Validation and Shouting Into The Void

I’m having a particularly lonely weekend.

It’s my own fault, in many ways. I’m not going to get into that – it’s not the point, and (probably) not your business.

But it’s why I want to talk about follower counts, likes, favorites, and pageviews.

It’s become a bit trendy in some circles to disavow things like … well, all of the above. Which is a perfectly reasonable reaction to “influencers” and clickbait and all the popularity-chasing bullshit that has overtaken social media and the internet in general. Your follower count (or pageviews, or likes, or whatever) has no direct correlation with either your value as a person or the value of the content you’ve created. I am all too well aware that those metrics of “success” are not only fickle, but more a function of luck and coincidence than any objective measure of quality.

After all, my consistently most popular post on this blog can be boiled down to “hey, you can make Hamburger Helper better by adding stuff to it.” (Also, try substituting ground chorizo for your hamburger in either those meal kits or spaghetti. I mean, YUM.)

So yeah, your value isn’t determined by your pageviews, your likes, your subscribes, or how many people have clicked that stupid bell (yes, I’m looking at you, YouTubers). For example, I learned about pipx from a video with less than 600 views, and that information made my life so much simpler. (If you are used to using a virtual environment for python packages, do yourself a favor and look at pipx!)

But, back to my lonely weekend.

I posted a quick toot on Mastodon about screwing up a program configuration… and got a reply from someone who follows me on there.

And I realized exactly how much that meant.

I wasn’t just shouting into the void.

I wasn’t just talking to myself.

It was an interaction.

Whether it’s a like, a fav, or reply, there was something to say “Hey, you’re not alone.”

And it really made a difference to how I feel today.

So as everyone is doing all their “thankful” things for the back half of this month, I’ve got a challenge for you (and myself).

Interact positively with someone creating things online each day, to the extent that you’re able. Maybe that’s a like, or clicking a star. Maybe that’s a subscribe. Maybe that’s a comment saying “thanks!” on their blog or Patreon page. Whatever’s appropriate.

Just let them know that their work is appreciated somehow.

That someone sees them.

That they’re not alone.

PS: This is not a way to guilt you into liking or replying to this blog. I mean, feel free, but that’s not my point. If you want to be nice to me, that’s great, but be nice to other people as well.

Featured Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

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