The 31 Day Challenge, This Whole “Followers” Thing, & The Cool Kids Club

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Alright so I know this is a long title for a blog post. In my defense, each were originally going to be its own topic. Yet upon analyzing them a bit more I discovered that each of these topics were connected.

So I’ve been silently observing this new trend that’s recently sprung up on my Twitter timeline. It’s called 31 Days To Reset Your Life Challenge. To sum it up it’s basically a personal development system created by a very motivating and encouraging  young Black woman. The challenge involves dedicating 31 days to daily self-reflection, development assignments, and goal setting. I totally recommend anyone interested to check it out. It’s a very well-developed system for goal setting. Whether or not the challenge yields results is yet to be seen as it’s still in its early stages. The thing I’ve noticed though is how quickly people flocked to follow this trend. More than several people I follow on Twitter have engaged in this challenge. It got me to thinking about the “bandwagon” mentality that so many people have. Much of our society is made up of followers. Yes ma’ams/sirs that will cosign almost anything that a lot of others are cosigning as well without really considering what it is they are following. Like this 31 Day Challenge for example. As great of an idea it is, it’s most certainly not a new one.  Some jumped on the idea because they liked it and wish to use it to manifest life changes and as they promoted it many others also jumped on it because they saw a lot of other people doing it as well. As I said earlier, the idea is not new. Many of the methods, such as visual goal setting and planning, can be found in almost any self-help book. Hell the daily reflection is simply another word for mindfulness, a meditative practice. My point is that if  one wishes to engage in personal development they should do so because they want to, not because a few followers recommended it. And if they do, they should observe and fully understand what it is they are participating in. Ask themselves if this is really something they should engage in and whether or not it works for them as an individual. Are they better served just picking up a self help book or going to yoga? Or better yet should they think outside the box and tailor the system to their personal preference. The 31 Day Challenge is not my only example. The cartoon profile picture trend and the questions/numbers game on Facebook are other such examples.

This brings me to my next point. Our societies obsession with “followers”. Having followers on your social networking sites and the bandwagon mentality go hand in hand. I’ve always been confused at how closely people monitor how many followers  or friends they have on a social networking site. Unless you are a celebrity, journalist, or professional writer there is no real reason to be so preoccupied with how many people subscribe to your Twitter or Facebook account. I’ve never paid attention to such a detail. I never notice when I lose a follower and I only know when I’ve gained one when I get an e-mailing prompting me to allow permission for them to follow me. I don’t know, but it seems a bit deprived when one’s validation is determined by how many they have, or don’t have. Sometimes a person will only gain followers because a bunch of other “cool people” are following them. For example, I’ve had so many people request to follow me because Dr. Goddess retweeted me. Same thing with my girl Voz. A few @ replies from her and I get a ton of follow requests. As flattering as it is it also disappointments me because my interaction with folks on social networking sites is genuine. I don’t have some ulterior motive for following them. When I follow anyone it’s either because they bring something to my TL, they share a general interest, or because I know them IRL. It’s for those reasons that I don’t follow certain people, like Kanye West or Kim Kardashian. Yeah they are celebrities but nothing they tweet is of any interest to me. So why should I follow them? Because they have a million plus other people following them? No, not interested. When people show an interest in you based off of someone else there is a certain pressure to conform to maintaining an image. When you don’t fit that box then you lose followers. Which cause those obsessed with having a lot of followers to censor who they really are in order to keep up with the cool kids club.

The cool kids club. I’ve never been a part of such a group. This is because I’m not a bandwagon type of person. If I engage in any trend it’s because I personally identify with it, not because others are doing it too. I’ve been that way all my life. There are certainly cool kid clubs all over Twitter. Clicks within followers. It’s always funny to watch how these clicks interact with each other on Twitter, and how exclusive they are to anyone outside the group. I’ve seen plenty of ass kissing and fakeness from others trying to be a part of the cool kids club.  I’m not sure what makes the people within these clicks “cool”. Maybe their followers holding them up to that standard has  established their legitimacy. Sometimes I believe that the fact that these people have a lot of followers makes others by into their hype. Someone checks out the person’s profile, sees they have a thousand plus followers, and then thinks to themselves “So and so has a thousand followers. They must be cool. I should follow them too”. And there you go. If you get the cosign (i.e retweet or @ mention) by a member of the cool kids club then your legitimacy is established. You are validated.

A very interesting lesson on social interaction.

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