5 Tips to Avoid ‘Number Porn’

Last Spring John Falchetto blogged about something he called “number porn”:

“With the online measuring tools at our disposal we now have the ability to indulge in number porn. The bigger the number, the more we get hot and bothered.”

This got me thinking. Does size really matter? 

Well, for some people it does and the focus on social proof is now causing many of us to be concerned with how big we are! Social media is a powerful tool to build our personal brands. When we start out actively using the different channels available, we can fall into the trap of focusing on the numbers and not the engagement.

The numbers give us that immediate validation we are looking for and it is exciting to see our growth. But when our score drops or our followers stop following, we can fall into the trap of feeling inadequate and, well, small!

It’s not the size that matters. It’s how you use it!

This is the classic quality versus quantity conundrum. Don’t be focused so much on how big it is, how much you have, or how many follow you.

Move away from measuring “how many” and focus on WHY your page, post, tweet, is popular. Was it a question you asked that prompted a lot of comments? Did a video you post result in a high number of re-tweets? Did a thought leader in your sphere of influence mention your post in their blog or tweet? All of these are indicators of how you use it.

5 Tips to “size up” who to follow

Here are 5 criteria I am using to “size up” the people I decide to follow:

1. Do you have a photo?

I want to connect with a real person not an egg head, silhouette, or cartoon character. Your photo provides the credibility I need to prove you are real. Of course, make sure it is a professionally taken head-shot and not a photo snapped at a party.

2. What are you tweeting and sharing?

If I notice that all you do is promote your size and self-worth, well, time to move on. I follow the 80/20 rule:  80% listening and 20% speaking. In other words, if all you do is talk about yourself, then it is time to tune out.

3. Who else is following you?

I put a lot of trust in thought leaders I respect and value. If people I respect also follow you, then it is practically a done deal.

4. What is your blog or website about?

I ALWAYS click on the link you put on your profile statement. Does your site/blog resonate with me? Is it something that I am eager to share with others? I want to know more about how you use it, not how big it is!

5. Are you in my target audience?

Thank you to Kimberly Bordonaro who shared this tip from Robert Caruso, founder of Bundle Post, who says, “Follow back your target audience always. Otherwise you are being a celebrity not building relationships.” This one is so obvious, yet can easily be forgotten in the number porn game. Check out Kimberly’s experiment where she happily lost “followers!”

Avoid the red light district of number porn!

We can always inflate our size by buying ‘fake’ followers who make us appear bigger than we really are. On the surface it might look attractive, but underneath it is just plastic and no substance.

Let your numbers grow organically. By being natural and authentic you will show that what you have is actually worth looking at. You will create a real community of true relationships and growth will come naturally.

What is your follow policy? How do you avoid number porn? Share your ideas below.

 

Peter Sterlacci, Founder of BeYB – Believe. Become. Be Your Brand, combines personal branding strategy with cycling imagery to empower on-the-move careerists in global companies in Japan to shift gears, get out of the saddle, and sprint to career success.

 

 

 

Share

Comments

  1. Thanks for including a shout out to me in this post! You rock. :)

    It’s a natural impulse to want to start off hot, but as my mother always pointed out to me, the hottest candles burn out the quickest. Same holds true for social media, you’re just spinning your wheels if you are speaking to “fake” followers – and that wastes your time and energy.

    It’s understandable why my clients ask how they can massively increase their following immediately. With the way people have been been buying “likes” and “followers”, anyone would think its easy to grow a huge following in only a few days. But like you so eloquently pointed out, when you organically grow and follow the tips you pointed out, “You will create a real community of true relationships and growth with come naturally.”

    Thanks for another great post, Peter! Keep up this great work.

    • Thanks Kimberly! You were obviously one of the motivations for me to write this post. Truly impressed by what you did to weed out the ‘fakers’. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

  2. Excellent post. I like the whole analogy of “number porn.” I haven’t checked out Kimberly’s experiment, but I’m sure that getting found out as someone with artificial numbers will sink you like a rock.

    • Thanks for your comment Matt. Glad you liked the post and ‘number porn’ reference. I am happy to say I am not out soliciting ‘numbers’. Check out what Kimberly did for sure. Thanks again.

Speak Your Mind

*