“I finally have 10k followers on Instagram, but if I had 15k, I would finally be happy.”
Does this kind of thinking sound familiar? We crave having tons of social media followers because the attention that they give us validates our life choices.
Social media platforms make money because we crave attention. It’s in their best interest for you to gain as many followers as possible, so they train you to make content that will capture others’ attention. Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok essentially sell attention.
But is this tactic actually constructive? Does your follower count really matter? If you’re passionate about what you post, then why should you pay attention to how much people engage with it?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to get into the mindset that the attention we receive on social media doesn’t matter. Here are three reasons why seeking attention on social media hurts us:
1. You’ll overthink and compare.
When you start thinking about how much engagement your content draws in, it’s easy to overthink. You might compare yourself to other content creators and wonder why they have more followers. You might also wonder why your ideas aren’t gaining interest and obsessively plan out content that you think everyone will want to see. Furthermore, your creativity will suffer when you overthink which content will get you attention and which won’t. Spontaneously post because you genuinely care, not because you want others’ attention.
2. You’ll stop caring about everything else.
We all want people to “like” our posts and view our stories, but if you get too wrapped up in whether or not people care about your social media presence, you’ll stop caring about everything else in your life. Your life will revolve around how to capture the most perfect photos and post the funniest captions instead of living in the moment. You might even lose touch with family and friends if all you care about is your followers. Even if you’re trying to gain more followers, don’t forget about the people who care about you in real life.
3. You’ll feel jealous of others.
When your follower count remains the same for a while, it’s easier to feel jealous when you see others with the amount of followers that you want. You might constantly search your favorite Instagram accounts and let envy overtake you, but if you don’t celebrate your own success, you’ll never be happy. Your feelings of inadequacy will overtake you, you’ll post more and more frequently, and you’ll completely buy into the attention social media platforms sell, which won’t benefit you in the long run. Recognize that your content is your own, and find pride in what you post, not how many people follow what you post.
Trying to gain more followers may seem fun at first, but it can hurt your mental health and make you feel overly competitive, jealous, and inferior. If you love social media, find pride in what you post, and remember that you have a fresh perspective that no one else can share with the world.