Why I left behind one million followers
by Macleod Sawyer (January 4, 2017)
The reasons why I wanted to grow in social media are numerous, I haven’t quite figured out the precise reason why I started this journey, but I have a few theories.
I may have started using social media to get out of my depression and deprivation of social interactions due to my own introverted-ness and the constant bullying and harassment I received in school.
It may have been a need to show the world “who is boss” and who is important through the social currency known as “followers”.
It may have been a sense of success when everyone else was telling me to fail, and it may have been a goal created out of spite.
Whatever it was, I was 13.
I was 13, and I wanted to rule the world from my keyboard.
When I was 14, I started producing music, not good music, but it was a hobby I wanted to turn into a career. I was an electronica producer who needed fans. Who wanted to be signed. Who needed marketing.
I went to Tumblr as my source of marketing. I started a blog called “TheHipsterLifestyle”, it was 2012, and I knew hipsters were big.
Within six months I had 25,000 followers.
My plan was to grow the blog, and then push my absolutely horrendous music to the masses.
It worked. A lot of people heard my music, some didn’t have ear drums and really liked it. I even got signed to a record label.
Once I got signed, I realized I didn’t want to be a producer full time. I wanted to go back to my six year old dreams of being an entrepreneur and turn this into a company either directly, or by using the followers as a way to market a future company.
Over the next few years I grew that following to roughly two hundred thousand followers. All organically. Not a single cent was spent.
When I was 16, I started a company devoted to social analytics. I built algorithms to determine the different ways to increase user engagement and activity through follows, shares, likes, and more for our customers brands.
Three months later – the company was acquired. We had nearly a thousand users.
I kept growing my followings, created dozens of blogs. Most failed. But a good percentage succeeded. Probably around 40%.
If I didn’t believe in the blogs or lost interest in the content, I shut them down. That was what caused most of them to fail and I knew it.
I am 19. I’ve ran more than a few companies in that time, I even dropped out of high school in my 11th year after my company was acquired to focus full time on it.
Over the last five years of growing my social media following across Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram I have amassed somewhere around 875,000 followers.
I am leaving that all behind – atleast momentarily.
I know how to market, and I know how to sell.
Over the last two years I have grown tired of social viral focused marketing. I have grown tired of the effort. That’s why this past year I switched full force into politics and education on my blogs.
I had great success, lots of growth, and earlier this year I even had my work archived in the Library of Congress for “being a influence on society and politics for future research” or something like that.
None of my success would ever have happened if it wasn’t due to 13 year old me wanting to rule the world from my keyboard.
I am eternally grateful to younger me, that guy knew what was up (he really didn’t, but he thought he did – and I will be proud to say the same in the future about current me as well).
But I am tired.
I am tired of constantly seeing so much useless information fill my screen, it hurts.
I have noticed that the more I use Social Media like Tumblr I get more depressed. Now there is a counter argument that I use Social Media more when I am depressed, but I know it’s linked to social media. Don’t argue with me on this.
I am launching a new company, a new initiative, something absolutely life changing in the next few months.
It no longer relies on social media, and it requires nearly all of my attention.
I am leaving nearly all social media so that I can focus. I find myself in my boredom typing “fac” or “tu” into the address bar or mindlessly clicking on the app icons and scrolling before I catch myself.
This needs to stop. I deleted my Tumblr app and I severely limited my twitter following list. Want to know what I noticed? My motivation is back, I am reading 1–2 books a week again, and I am happier.
I want to make this a full-time thing. I want to be happier full-time and I want to be reading and working full-time.
I want to be happy.
The only thing standing in my way is social media, the only thing standing in my way is the constant numbers game that runs through my head.
Everyday I see my social currency of “followers” go up and down, it’s anxiety inducing and I hate it.
There is so much potential in these followers and I realize that — but its not anything I personally want to get into. I am tired of marketing, I am tired of advertising, and I am tired of continually coming up with content that I really don’t care about.
Even the content I do care about (like on my main property), do I really care? Do I really care about the memes? Do I really care about pop culture?
Not really, and it actually hurts anytime I read through it or share it. I don’t know why I’ve kept it going — again its probably the numbers game.
I stopped caring about followers a long time ago, but it still hurts when I see the numbers drop even by one. If my activity is even on par with the day before than I think I am a failure.
If my selfie doesn’t get 200 notes (likes & comments) then I feel bad, and that’s just wrong.
This isn’t what is suppose to happen. I shouldn’t let social currency dictate how I feel or my moods. Only I should dictate my feelings and moods. I don’t need anyone else’s permission or approval.
I just don’t care for social media anymore.
I have a lot of followers, nearly a million, and I have a deep “fan” network of people who honestly look up to me. I understand that, and I am eternally grateful for them.
I know that one of the only real reasons I have kept blogging is for them. For years, its been about them. I care about them a lot, they have helped me so much, and I know that I have been a huge help to them.
This decision wasn’t easy, and it’s been something I have been contemplating for two years.
I’ve wanted to get away from social media for so long, and have only stayed for the fans — or friends — that I have created along the way.
I honestly do love them, but it’s time for me to be me and be happy.
I require the happiness of focusing and working on my own projects to keep me afloat. Life goes on whether I am online or not.
I really do feel bad, I was a mentor to a lot of people, I feel like a failure to them.
This is a needed evil so that I can move on and live the life that I honestly want to live. A lot of people disagree (my parents included) with this choice. I want to refocus on what I care about, I want to have the time to create this company and try to make the world a better place (cliché I know — but its honest).
I’m moving into the hardware industry that requires no social marketing in the way that I have created. My followers are spread out all over the world, and very few are from the area that I am in. My followers are 98% millennials between 13 and 22. They are nowhere close to the demographic for my company.
I want to see this company be a success even if it’s just on a minor scale, and that requires doing everything I can to only do things that will help my direct future with this company.
This wasn’t an easy decision in any way. But it’s time for me to move on with my life, leave the work that I owe my entire career and life to, and become better.
I owe everything to my awesome followers and the social networks that have made me who I am. I love you guys, you guys mean the world to me.
But, for now — this is goodbye to my “social empire”. I am just going to post my internal thoughts to Twitter and Medium, and leave behind the behemoth of social currency and tumblr.
I don’t know where this will take me, but I know its for the best. I will re-evaluate my choice in the next few months. For now, I am putting the accounts on hold.
Thanks for all the fish.