You’re right, although I’ve been treating social media as a game-with-a-purpose.
I’m a big believer in boosting esteem. Sadness and emptiness can hit any human and for some it’s a level of clinical depression, but it’s a range and I think for most, there undercurrent of a void is always running underfoot, like an undertow in the ocean.
So when I join a social media thing, I gamify it, but not looking for random followers but I focus on a particular subset of humans and similars. I know how these systems work and enough human psychology to make it work most of the time.
I focus on eager content producers with very low-followings. They live for the numbers or think they do. There’s a fragile desperation in their work, an eagerness to please with a metric of followers/subscribers/likes as a tangible, scientific measure of self-worth.
Each like or can keep someone like that from an abyss.
So, I put myself in a position of looking “like I’m a somebody”. I follow many and get many followers in return and start gathering more followers without trying through this basic psychological thing. They don’t always know WHY I’m somebody, but i MUST be somebody for having such high numbers.
So, it’s clout.
With this clout, I make it a point to put the occasional like or on their creations, and always respond in some way to comments on my meager contributions,
I don’t do this on Facebook as they spoiled my process but I’ve done it and do it in many other places.
What I do amounts to an “attaboy!” and from me it’s authentic. I also cast a very wide net to give this individual “light touch” esteem to as many as I can, each unique and not a number but the numbers are high.
I sour the milk if it starts to get personal or “too deep”: a kind aloofness saves all from entanglement.
So, that’s my story.