lives Matter” statements I will unfollow. On Instagram, I have unfollowed certain artists in the past who continuously complained and made excuses for their poor behaviour on their platform. I don’t think it’s mean. I just feel like I would rather unfollow someone then get into a heated argument with them because I disagree with their viewpoints. I also think that when you blindly follow people in these follow games, that you end up with a bunch of people you WOULD NEVER consider following on a regular basis.

I’m curious, what are your thoughts on follow games and writers lifts?

Do you find them helpful?

What has been your experience with them if you’ve participated in them?

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