Thursday, April 15, 2010

Anyone Ever Notice This?

Here's a question I'd like to ask: Why is it considered verboten to talk about one's follower count? My take on it is that I think that there's some irrational fear that just the simple act of publicly talking about it or revealing one's consciousness of it will somehow make the numbers go down. :-)

One is supposed to pretend that one is unconcerned with any such issues.

I think this is complete & utter bullshit. Frankly, this issue needs to be addressed straight-on, without pretension & falsitudes. It's time to get real. It's time to be honest about one's feelings on the matter.

So, I'm just gonna lay it out here straight.

Let me just say that first of all, I think that there's a lot of pretending going on & a lot of people say they don't care about such things when deep down, they really do. I think that some people will feign disinterest in the topic while secretly wishing the numbers go up, as if increasing one's followers serves as some sort of validation of one's own musical tastes (i.e., on Blip.fm) or opinions (on Twitter, Facebook, or one's blogs, etc.).

To obsess about such matters too much is clearly considered to be uncool. It's somehow viewed as immodest or needy, or attention-seeking.

I find the whole issue ridiculous and interesting all at once. On the one hand, it's easy to say one doesn't care when one has a lot of followers. :) However, I do think that the numbers game can have a psychological bearing, even if it isn't publicly acknowledged.

Do I care if I have lots of followers? Well, honestly sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. It depends upon my mood. Most of the times I don't care, but it also depends upon the context and the social networking medium itself.

For example: Right now, this blog has only a handful of followers. I am OK with that. You want to know why?! Because right now, this space feels cozy and intimate, and I'm really enjoying that. I feel like I'm having a conversation with a few chums, and these likeminded souls are hanging out here, because they feel some sort of kinship with me. Or at least that's the vibe I'm getting at any rate.

If this blog gets really big, I might not care either way, because I'm anonymous here, but it might make me think twice about what I'm writing.

As for Blip.fm, I usually don't take unfollows personally; I figure, people probably heard something I blipped that was out of line with their own expectations of what my station was all about. That's their prerogative. I do sometimes feel that some people are a bit too trigger-happy to unfollow; no one quite knows what makes people follow or unfollow sometimes, and I'm not going to attempt to figure that one out.

It would, however, be interesting to conduct some sort of poll on that, to see how Blip.fm users are affected by various DJs. I can't speak for others, but personally am not likely to unfollow a DJ unless they play a whole string of songs that I absolutely cannot stand. :) If it's just one song here and there, I will probably tolerate it, especially if I like the majority of what they play.

Also, I will admit to following some people more for the bond I have with them, than for what they blip. Now, in most cases, these qualities overlap, but there are also some instances in which I'm not in the mood to hear a particular genre of music 24/7, and there are definitely some DJs out there who happen to focus on a predominant genre to the exclusion of all others. However, I'm not likely to unfollow them because I know that there's going to be a time when I will want to hear their music again, even if not for the moment. :) Music is often mood-oriented, so I take that into account when listening to DJs. They have moods and so do I.

Overall, I take into consideration both the person behind the music & the music itself. Both are equally important to me. In other words, I tune in because of what DJs have to say about music & life as much as I do for what they play. Blip.fm is about forming bonds with others and having interesting discussions.

While it might be hard to have that sort of connection with everyone, especially when one's follower count skyrockets to a large number, and it's honestly overwhelming to reply to everyone and everything, it is possible to have some quality conversation there.

Lately, I haven't been in a very talkative mood there, & have been "missing in action" for several days in a row. However, now that April 15th has come & gone, I will be able to rejoin the living there & participate a bit more fully. :)

I really do enjoy Blip.fm, but I also want to feel free to have options. If I don't want to blip, I don't want to feel pressured to constantly be there & or even sometimes to interact if I don't want to do so. Blipping is an optional activity, and for me, that's what keeps it enjoyable. I also have a real life, which is full of people and ideas and experiences, and I want to be able to live that life without feeling beholden to the virtual, electronic one that beckons me into its seductive web. :) I'm adamant about keeping the virtual world at bay, only because I want to preserve balance between it and the "real world." I don't want either world to disappear, but each has to be held in check, so that both can be adequately enjoyed.

Peace out,
MM

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