Imagine that you woke up tomorrow and saw “36 M” Twitter followers. Yes, 36 million followers. “9 Billion” Instagram followers. 19 billion new Facebook fan likes. 516 Million YouTube Subscribers and 19 million new Podcast downloads. Every single one of your posts had 3600 plus comments about your how you’ve impacted their lives. Now, would you want this? “Hell yeah! Why would you even question me Logan?” That would be cool wouldn’t it? But would you really want this success to happen over one night?
Let’s really think about this one and travel down the rabbit hole.
To get a clear idea of what it is to have a following. Let’s play devils advocate.
Our society is addicted to the quick fix.
Immediacy. Instant gratification. So it’s easy to think of gaining a following in those terms. It’s easy to put your marketing dollars into a series of TV ads (and change strategies when consumers see through you). Or to join every single social media site. Or to throw an enormous fanfare for your personal brand.
The problem with all this is that it’s “one shot, one kill” marketing – putting in the minimal amount of effort and expecting maximum results. Having these unrealistic expectations leads to disappointment and boredom. Most marketers have ridiculously short attention spans – if something doesn’t work right away, they try something else. (Not trying to offend anyone yet.)
This is why online marketing is so hard. The internet is built for short attention spans. Things work very quickly and are very measurable. You can be friends with someone on Facebook in less than two minutes of sending the request. Same goes for getting a response to your email. Same goes for having people read your latest blog post.
But these things lack depth, they lack true impact on your meaning for living a fulfilled life. At least initially. Just because you’re friends with someone on Facebook, it doesn’t mean you are a true friend. Just because someone responded to your email, it doesn’t mean they want to hear from you again. Just because you wrote a popular blog post, it doesn’t mean your readers will ever return.
And that’s what’s so frustrating – it still takes a long time to build relationships with people and earn their trust, even when you’re using the medium that gives you the quickest fix possible. When you think you’re a successful marketer in one fell swoop, that’s when you know you’ve been deceived.
You can’t cheat.
As Geoff Mulgan said “As the Internet of things advances, the very notion of a clear dividing line between reality and virtual reality becomes blurred, sometimes in creative ways.”
Putting in a ton of effort all at once, then saying “all finished!” might work for a college assignment, but it doesn’t build true meaning. To do anything worthwhile, you have to accept that there are no shortcuts. You have to value persistence over immediacy. You can’t go to sleep on day, wake up and have a bunch of success.