Popularity Is Addictive

The secret to popularity is making people feel good around you.

The simplest way to make people feel good around you is telling people what they want to hear.

You can do this unintentionally. You might see a positive news story about the field and share it. This gets more likes than your analytical piece so you share more positive news stories and less new insights.

Then you stumble upon a simpler shortcut. You notice praise gets a good response. You can tell people how great they are, how awesome they’re going to be, and they are the future of your field. Cue applause.

The danger is now your filter for what you bring into the community is what you guess others want to hear instead of what they need to hear.

Watch out for it. If you find yourself only sharing positive news and debating the naysayers you might be an inadvertent popularity chaser.

There is value in feeling good about ourselves, but it’s fleeting value. The real value of a community comes from identifying and overcoming our sector’s biggest challenges together. This is what leaves a sustainable legacy and creates real value for everyone.


  1. Dean Samways says:

    This is a very meaningful observation.

    I make no apologies for borrowing the BBC’s long-standing remit of ‘informing, educating and entertaining’, meaning my community and social media content strategies always look to do these three things (I also throw in one part direct marketing - advertising the brand or product more explicitly - and one part something I call community engagement - sharing the successes and challenges the community has enjoyed and overcome, or other items raised by the members).

    Positive news stories sit under ‘information’ here, but of course it is always vitally important to balance these pieces wth more thought-provoking items or by asking the community to find a solution to an industry problem.

    In doing this, the community is motivated to tackle the items the challenges and problems because they have seen the value in their efforts from reading the praise-giving pieces.

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