Why you should not fall for dirty shortcuts to gaining followers?

Disclaimer: This article is my personal opinion on the shortcut tricks shared by some fellow members of Medium for gaining followers in a short time. I do not wish to demean, hurt, insult, or negate their tricks/ opinions. Please treat it as such.

As I write this, I have spent about 4-5 months on medium. I do not write daily but I have written over 50 articles. A majority of them are on technology, future, life-lessons, and only a few are my general observations. It’s surprising to see articles that share tricks for increasing followers by some tricks:

  1. You follow me, I follow back
  2. Publish daily (even if you have nothing to publish)
  3. Edit your previous posts (don’t check the need, just edit)
  4. Comment (Even if there is no need)
  5. Mention other writers in your articles (even without the need)

The majority of these articles are clickbait articles to attract desperate writers who are struggling to find an audience for their work and only a few of them are good enough and cover the basic philosophy of writing.

I am a man of technology and I understand how all of the above tricks help in generating momentum for your content and help you reach more audience. But what people fail to mention is, a momentum in absence of “good content” and “direction” is a sheer waste of your valuable time.

Even if you have a thousand followers, if your content is not good enough, they will lose interest and soon vanish. The goal of writing is not to gain followers but spreading awareness.

How do the above tricks affect your writing?

The above tricks shift your focus from writing to other things and disturb the evolution of your writing skills.

You follow me, I follow you back strategy

When you follow someone without being interested in their content, you end up opting for so many sources of content that aren’t of your interest. These sources don’t inspire you to write and in turn steal the reading time that you have for good content. When you follow someone because their content is good and you want to read them again & again, you will always find the right content on top and that will inspire you to learn and grow.

Everyone follows someone and no one can grow without following others. No one is born with all knowledge. I analyze patents & scientific literature as a professional and I read dozens of researches on a monthly basis but only a few of them inspire me. The only strategy to survive and grow with so much information is “to not spend time on everything but select the ones that matter”. Sometimes the researches that are important aren’t new but decades old. They are not cited by new industries, they don’t have many investments but they are the gold standard. Despite their non-shiny financials & low citations, they carry the potential for changing humanity.

The same applies to the people that you follow. They don’t need to be the top content creators. Sometimes the content created in past can be good for you and you should not shy from following and using it. Only follow people that make you aware, enlighten you, encourage you, and inspire you.

Good knowledge is beyond timelines and is not restrictive to a community/ degree/ person.

It’s a delicate balance, your lifetime is limited and you cannot read everything. Thus, focus only on the content that is worth reading and inspires you.

Publishing/ Editing content daily

In our next section, I will cover the reason for writing which will help you understand when to publish. Publishing/ editing daily takes you to a burnout situation.

I understand discipline and “Why writing daily is a good thing?”, but I also understand that the soul of writing is in producing something that creates a better future. In absence of that, writing is a dead exercise and doesn’t offer you any joy. You should write more frequently for improving your skills but don’t push too hard, else it would disturb the thrill and joy. Let it be natural.

Write for honing your skill and not for being in the top results in terms of activeness. Publish for spreading your knowledge and feelings. When your focus shifts from “daily” content publishing to “value” content publishing, the joy of writing would soon appear in your life. Everything else is just worthless.

Commenting/ Mentioning others

Commenting helps you grow and know people. But commenting without a need doesn’t serve any purpose, it is again a trick to take your focus away from writing to reach. Stop worrying about reaching, start focusing on creating. When you create good content, the audience always finds their way to the content and they will connect with you.

There is a saying in Bhagwat Geeta (the most decorated text of Hindu culture: “Stop worrying about results, focus on your action instead

This saying emphasises that you cannot control the output but only the input. Let the nature take its course and whatever you deserve, you will get it automatically.

  1. Comment when you want to encourage people. Everyone needs encouragement and your comments can always help someone with a tiny dose of motivation
  2. Comment when you want to appreciate their work. There are claps for it but sometimes the content is so good that commenting is irresistible. No one asks you to stop, “go ahead and appreciate”. They deserve it.
  3. Comment when you want to add something valuable.

What should you do instead?

Everyone writes for a reason. Being an old-school person, the only reason I can think of writing is “to spread awareness”. Writing is a sacred exercise that is aimed at spreading knowledge to mankind and fellow humans. You might not agree with me and cite money, fame, reach, publicity, etc. as your reasons, to which I can only laugh and ignore.

If you write for anything other than spreading awareness, you will lose interest after some time. The process will take a toll and disturb your peace. But when you write for spreading awareness, the process is always fresh and brings you peace & joy. Anything other that you gain via writing is just a by-product and should not be confused as the primary motivation.

Write for spreading your knowledge. Write to express your heart, emotions, and feelings. Write to enlighten the world.

Writing involves research. You cannot write if you are not researching. In today’s world, where almost all of us are educated enough to read and absorb content, it goes without saying that you cannot write if you don’t read.

When you write for spreading awareness and knowledge, you would always publish the content with the right tags. You will know when it is ready to publish. You will always find the right audience. Now the focus would be to create value and let the readers come to you as a bee comes to the flowers.

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