I'm an Influencer. What Now?
I have been a member of Twitter since 2009. I will be completely honest and say for the first, oh, I don't know, 5 years or so, I was mostly the type of Twitter user who posted things like "I'm home" and "Here's my dinner".
Very exciting stuff, let me tell you.
But even then, I had high aspirations. As anyone can attest who was around in those early days of social media, it was a common dream to have a large following of people who waited with bated breaths for your next amazing post. I don't really know how I was expecting to get that type of following with the type of inane content I was posting, but I still had those dreams. And it wasn't just Twitter. I used every social platform at the time in pretty much the same way. (The only exception, kinda, being Facebook, where I had been since 2004. At the time, that was still more about family connections than anything else).
Obviously, fame and social standing never happened for me on my @mtwb twitter account. (still inordinately proud of having a four letter handle). The most followers I ever achieved was around 1,000, and that was only because I joined up with a political follow-back thing that encouraged all of their memebers to follow each other back. I eventually stopped the political thing and unfollowed everyone I had followed, which, of course, led to my follower count going way down.
Even now, no my main, personal account on Twitter, I have only around 900 followers, the vast majority of whom are probably bots. Every once in a while I'll get a post that gets 10 or 12 likes, but that is pretty rare. I do have a few people on that account that I interact with, but mostly I use it for following my fanfiction peeps and a few friends from school.
In 2017, I created The Linux Cast. Ricky, on of my online friends, and I decided to create the Linux podcast so we could nerd out together about Linux. We carried on for almost a year or so. I created @thelinuxcast then. I think I had about 20 followers for the entire first two years of the pod.
After those two years, the Linux pod laid dormant. Ricky and I got busy with other things, and while I still used Linux full time, Ricky will always been an Apple fanboy. In 2020, when I went to Anchor (where I host both of my podcasts), I noticed that people were actually listening to those old episodes of The Linux Cast. That spurred me to start back up.
The success of the YouTube channel has been phenomenal. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't shake my head at the success that I've had. I mean, I'm not DT or Chris Titus, but 20k is a ton of people. 20,000 people have subscribed to my channel. Just thinking about it makes me a bit dizzy, tbh.
The thing that came with that YouTube success, however, is the thing that back in 2009, I wanted the most: Twitter fame. Okay, maybe not fame, but I now have 1500 followers on Twitter (not even a ton more than I've had on my main account for years), but the difference is that I have true interaction on @thelinuxcast more than I ever did on my personal account. People like and retweet and reply on my Tweets a ton. Just this morning I woke up and had over 100 mentions, some of them from actual, big time Linux YouTubers, as they were discussing a Tweet I made about AppImages.
It feels so odd, whether it is on Twitter or YouTube or on Discord, for people to actually care what I have to say. I'm just a nerd from the mid-west, playing on his computer all damn day. That 'fame' I wanted in 2009, now that it's here ish, seems so odd. If anyone called me an influencer, I'd probably cuss them out, but this must be a tiny bit what those actual people with influence feel like every day, just on a far grander scale. I can't imagine having 100,000 followers on Twitter. Or a million. That'd be crazy and I have no clue how I'd handle that. As is, it feels surreal, I can't imagine what more would feel like.
I find that the bigger I get on social media, the more I strive to not care how big I get on social media. No longer do I want internet fame. Don't get me wrong, I love that people subscribe to my channel, and I want them to continue doing so, but I no longer just want to be popular for popularity's sake. I want to be known for a good reason. I want people to follow or subscribe because I helped them or they find my stuff interesting. Just getting a ton of subscribers/followers for the sake of being influential, just kind of makes me sick and ashamed of my younger self who very much wanted that. Now, as I gain followers for a good reason, I think that's a much better way to go about it.
And to go back to the not caring bit, I also find that it's a mental health thing too. Even when I first started off with YouTubing (not a word), I was obsessed with getting more and more subs. Now, I still check my subscriber count a few times a day (mostly I just see it passing by as I go towards the content view of YouTube studio), but I no longer have to check it 10 times an hour to see if I got one more subscriber. It's made the whole thing a lot more fun for me. I can make my videos and tweet my tweets, without doing it for what seem like the wrong reasons. And as I continue to do that, I think my videos will keep getting better.
Anyways, those are some brief thoughts on my Social Media journey. I hope everyone has a great week. If you're reading this on the website, you can get early access to posts like this and the occasional video by supporting me on Patreon.