When I first got involved in an internet community, it was FictionPress. Before that, I didn’t really have any netfriends and I spent a lot more time outside. I saw a great deal of users there who deserved to be called users rather than members, as they indulged in an activity that the rest of us called “review-farming”. Members were the people who were merely seeking an audience, in that they reviewed stories they liked and sometimes asked for a review in return. These were not farmers. The farmers were the ones who had clearly skimmed (or did not read at all), wrote an inane or incoherent line or two, followed by gushing requests for reviews. They never seemed to have any talent for writing.
It may just be me, but I have the sneaking suspicion that the more someone screams and displays their starvation for attention in this manner, the less likely it is that they have anything worth paying attention to. Certainly not a personality.
Everyone wants attention, and the internet offers it without promising it. The internet also deifies attention. Comments, views, clicks, hits, referrals, likes, replies, mentions, ratings.
People who go to absurd lengths to achieve internet attention are often referred to by the lovely affectation, “whore”.
After I’ve seen how these attention whores have evolved since my first forays into this land of mini-marketing, I’m more disgusted than I ever was by any given teeny-bopper‘s attempt to farm reviews from me and my circle of friends. And the suspicion that I have been a victim of an attention-seeker always haunts me whenever any attention is paid to me on the internet.
Every like on my posts without any comment, silent follower on Twitter, blog followers who are not bots. It can’t be just me, can it? Who else has opened their email and seen a follow notification, looked up the follower and realised with a sinking feeling that it’s another unknown writer who just wanted to get a referral in the hopes that it would lead to someone return-following or otherwise becoming an attention-giver or a customer (in the case of those who are trying to sell books and have no idea how to market).
Maybe I’m being unfair, but it’s such a nasty feeling to be the victim of a bot, spammer, or attention-seeker. Try the member approach. Try actually caring instead of farming attention. We’re all human beings. Mutual feeling is much more valuable than one or two hits to your blog.
P.S. This is not directed at anyone in particular. I can’t possibly know anyone who has done it, after all.