Death by a thousand likes

What happens when all you care about is how much other people care?

Ever since I started trying to Destroy My Audience on Twitter I've been coming up against more and more people who really don't—or won't—understand what I'm trying to say. That's all good. That's expected. As a sidenote: I'm willing to bet that the reason most subversive genius thinkers go mad is because they're sick of being misunderstood.

You can't be saying things that people don't understand and expect universal acclaim.

I'm in the place of my online journey where I truly don't care what you or anyone else thinks about anything I write. I've reached audience-building retirement: I'm just lazing around in the garden in the afternoon drinking a cup of tea and saying whatever I think. And seriously...retirement is amazing.

But it got me thinking about something today.

What does the opposite of me feel like?

What happens when all you care about is how much other people care?

Let's dig in, as the wannabe cool kids on the internet say.


You wake up. You open up Twitter. You go straight to your followers.

The number is down.

You lost a few followers last night (you write your followers down on a piece of paper every night). It puts you in little bit of a mood.

You scroll back through yesterday's tweets. Not many likes, some real bad tweets there.

It puts in a little bit more of a mood.

Things were not meant to be like this. You followed all the 'growth guides'. You wrote the threads, you engaged for the requisite number of times per day. You fed the algorithm. You still do. You feed it every day with more and more nonsense.

You grew 34,000 followers. You have an objectively large following on Twitter, but it just doesn't feel right.

You feel trapped. Stuck in the loop of having to create daily content to keep feeding the likes so that the likes continue to feed your fragile ego.

You hate the majority of the people who comments on your work but you have to be nice to them because if you're not...you'll lose followers.

You don't create content for you. You can't remember the last time you made something that wasn't designed to go viral.

You make content because you hope it'll be liked by others so that they'll share it and invite others along.

You were told that you become free once you build an audience on Twitter. You were told it was easy.

Things feel harder than ever, the pressure greater than ever.

There was never a pressure when you didn't care about how well the things you create was going to do, and you made better work because of it.

Once more people started watching, well...

It was never the same again.


Well. That's how I imagine it feels anyway. I'll never get there. I haven't got the patience for the bullshit to ever find out. I'm retreating every day into broadcast mode: I create things I want to create than I share them with people. For me, that's true creative nirvana.

For me, it comes down to a simple question I ask myself regularly:

Do you want to become known for creating a large Twitter following, or do you want to become known for your creative work?

I know which I'd choose.