Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. If we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
You’ve launched a blog or finally gotten on Twitter. You’re trying to figure out this whole Internet thing. And now, you’re wondering: How do I get more followers?
The truth is, you already know the answer. But you won’t admit it. Because it has to do with breaking the rules. And this scares you. (Which it should.)
Everybody wants more followers
From social media enthusiasts to politicians to preachers, leaders are looking for more influence.
Maybe you’ve been blogging for years or you’re just getting started, and you’re thinking: “Can I grow this thing? Can I really increase my platform?”
The answer, without trying to sound like an infomercial or Barack Obama’s speech writer, is “Yes, you can!” And you can do it for free. But you probably won’t.
I hate saying that. Because I hope that you’ll do what it takes to grow your audience. Not for the sake of the followers or an inflated ego, but for the sake of doing it. Because it will liberate you from the doldrum of creating mediocre content.
Most of you won’t do it, though. Here’s why:
You have to say something dangerous
That’s how you get more followers. Whether in a blog or a speech or a conversation, just make a statement.
Don’t just say anything. Say something.
Break a rule and see who follows
In other words, be Tyler Durden. Take a risk. Buck the system.
Compare it to the usual reactions to your anesthetized, everyday drivel. I guarantee there will be a difference.
Do yourself a favor and answer the following questions honestly:
- Are you really saying what you want to say, what makes you come alive?
- Or are you saying what you think won’t get you into trouble?
If it’s the second one, run. It’s time to get out. Now.
It’s easy to be boring
Boring is safe. Boring is popular (to other boring people, at least). Boring doesn’t get you fired.
Boring is what scared people choose — nearly every time they’re given a choice. Boring is, quite frankly, the coward’s way.
Boring doesn’t make you come alive. It doesn’t give you purpose (although, it may provide a paycheck). And it doesn’t change the world.
So knock it off, already.
Stop choosing the middle of the road
There are way too many lame messages out there. Way too much crap for you to play it safe. We need you to be dangerous.
Pick a side. Stand for something. Some will love you for it, and others will try to stone you.
You can be remarkable, or you can be mediocre. There is nothing else. (You might want to tweet that.)
You can tickle ears, or upset the status quo. You can infuriate, or earn passive dismissals. One will make you average; the other will make you a hero.
But you have to choose.
Who’s following you… really?
Look around and see who’s following you. Are they, really?
Take a quick mental inventory of how you felt the last time you said something dangerous. Did you feel alive? Were people engaged in what you were saying?
Maybe it’s time you broke a rule. Maybe it’s time you picked a side, said something dangerous.
I’m not saying be contentious, but stop being afraid. And start changing something. You have a voice; use it.
What about you? When was the last time you broke a rule? Share in the comments.
*Photo credit: Adrian Boliston (Creative Commons)