The simple answer is YES. However, if I just gave the simple answer then we would have nothing to read, and no knowledge of why I would say something like that. So bear with me, as I expound.
Let start with followers. Those are people who follow your Twitter posts. But are they really following? Not really. Basically, you are just a number to 99.99% of them. Even if you follow specific people, who you know will like what you post, like I used to do, it does not matter. How do I know that they don’t really pay attention? Well, that can be easily deduced from the amount of favorites, comments, and lastly visits to links in your posts.
On average most Tweets get less than 10 interactions. When you consider that is from 19k followers, the point really hits home. However, we can say that at least 5500 of those followers are completely inactive. They are not even on Twitter anymore or they simple are not active enough, to count as being there. Still taking that into account, so little feedback from 13.5k active followers is still dismal.
As for fans, I refer to Music fans from various sites, mainly Reverbnation, Bandcamp and of course, Soundcloud. For these places, the numbers are even worse. In fact, they are so bad I won’t even state them. I will just say all these sites allow people to fan, friend, follow, and then Unfan, Unfriend, and Unfollow without you knowing, and you cannot check this without checking each individual person. That just creates a dynamic for people to do so and they do a lot of it.
As for friends, I of course refer to Facebook and Goodreads. Both of these sites promote unfriending with stealth. Even Twitter allows you to mute someone, which is pretty much the same thing.
Add in the subs now, who get every single post to one of my blogs and almost never read any of them. The visits and comments speak this louder than I can. Just go look at my posts, on any of my blogs, and you will see how few have comments.
But how does all this fit in the big picture and demonstrate my assertion that they are just an illusion?
It is really not so complicated. If your posts to these individual sites goes with little or no notice, then they are not really a follower, fan, friend, or sub. The numbers don’t lie.
Now why would readers not read or music lovers not listen to music or photo fans not look at photos? The answer I cannot say for certain, for nobody knows what goes on in some else’s mind. However, that does not mean we can’t make an educated guess. Either all these people are complete liars or they only followed, fanned, friended, or subbed, hoping you would do the same. Thus you are nothing more than a number.
Sadly, there is nothing any one person can do to correct what seems to be a global societal disfunction. What is scariest part of this though, is that this behavior speaks volumes on the human condition. When did caring about others disappear? When did people just become numbers to each other? At what point, will hunamity learn to become what we claim to want? Evolved.
I don’t like those questions and most definitely would not like to know any of the answers. If this is the future of our species, count me out. I would rather keep my illusions to where the belong. In fiction and not reality.
But one cannot deny the horrific feelings this inspires. For our lack of empathy and our objectifying of others, clearly shows that humanity as a species, is doomed. If we cannot take the small step of seeing others as human beings, instead of numbers, then how are we supposed to unify and conquer all the problems we now face? I think everyone knows that answer to that question.