Numbers Matter, But What Actually Matters?
Let me begin my saying - Numbers Matter! Big, big time. If someone gets 500 Likes on their profile picture on Facebook, we are tempted to see who the person is. The number game is important to young souls who seek validation on social media and also for people like me, who get money as per their social media standing. How do I get money? I write for brands and share it on my blog and social media accounts. It’s a form of advertisement. When I started blogging, oops writing (that sounds professional), my first job was for $50. I was elated, you know, as the cliche goes - writers don’t make money - and $50 was a hell lot. I was pumped up to work towards earning more. I was getting accolades and money was the cherry on the top.
Accolades you ask? Poems published in an International Anthology, won a few blogging contests, won Indiblogger’s Indian Blogger Award 2013, selected among top 6 creative writing bloggers by BlogAdda, interviewed by an Indian channel in New York and interviewed by prestigious websites like Women’sWeb. And, I was earning money too. This all happened in the first 2 years of blogging. This seems so fascinating. I was living a dream. Let me also share, in the world of blogging, writers are the least preferred lot by masses. People drool over food, fashion, travel and photography bloggers. Bloggers who write are geeks of the blogging world. We don’t get followers easily unless you write provocative stuff or post many ‘F’ ‘B’ or ‘M’ words in your social media updates. By all means, I was lucky, my average comment on each post easily crossed 125, not including my own. In short - I was doing pretty well for a creative writing blogger. And, you know what happens when you get all that? You start dissecting. Yes, dissecting! Out of the 125 comments, you only care for the genuine ones. The ones who have read and not commented for a comment back. When you win second prize in a contest, you read the quality of other winners and measure the judgment process. You do the same when you lose too. You work hard and write for a brand, but you are shattered to see one blogger writing a meaningless post and being paid the same. And, don’t get me started about anthologies - it’s the easiest way to sell books by publishing houses, club people with some talent and lot of reach, and publish a book. Before anyone is offended by ‘some talent’ part, this was said to me by a publisher himself. Anyway, the bottom line is - by this time, we know the murky side of numbers. Let’s say - It’s easy to maintain the quantity! Quality, on the other hand, is like Art House Cinema - appreciated by only a few.
However, the worst thing is at this stage growth stops! People are dissuaded and only slog to maintain numbers. They read, write and comment more on other blogs to get numbers. They add more people on social media to get likes. They post random stuff, controversial status and cute DPs to get followers.They are lost in the number game. It’s not their fault as everyone around them is growing in these terms. And, brands love people with numbers. So, many buy followers too. But, let me tell you - none of them are happy. Let me give you three examples -
- You write for a brand, you want comments and traffic on that post. People are not interested in the topic and you get comments like - nice post, nicely written and other variations of it. The purpose of promoting the brand is defeated.
- You want followers on Twitter and Instagram, you buy but you don’t get interaction as those accounts are fake or inactive.
- You add thousand unknown strangers on Facebook, they will like your pictures but will not read your posts. And, trust me, Facebook algorithm has no mercy either. If 10 friends don’t like your post, it gets buried by the algorithm.
You see, none of it works in your favor. You chase numbers and even with numbers, you don’t achieve anything. This brings the real question - what should we do? Should we be indifferent, stop writing or simply be a part of this craziness? There is one thing I follow since I started blogging, do what you feel like. Write what you feel is right. Try to grow in your field. Don’t imitate people. Don’t shy away from asking for work. Always admit to your mistakes. Don’t fall for numbers as after a point the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs kicks in. Likes, comments, traffic or even work comes at its own fancy, you can not control it beyond a point, but good-consistent work will always bring you closer to self-actualisation. Yes, that top thing of Maslow’s chart! And, there will come a day when a random message on Facebook from a complete stranger will fill you with pride. That’s the magic of quality-consistency-passion.
Again, numbers matter. My list of accomplishment brings immense pleasure. But there are many other things that don't attract numbers, and I find more happiness in these accomplishments -
Personal messages that keep me going
In the end, I would like to say, chase your passion, numbers will follow. Even if numbers don’t follow, happiness surely will.
P. S. - I completed 5 years of blogging today. Please don’t defeat the purpose of this post by commenting do shabd - Happy Anniversary.