I gained a couple of new followers today (Hi guys!) so I thought I’d commit to electrons something that’s been going round in my head for a while.
Firstly, the word itself. Followers. I mean, you have to admit it sounds kind of creepy and stalkerish. I have twenty followers… should I call the police? Get the locks changed? Keep all the curtains closed? I have this vision of walking down the street with this bunch of people diving from bush to post-box behind me.
Maybe there should be a nicer word?
Fans? No, far too conceited-sounding. And besides, I don’t know that any of you actually like what I write. You might be following me out of a kind of morbid curiosity, like watching someone chewing with their mouth open. Totally disgusting, but you just can’t look away.
Friends? Still no, since I’m sure you’re all wonderful people but I don’t actually know you. Besides, friendship is a two way thing, and ‘following’ isn’t, necessarily.
Maybe we’re best off with ‘followers’, and we’ll just have to cope with the creepy stalkerish image.
But really, I mostly wanted to say thank you – assuming you aren’t just following me out of the above-mentioned morbid curiosity – for giving me your attention. A person’s attention is a precious thing; after all, we only have so much of it to go around, and if you’re reading my stuff then you’re not reading… I don’t know… Dostoyevsky, or Kant. Or playing the violin, or figure-skating. Or doing any of the millions of other things you could be doing, if you weren’t listening to me.
Followers spur me on; knowing you’re out there reading my words gives me the incentive to write more (and for anyone who is following out of morbid curiosity, it serves you right – the more you watch, the more I blog; just like the open-mouth-chewer doing it on purpose because they know you’re watching). The reverse is also true – how bad would it be to put parts of myself out on the internet for everyone to see, only to find that nobody cared? Soul-destroying.
So, thanks, guys. I appreciate your attention, and I will do what I can to deserve it.