Hi Kathryn. I do follow others. Every day some (the max is 100 per day, yes).
I understand your idea that it’s not ethical. But what I do is, in my view.
What I do:
I read many stories a day anyway. And often I read stories about topics that touch mine. If I come across such a story, I open the claps and start to follow the people with green around their picture.
These are members (so they like Medium) and they like a story that has a similar topic to mine. So my reasoning is that I point them towards something they might like (my stories).
It’s their own choice if they check me out or not and start following. Every day some do. But many others don’t.
And I don’t delete them afterward. I keep following them as well.
They say that after about 2,000 followers the algorithms will find you more easily, so it’s not necessary anymore. So after I reach that amount, I will have a look at what I’ll do. Maybe I’ll clean up my following list then. I’ll see. Until then I follow them all (you’ll see in my profile I have 1.5K followers and 5.7K following at the moment).
I hope my answer helps you in your decisions about what you want to do for yourself. I understand your struggle with the ethical side of promotion and I struggle often too…
But I don’t agree that it’s only vanity. They do belong in my tribe if they choose to start following me… and I do want to inspire them.
However, I do agree with Rasheed Hooda that interacting with your followers remains most important. It’s not only about starting a tribe. It’s also about maintaining the inspiration and support for longer.
Warm regards, Desiree.