It took me several hours to fix. Four or five at least.
It could have been worse, I now realize. It could have been… irreparable. If there was ever any doubt, there isn’t any longer:
There’s always a cost when you take a shortcut.
* * *
The internet isn’t infinite, although it might as well be.
Where is the ceiling for something on the internet? It’s exists, sure. But it’s so unfathomably high that you could never possibly reach it.
Literally all your grandest dreams for growing your idea, your tribe, or your movement on the internet will pale in comparison to the potential which actually exists.
Once you launch a snowball on the internet, it keeps on rolling, and rolling, and rolling…
And that is a kind of temptation I find particularly hard to resist.
* * *
I’m not a very skilled Tweeter.
Twitter, I suspect, may not be for me.
I just don’t have the attention span for it. That, and there’s way too much talk of Justin Bieber.
Do you know how Twitter works? It’s all about snap-judgments, start to finish.
Read a tweet. Reply. Re-tweet. Click. You can do all of it, some of it, or nothing at all. Whatever you choose, though, the chances are you’ll do in a matter of seconds.
And then you’ll move on to something else.
I feel dizzy just describing it.
* * *
There are times, I think, when good intentions won’t suffice.
Sometimes the ‘how’ matters just as much, or more, than the ‘why’ or the ‘what’.
* * *
If you come across my profile on Twitter, do you know what you’ll do?
Just a few simple things, and even those are guaranteed. It’s the way the thing works— the way it has to work— because Twitter was built for speed.
In short, you’ll make a judgement. A calculation, in fact. It’ll be rash. It’ll be quick. And you may not have any memory of it half an hour after it’s past.
If you’re like most people, your decision will be no more than this:
Is the number of people I am following less than the number of people following me?
If so, you might follow me.
If not, I don’t stand a chance.
* * *
It’s a game of numbers. Like it or not, that’s what it is. And if you don’t have the numbers, you aren’t going to win.
But you know the nice thing about games?
The nice thing about games is that sometimes there are shortcuts.
* * *
I’m of the opinion that tools are neither good nor bad. It’s what you use them for that makes all the difference.
It was two weeks ago yesterday that I found my shortcut, the tool that I would use.
I discovered how to succeed at the one game we were playing but simply could not win.
For the modest price of a typical visit to Starbucks, I could shift the numbers in our favor. Once they were there, I knew, the snowball would roll.
A few days later, we had two thousand followers.
It’s amazing what five dollars can buy.
* * *
The cost of such things is, of course, never just a matter of dollars. There’s also time, and (in this case) shame, and regret.
The shame I felt a week later when Ashley called out in excitement at her discovery of our twenty-fold increase in followers. The regret I felt as I attempted to explain and, upon doing so, realized the lack of conviction in my voice.
The regret continued throughout this past week as I spent my hours manually blocking each and every one of these superficial ‘followers’, until the numbers no longer conveyed a lie.
Now they tell the truth. No, it probably won’t win us any more followers.
But that’s a trade-off I’m now willing to make.
*Photo Credit: Angus Clyne (Creative Commons)