Social Media Circle Jerk: How You're Perpetuating A Stupid Habit Of This Generation


The impact of social media on business, brand and personal promotion cannot be understated.

Forbes recently published an article, which cited that smaller businesses have amassed more buzz with virally-generated content than with million-dollar ad campaigns.

Creating a web presence that is effective at communicating your commercial or individual goals to the masses can skyrocket your professional goals beyond the web and into something that, quite literally, you can take to the bank.

Well-established businesses, bloggers and entertainment personalities accumulate hundreds of thousands of followers due to their innate popularity. But, how do you build this type of presence when you are, essentially, an Internet nobody?

I contend that all you need to do to accomplish this is regularly release content that is engaging, high-quality and of value to some niche group of viewers.

However, though this is invaluable for maintaining a valid web presence, what often works best in building the audience in the first place is something far less professional, but not at all less strategic. It is something I like to refer to as “The Social Media Circle Jerk.”

“What is that?” you may ask. Well, I guarantee that if you have ever wanted to get a ton of new Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest followers, you have participated in this semi-necessary, totally ridiculous practice.

The Social Media Circle Jerk happens when you mindlessly like everything on your news feed or under a particular hashtag or profile in an attempt to get people to like or follow you back.

It’s not as obvious, aggressive, spammy or openly pathetic as commenting, “Hey, check out my page and let’s follow each other!”

However, it can be much more effective. It is personally embarrassing to admit that I am guilty of this excessive practice, but don’t act like I am the only one who does it.

I realized it when I was lying on the couch, binge-watching Netflix with my ex-boyfriend. I went through other bloggers' profiles, liking all the photos and occasionally commenting things like “cute,” “Oh my god!” and “J” for emphasis. “Are you even looking at those photos?” he queried.

I hadn’t really thought about it before. Sure, I was looking at them, but I couldn’t remember who posted what, and the actual content of the photo had become almost inconsequential to me. “I mean, basically,” I responded.

“You realize this is like a giant circle jerk,” he quipped. Embarrassed, I refused to admit it. But upon further reflection, I couldn't specify what distinguished me from a spam email.

Sure, I felt like my content was worth viewing, but the way I went about it did feel a little obnoxious. It was simply a marketing tool at that point; a way to connect with people in my industry in hopes that they would look at what I was posting, as well.

For small companies, publications, emerging artists, bloggers, writers and musicians, there simply is not a more effective way to get other people to look at your content.

It is a little sad that the best way to get exposure involves actively spamming other people.

And though I try not to think of it this way when I am doing it, when I receive a ton of likes from a specific profile, I recognize it as such.

I retweet you; you favorite me; we comment on each other, and suddenly, you’re involved in a giant Internet orgy of spam, commenting for followers and you didn’t even realize it!

Though this in no way compromises the quality of your actual content, I question whether or not it confronts the integrity of its creator. This is not a question I aim to answer because I don’t intend to leave the “Circle.”

However, I do think it says a great deal about Internet culture in modern society. In heavily saturated industries, where people are trying to scrape their ways up the ladder, your ability to spend hours virally commenting on other users’ content should not be the measure of your success.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It