Wheaton’s Law Has Consequences

An email from a familiar name illustrated a perfect example of why you should be kind to people in your content space, or failing that, at least be quiet. We’ll also discuss why a sky-high number of followers on social media isn’t exactly what you should be chasing.


On Wheaton’s Law

  • Wherever you are, someone is below your level. It’s usually easy to help or encourage people. It’s even easier to say nothing, if you prefer.
  • Keep your attitude under control. Give people the benefit of the doubt when something rubs you the wrong way. If you decide to address something, go in assuming the best. Leave ample opportunities for a situation to have a positive outcome.
  • Everyone has the power to help or hurt you, and they will often decide which based on how you treat them. Listeners, readers, and players almost directly control my business. RTs control my growth. Word of mouth can keep someone from giving me a chance. You will go through the same thing. Be good to people because it’s the right thing to do, but also recognize each altercation as a business deal going bad.
  • When you make snarky comments to people, you’re probably going to forget—they’re probably not. Unprofessional interactions will hurt your career in ways you’ll never even find out about. Karma is a more practical concept than you think.
  • When you think about putting negativity out there, you should assume—as a rule—that this will directly cause something bad that happens later or prevent something good from happening.

On meaningful social media presence

  • If you’ve built a BS audience, you haven’t built an audience. BSing your way to a blue check mark or tens of thousands of followers means very little if you and your followers have nothing to offer one another.
  • There are a lot of really nice, good people on social media with huge followings, but rarely is that the reason they have a huge following.
  • The person from this story was obsessed with increasing his follows. He discussed little else. Many of his followers are just trying to reproduce what he did. When he tweets about something meaningful he’s trying to do, the interactions are super underwhelming
  • Look at Gary Vaynerchuk. He built up his audience by hitting up Twitter search every day, looking at his focus areas, and having meaningful interactions with absolutely anyone who would talk to him. This is an accelerated version of natural, meaningful growth that would normally happen over 5-10 years.
  • Algorithms love real people and real value.

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