Being a social creature, human beings are drawn to each other for relationships and companionship. We instinctively associate those who are lonely with being ‘undesirable’ in some way, and in turn give more ratings to those who are more popular in society.
It follows then that from an early age we are encouraged to make friends. I think I even remember that in the early years of education, your ability to make friends was actually an indicator of how well you were doing in school.
But how important is all this “friends” business anyway, I mean, it’s all a bit of a façade isn’t it?
The ability to acquire friends is a very useful and indicative skill to have, in its most basic form. It shows you have the ability to manipulate social environments and situations, and coexist harmoniously with others. Having friends also generally means that you’re likeable, and that you have values, opinions and thoughts that aren’t too alienating, but instead are shared and accepted by others. Friendship, then, is a good thing.
Well, in the most part.
The type of friends that brought me to my keyboard is fake friends. Yeahhhhh, we all know what kinds of friends I’m talking about here, so I’m not going to go in to too much explanatory detail.
Having yourself surrounded by friends like these is arguably more toxic than having no friends at all. Yeah it’s all laughs and smiles on the face of it, but really they may not share your views, like who you are, or support the things you do. It is this last point where I’d like to elaborate.
A lot has been made of late on whether your friends are obligated to promote your material if you produce content. For example, retweet if you have a podcast out, purchase a ticket for the event you’re putting on, share a blog post etc.
Telling people to “LIKE, COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE” consistently is a bit long
It’s a difficult topic to touch on as everyone’s version of a friend is different, and what ties friendship groups together varies from group to group.
One friend’s version of support may be different from the next, and it would be inconsiderate to place more value on one type of expression of support than another. For example, one of your friends may like and share your material, whilst another friend privately messages you with feedback on it and suggests points for improvement. Both supported, but in their own way.
Whatever the form though, YOUR FRIENDS SHOULD SUPPORT WHAT YOU’RE DOING.
I’ve never felt obligated to tell my friends to “like, comment and subscribe” to my blog, or any of my other stuff. I share the link out, and leave it at that. For me, a read is enough, and any additional comments are always a bonus.
But what many producers of content will find is that – especially in the early days when you arguably need it the most – getting your peers to even have a look at what you’ve done or are doing can be like asking your mum for £20 to go to the cinema a week after getting £20 to go bowling: A VERY DIFFICULT ASK.
From the friend’s perspective, I guess it’s a lot like being passed the house phone to speak to an oversees relative that you don’t know or remember. It’s something that you know you should probably do, but given any opportunity, you’ll duck out of it.
This can be very frustrating, especially if said friends willingly support the work of others they don’t know as well as you. Disentangling the reasons behind your friends’ apparent non-support is also a difficult thing to get your head around. “Do they just not like my content?” and “are they just not really my friends?” are two different questions, but can easily be mixed in with one another mistakenly.
Ideally, you wouldn’t have to chase your friends for support; they’d like, share and provide feedback off their own back. But this is a very utopian ideal at best; people generally need to be coerced in to doing the most simplistic of things, like clicking a link.
This makes “blowing” (the event of “making it” or becoming exponentially popular) more difficult because, as everyone knows, people like to jump on to things that are already popping. Take instagram for example. If a post already has 2,149 likes, you’ll feel less inhibition when liking that post as opposed to if it had only 8 likes. So if you’re then asking the creator to have to ask for each of those 8 likes, you can see how it can be a struggle to gather any momentum.
To wrap up then, support your boys, support your girls, and help them achieve their goals in the same way that you would want your friends to back to you on a venture. I mean, if they’re planning world domination by destructive means, maybe have a sit down with them and explain that maybe you can’t back them on that occasion, but make a few tweaks and you’ll be deya!