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The Trap of Popularity

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

When you were a kid, were you popular? Were you a "wannabe"? Did you wonder why some kids were "popular" and some weren't?

What makes someone seem popular? These days, we hook into likes and shares on our social media, but they don't portray the real story of how popular or not we might be.

I'll give you an example to illustrate. If you look at my blog posts (of which there are 70, not counting this one), you might be surprised at which are the most read, and which have been read the least. I sure was. They're an eclectic bunch of stories, opinions, syntheses, re-imaginings ... They show my deep love of learning, and my commitment to viewing life from different perspectives.

The top ten, from most-read, are:

Now, I look at that list, and see an interesting mix of reading material. Call me biased, but I'd read all of this stuff again! Some of it is from when I started writing, back in 2018; but some is from last year too. So, what makes these ten posts more likely to be read by you, than the posts I'm listing below; my bottom ten (from least-read to more-read)?

Most on the second list are more recent. That makes me think about the logic of all this. If I started writing when I launched this website in 2018, and many of the posts in the first list are from those early days (when I had fewer subscribers), what makes you go back to those early posts? You see, the only way I can figure out why the older posts have more reads, is if someone has gone back to them.

"Look at Me"

Is it in marketing? I have to go through a few things before I publish a post. They include my SEO (so Google can list the post effectively); categories, so you can look for a particular post from the site; tags, which I don't use, but can help you find similar content (ah, there's another lesson).

"Please, look at me!"

Marketing might be how I present my blog posts in newsletters, or how I encourage you to subscribe and download the mobile app for free, so you can see the posts as soon as they're published. It's easy to get the app - just open this site on your mobile, and the banner will appear - then click on the banner and follow the instructions.

But .. and here's the clincher ... I'm not sure it's in the marketing at all!

I think, and I could be wrong, that you look at the posts that interest you in my monthly newsletter, and then you browse the list that appears on the bottom of the page. Maybe, you open my site in those quiet moments, when you have a cuppa and put your feet up. Shortbread with that cuppa would be nice!

It's not me, or what I do. It's you. And that means that I can't control how all of this works! It's random and chaotic, and just like life: I can't make you like me. I can't force myself into popularity!

And that's the lesson in all of this, about trying to be popular. I can be myself, and do my thing, and put it out there (so to speak), but it's up to you whether or not you want to engage.

Popularity is an illusion.

The likes and shares on social media are great (and they help to get my site and me out there to new people - thanks for liking and sharing!), but at the end of the day, they count for very little. They are not hugs, or constructive feedback that a friend or family member would give. They don't keep me off the dole queue.

The lesson I keep returning to, is that you have to front up. Be there in person (or as COVID allows), and be proactive. You have to be confident that you can take the initiative. It comes back to a valuable lesson that I learned in high school:

If I feel shy, then so does someone else. They will appreciate me being the first to say hello, and be friendly and welcoming towards them.

That's the key to making friends. It's got nothing to do with having the latest gadgets or wearing the trendiest fashion or hair colour. It's about who we are, as human beings.

The alcohols anonymous prayer of serenity
Self-transformation requires self-awareness, and a bit more besides ...

That said, I really don't mind if you like and share my blog posts!! Go for it :-)

and, thanks ...

Feel free to like, comment, and share ...

Please remember, if you like what I have to say, please feel free to purchase books and meditations, and to leave a comment! Two happy reviews on Amazon and other online retailers earn subscribers a 50% discount on their next book (if both are purchased from this website).


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