A couple of years ago when I moved to Los Angeles, many of my friends became obsessed with getting more followers on social media.
Some of them “needed” more followers for their businesses to grow, while others just wanted to “be cool” and “be followed”.
And just the other way around, I remember a time when it was not cool to follow others. So people were grinding away on their Instagram accounts unfollowing people.
Fast forward three years and...
...things have not really changed
I have to admit that I am guilty of the above. Simply because I am in an industry where people will take you more seriously when they see you with a bigger following. Producers will want to work with you, labels will talk to you, venues will invite you to perform. etc.
Although I know the pressures related to social media are unhealthy, I do understand where people, who go to extremes in order to get followers, are coming from.
It can be really frustrating knowing that if you had more followers you would be able to get a certain meeting or work with a certain someone.
Something else that really shocked me about social media, is how everything looks so much fun in photos, and everyone looks so happy. They are showing the most positive aspects of their lives in front of the world, which makes sense, nobody wants to be a downer.
It was not until I went to a party in LA and compared the reality of that party to the social media reality of it.
I realized how fake social media really is!
It was one of those Hollywood parties that everyone wanted to get invited to. I walk in and people are either looking at each other from head-to-toe or looking at their phone. Barely anyone is having a conversation or smiling, and maybe four people are dancing.
Long story short, everybody looked bored out of their minds!
But like any "cool” party nowadays, this one had a photo booth and a long line of people waiting to get their pictures taken.
I left early and went home.
The next day, when I was on my Instagram, I saw so many photos from the party. If I had not attended, I would have felt some major FOMO* . From the pictures, it looked like such a fun time and everyone was having a blast!
The irony of social media will never stop getting to me.
People are putting themselves out there like never before. Showing their lives to the whole world, yet they could not be further from telling the truth.
Okay, maybe I am exaggerating for some people. I always believe in exceptions, and there are definitely a few of them. You can still enjoy social media, and have a real social life and show the truth about who you are.
Nevertheless, my experiences with social media during my first year living in Los Angeles led me to write my song “Hiding”.
“Are you liking life for free? Are they friends or enemies? What are you hiding from?”
As I said, there are always exceptions.
Here are some of the pros and cons of social media.
I am sure you can think of more pros and cons of social media. And I suggest you think and write down your own. Since we are on the topic, feel free to send me a message on Instagram about your thoughts @tamtamsound
What I really believe is that there are pros and cons to everything.
You can look at the world and see a glass half empty or you can see a glass half full. What’s important is that you know the cons so that you can avoid them.
For example, it is so easy to believe what you see on social media and to compare your life to others. But we should never compare because everyone has good and bad in their life. It’s all a balance, the yin, and the yang.
Also, if someone has a life that looks like your dream life (whether it’s true or false), you have to know that there is room for everyone to have the reality of their dreams.
The only thing that can stop us is ourselves. And comparing yourself to others puts you in a negative space where it will be hard to manifest your goals.
I want to add that it is important to separate yourself from social media. Remember, everything in moderation. You can go for a hike or meditate to give your mind a break from the “black mirror”.
Being in this industry for over four years, it would have been so much easier for me to buy followers. But I always believe in growing my followers organically, no matter how long it takes.
After all, those are the people who are going to actually buy your product, listen to your song, or comment on your photos. Those are your supporters for life.
I can give you a whole list on how to grow your followers organically, but I will save that for the next article.
For now, I want to say the most important thing about how to gain real, authentic, and dedicated followers. It may sound cliche, but I truly believe this is the simple ingredient that will help you in the long run:
This way you will gain the followers who are your true fans. It’s better to have 50 real fans than to have 1000 fake ones who will not engage with you. On the flip-side, it would not be fun to put yourself in a position where you gain followers through being someone you are not. Then have to keep being that lie all the time.
So do not overthink this whole social media thing. Just be you. You do not need to hide behind any mask. Your authenticity is what makes you unique.
“Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
-Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat