After grappling with something this week I recognised that it is time to be proud of my uniqueness. I browse around countless other sites on-line, blogs, websites, You Tube channels, Facebook pages etc etc.. and I sit and wonder: "Why do they have so many followers? What do they do that I do not?" And so it began, a thought process.
Mike helped me understand some of it this morning. He said when he was teaching (he taught maths and physics for 15 years at an all-boys' school) he remembers two groups of boys' names : the boys who were labelled 'naughty' and the boys that were labelled 'smart and good'. All of the boys in between blurred into one big fog. Now while the 'good' boys and 'bad' boys were remembered, it is the fog that most people teach to. In other words to gain 'followers' one has to be:
c) Offer something the masses want and need and
d) Comfortably sit in a place that is easy and fits in with what niche or group it is.
I realise, well I have realised for a long time, my writing does not fit in with the norm. And I am not speaking of the norm in terms of mass consciousness, but also in terms of 'new age' teachings or spiritual material. I am often bluntly honest, incredibly raw and open about what is going on inside my inner world. For many this could feel uncomfortable and to some, my ways of seeing the world are too far out and challenging.
It's okay. I am coming to adapt to standing on my own because I can be no-one other than myself.
I did consider and researched "What can I do to bring in more followers?". The usual rules applied.
- See what people want.
- Give people what they need and ask for.
- Be upbeat and positive.
And most of the time it appeared to be about selling and marketing oneself.
Last night I watched a documentary on the group 'Pearl Jam'. One of my favourite groups as a teenager and what interested me about them is that they did not sell out to the commercialism of the music industry. They even took on the ticket seller Ticket-Master. They could have done things the way they have always been done in the music industry (e.g. followed what the music contract says to do, upped prices, made live events the same every time, the list of music they play on tour to be in order) but they didn't. They followed what was right for them. And in doing so they kept who they were intact. Their music is still fresh; they are always changing and someone said on the documentary how Pearl Jam are the most predictably unpredictable.
I often take a look at my You Tube channel and look at other people's channels. They have a lot of followers and they use the American style of selling the sizzle not the steak. All 'Va va va voom!' and loud, fast voices, championing you to feel what they feel. And while occasionally I feel that way, that level of energy for me personally cannot be sustained for long and I imagine it cannot be sustained by many.
I write what I feel, not what I feel will make people feel good or what the majority of people want to read. Which may seem crazy to any marketing guru. Maybe in the future I will feel inspired to expand in that way but now it feels totally alien to me.
Some marketing bloggers recommend going to lots and lots of blogs each week and keep commenting on the blogs and how this is the best way of getting followers and people to comment on your blog. This may be the case, but in all honesty, I cannot trawl the Internet to find blogs I love just to get people to come to my blog. If I come across a blog I like it's often by 'accident' or interest. Not for any particular purpose.
I used to participate a great deal on forums on-line. Huge forums. It was when I really felt the need to belong and to understand what was awakening in me, spiritually speaking. They were mainly forums about angels, guides, healing etc etc.. It was wonderful while it lasted but I always had thoughts that opposed even those groups, so I left eventually. Those forums would be great avenues to 'get' followers right now, but I just have not got it in me to do this.
So what I am trying to say here is that this is my affirmation of uniqueness. That to challenge, to be authentic, to be honest, to be transparent and to express rawness takes courage and the willingness to step away from the crowd. It is not always easy but there is nothing else I can do except be who I am.
I used to love the sizzle. It boosted me for some time (an example is following the Abraham Hicks' teachings). But before long I felt something amiss and began to question the sizzle. I am glad I did.
Are you more interested in the sizzle or the steak?
How important is authenticity to you?
Ethically speaking if you see someone on a video or at a conference boosting everyone with the sizzle, are you able to step back and assess the substance behind the sizzle?
I look forward to your responses.