Is popular the same as good?

Is popular possible?

Is popular profitable?

Is popular your goal?

There are tens of thousands of humans spending their days trying to be popular on Instagram, buying outfits, wearing hats and seeking their version of cute. People from all backgrounds and genders, hoping to be the next Kardashian.

Facebook is filled with anonymous bots seeking to be popular.

The highest-paid YouTuber this year was an 8-year old kid.

And Twitter is the center of the politi-sphere, with each self-made pundit seeking to outdo the others.

Billions of hours spent by millions, mostly for free, to enrich a few social media platforms.

The lessons of the high school lunch table run deep.

Part of the scam is that the pyramid scheme of attention will somehow pay off for a lot of people. It won’t. It can’t. The math doesn’t hold up. Someone is going to win a lottery, but it probably won’t be us.

And a bigger part is that the things you need to do to be popular (the only metric the platforms share) aren’t the things you’d be doing if you were trying to be effective, or grounded, or proud of the work you’re doing.

When there’s a single metric (likes/followers), we end up looking in the rear-view mirror when we should be driving instead.

Maximizing the benefits for the social media platform you’re on are different than maximizing the benefits for you and those you are leading.

By Seth Godin.

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