Alarm clock beep…beep…beeps us awake. Rolling out of bed, checking social media accounts with one eye closed. Instant validation or disappointment depending on the amount of likes or shares from our post the night before. This generation is ruled by social media and getting validation from number of clicks on either a thumbs up or star icon.

It’s a necessary evil of this world; each one of us plays into its game. Social media, the highlight reel of one’s life. Comparison at its highest magnitude. We dissect one’s Instagram or Facebook photo to determine how she/he got the lighting, background, etc. so perfect to get 1K+ likes as you work to get 25 on one photo.

Yes, the marketer in me believes, pushing yourself to get better at posting and tweeting is not necessarily a bad thing. I believe that a healthy competition to better your business or brand is vital to keep you relevant in the marketplace. The negative flip side is when you start to feel bad about yourself or business due to what others post on social media accounts.

Something to remember is social media only shows people at their best selves. The photo may not detect someone in emotional distress. Well…some great photographers can evoke that emotion from their Instagram posts, but that’s beside the point. As a follower, you may not know the true story of that person’s life. Who knows, they may get executive suites in fancy hotels overlooking the city and still feel alone.

Let’s get real. Do I want more followers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook? Of course! Who wouldn’t? But there’s something I’ve realized recently.

We should not be defined by a number; whether that number is from a scale, test score or social media, but instead from our character. Character will carry us through more in life than any social media account will.

Sure, you may have over 400K followers, but what about the real live people in your life? How many of those do you have? I bet the people with high profile social media accounts do have accountable people in their lives, don’t get me wrong, but for those who are just the “Average Joe’s” of this world it’s important to remember that the real flesh and blood friends are better than any number of Facebook friends.

For those who are out trying to start businesses or launch websites, we all realize that social media is vital to success. The amount of clicks on your website determines your financial success. True, there are tips and tricks to gain more followers, but what it comes down to most is being your self. Not only being yourself, but being your best self.

By being true to who you are as an artist or business owner and being authentic to who you are will gain you more followers in the long run. Yes it’s really hard to wait in this instantaneous world, but true brands take time to build.

Remember, everyone always starts at zero.

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