The best way to get engagement is to make strong, polarising, even outrageous statements.
You’ll get more likes. More views. More haters too, but then that counts as engagement cos you can respond to them and then more people see it and that’s the point, isn’t it? More people, more comments, more visibility?
Maybe. Maybe for some.
I was thinking about it this weekend and I’m not sure I want to be so polarising.
Energy has always been precious to me (including physical, emotional, mental energy) - for many years I had very little, and I slowly began to see the impact of choosing what gives me energy and letting go of things which took too much energy away. Things or people or places or books or whatever. Like having an energy budget, the same way you’d have a financial budget. “Going to that party is going to cost me too much, and I need to save some for this other event I really want to attend.” or “Taking that phone call will deplete my energy to a point I’m not ready for, so I’ll choose not to answer right now.”
And when it comes to polarising statements or positions, you have to have the physical, emotional, and mental energy to handle the disagreement. The other points of view. The discussions, the “yea but what about…” statements, the “no you’re wrong and here’s why”.
Some people find that sort of thing energising and motivating.
Some people have a higher level of energy to deal with it.
Some people don’t want to, at all, but are driven by a burning motivation which is deeper. (Like someone calling out abuse, which isn’t pleasant, but what they’re doing will protect others and literally save lives. They’re taking a hit to their own energy to protect that of others.)
Whenever I’m writing, I tend to be very aware of those who are reading it and what they might be thinking. This can be a good quality (think of your audience); and it can also prevent me from making too-drastic statements. If I’m about to say “choosing an exclusive industry niche is the fastest and most efficient way to high profits quickly”, I start thinking of those who don’t want or need an exclusive industry niche, or tried it and it didn’t work for them, or got results but it took longer…and I find myself adapting to fit the “what ifs” of my polarising statement.
I used to think this was a negative thing. Like I had to learn to grow a hard shell and stop worrying about what others think and just SAY WHAT I NEED TO SAY.
But I’ve also been thinking about being the best and the most true of who I actually am, and I’m not really about saying “here’s what I think and who cares what you think”. I’m not really about polarising statements, and being right no matter what, and arguments between the two poles. I do a whole lot better when I share a perspective I'm thinking of, and someone else says “well what about this” and I say “oh that’s different, share more”, and they do and I do and we both learn something.
I have all the respect in the world for those who make polarising statements. Things like, Amazon is a greedy capitalist system and everyone needs to use something else. Global warming is a thing and anyone who thinks differently is fooling themselves. Coffee is the only early morning drink and anything else is a cheap imitation.
Those are all polarising statements. None of them reflect my opinion entirely - even the coffee one, which up to a few months ago I would have agreed with, and then I got covid and didn’t actually want coffee for a few weeks and now I’m like oh, hm, here’s what life is like without having to have that early morning caffeine hit and it’s new and different. (I’m still hoping I’ll want coffee again one day, because I miss the pattern and the routine and the happy morning feeling. But I’ve got a less polarising view right now.)
If you want or need or like to make polarising statements, go for it. You will send people to the opposite poles and most likely get lots of engagement and comments and connection and notoriety. And maybe for you that's what's most comfortable, most you, most real.
I too am getting a lot more comfortable with who I am:
The right way is the long way.
Curiosity means holding an open mind.
Everyone is creative but not everyone realises it.
These are views I hold which could be stated to polarise, if I turned it round. “Taking the shortcut is shortsighted and will cost you in the long run.” “Telling people what is right doesn’t work.” “Stop saying you’re not creative.”
But those feel more harsh, more negative, more drastic. The polarising version can be about being right, and being known to be right by checking the score of how many agree. Or about being proud of yourself for standing up for what you believe is important.
The approach I’m taking - and realising is the one I’ve always been more comfortable taking - is more about sharing what I’m learning, and listening to replies and comments (and agreements and disagreements and differing perspectives).
It’s less about being right, and more about being heard.
Both sides being heard. Then if someone changes their mind (me or the other person), it’s because we’ve considered it and we see it from a different perspective.
It’s slower. It’s gentler. It definitely takes longer. It’s more my style.
What’s yours? Got any polarising views you’d like to share?