The Power Of Unfollowing

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Geri Hirsch
While devouring The New York Times on Sunday I read this article about unfollowing and felt empowered by one simple reminder, “Unfollowing is the best. I think that social media is so pervasive in our everyday life that it can be easy to forget that it is entirely optional. You can get into a cycle of being irritated and not remember that you don’t have to participate.”

While I totally agree and would love to be entirely liberated by this idea prompting an unfollowing rampage, I’m guilty of following people that I don’t necessarily enjoy following simply because I feel bad about unfollowing them if they follow me back. Will it hurt their feelings? Is it mean? Is it possible to like someone in real life but also dislike their social media? Is it unhealthy to follow people that are irritating? Would I feel bad if they unfollowed me? It’s a tricky game this social media and it isn’t one that I always enjoy playing.

So, I ask you, to follow or unfollow? I would love to hear YOUR thoughts.

I’m wearing: Eddie Bauer customized jacket, Eddie Bauer leggings, Celine sunglasses & Nike Flyknit Racer’s

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27 comments

  1. I do unfollow. Most of the time, I feel like they don’t notice. If they do, I would let them know that I’m using the social platform for specific reasons, but that my normal mode of catching up would be a more personal interaction. (Out of state friends and I email each other, those closer in distance I prefer to meet up with.)

    Once, someone did get mad at me for it. I didn’t react. They got over it. 🙂 I suppose if they hadn’t, that would have been a sign for me to move on regardless.

  2. I mostly just do instagram, but only follow people who’s photos I actually like and want to see. If I don’t like it, I don’t feel bad about unfollowing!

    1. If someone follows me, based on my work and I in turn, appreciate what they do, I will follow back. If I am not particularly interested in what they are doing/showing then I do not follow back – that simple.

      What I do not appreciate is that game where people follow you, to just unfollow you moments/days later. It is quite sad and many bloggers are doing it.

      Is it so hard to try get your followers up without playing this ridiculous game? I may not have 10,000 followers but I will not fall into this, just to get my numbers up.

      The title should be more on the ‘power of following’, not unfollowing. If you are doing it right, you are only following what you really like anyway and sharing those things that you and your following will appreciate. At least that’s how I see it so excuse the rant but it is something that has been bugging the hell out of me!

  3. Oh. My. Gosh. Unfollowing has been the BEST thing I’ve ever done for myself. I use Facebook and Instagram multiple times a day – and I remember when it was all about how many friends you have – especially when I was younger. Now that I’m a little older, quality is WAY more important to me than quantity.

    At first I was really scared to unfollow people because of your same fears, will they be mad at me? Will they say something to me about it and I’ll hurt their feelings, etc… at the end of the day, I’m choosing what I’m exposing myself to and what I allow in my life and I just had to do the right thing for me.

    It’s almost to a point where when I unfollow someone I feel empowered because I’m making the decision to better myself vs. trying to please others.

    I’m all for it! 🙂 I do feel bad when people re-request me – or when new friends request me, I usually add them for a bit and “feel them out” before I decide whether they stay or go.

  4. I think the idea that you can like someone in real life but dislike them on social media is really important, and something I hadn’t thought about enough at all before now. I think not having real life acquaintances on social media is probably a good idea – it forces you to actually interact with them in ‘real life’ and means you don’t awkwardly know everything about them from a cheeky social media stalk

    Steph – http://www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

  5. I’ve been clearing out my Facebook feed recently — not so much friends, but I’ve been unfollowing the massive number of pages I liked back in high school! I’m drowning in ads and clickbait on my feed. It’s time to move on!

  6. I used to follow everyone who followed me. I’m not even sure why but I have all my social media accounts linked so I always get the notifications in Instagram that my friend on Facebook signed up and or followed me and I would follow them. Then one day not long ago I realized that there was so much I was seeing that I didn’t like and I went through everyone I was following and didn’t clean it up completely but did get rid of some I had no interest in and the people I actually know that had never even posted anything. I would rather see the things I’m interested. I’ll delete people on Facebook if it disturbs me, but I really like the unfollow feature that allows me to still be their friend without seeing their posts. I post quite a bit so even though it’s not disturbing material I wouldn’t be surprised if people have unfollowed me just because they don’t have the same interests. And I’m okay with that.

  7. It’s a fine line, but ultimately it’s our choice. I know we talked about this when someone you considered a friend unfollowed you. I don’t really follow my friends I choose to follow people like you (my virtual friends) who inspire me! Facebook is more for friends and family in my eyes and it honeslty got so irritating with the whining and political retoric I don’t use it much. Keep it light, content driven and inspiring which is why I love IG and now even more snap for the authenticity. Oh and btw follow me..just kidding Xo ?

  8. I don’t think its necessary to follow everyone who follows you. It’s completely up to you who you choose to follow or not follow. I even keep my some of my social media pages private to control who follows me. I don’t need everyone’s opinion about what I post. As a matter a fact this is inspiring me to do a social media cleanse.

  9. Thank you for reminding me of a simple truth:

    “I don’t have to participate.”

    While your comment was directed at social media, that mantra can be applied to all of the garbage in life that comes our way. We don’t have to engage in the drama, the conflict, the angst, of any of it.

    Have a WONDERFUL weekend!

  10. Unfollow….really meeting with friends face to face is amazing….I wouldn’t want to miss the real time….

  11. I unfollowed my siblings and got no comment whatsoever. Lately I have been unfollowing for many reasons. I am in control of who I follow:)

  12. I feel the same way. On occasion I have hidden the feed from people that post every minute on Facebook but I am usually quite careful about who I allow as friends on Facebook. If I get a blog that gets boring I don’t unfollow I send it to junk mail. That’s what I’ve done so far, thanks for this post.

  13. Sometimes I take it personally when someone unfollows me 🙂 But it is just a game and not a real life and it is trough that it means, we should meet more in real life 🙂

  14. two weeks ago or so, I unfollowed lots of people on Youtube, facebook, instagram & twitter and decleaturing my e-mail, this has been the best thing i could ever done. I have so much more time to do what I want or what I have to.
    It was really fustrating to spend all days on social media and not enjoying my life anymore, because it was not quick as videos and not luxurious as images. I try now to spend more time with my family and less on my computer (exept for work ;))

  15. As with a lot of things, I find that as I get older some of my likes and dislikes change and mature. Some actually start to get younger (music for example) so I am trying to reflect that in what I follow and have been unfollowing some things I used to like but no longer do. Don’t worry about unfollowing, they probably won’t notice anyway.

  16. I unfollow people if I don’t find value in what they post. I sometimes follow people for a reason and I think that I will see more of what I followed them for in the first place. When I don’t see more of what originally got my attention and I don’t enjoy their posts, I unfollow. I even have family members who follow me, I love them dearly but I don’t agree with their lifestyle, so I either just unfollow them or never reciprocate by following just because they follow me. I think of it this way: I never signed a contract or made a promise to never ‘leave’. I am very particular about what I look at and indulge in and my spirit, eyes and mind are not a garbage can for others to litter.

  17. I haven’t done it with friends, but at the beginning of the year I went on an unfollow rampage for my business and unsubscribed to all coaching/self-help blogs except a handful, and I wasn’t going to follow anyone knew for a whole year. It felt good (and my inbox is getting easier to manage). The few I’ve broken that rule on have reminded me why I did this.

  18. I unfollow people all the time. I work for a school and as the social media manager naturally i am “friends” with many if not all of the students. I love seeing whats going on with my students but there are so many that its hard to keep up with my friends and family. I unfollow all the time so I don’t miss out on the things I really want to see. There is no feeling bad about it, it is what it is. 🙂

  19. I have unfollowed realllly good friends on facebook on insta because their content was either too politically charged or their insta pics were dark and annoyingly out of focus ( we don’t need to photogs or curators but a little tap of your phone to brighten things up would be great). I still love them dearly and will interact with them in real life (the best way!) or on other platforms.

    I also found I went on a snapchat spree where I added a bunch of people. I’m going to start unfollowing a few soon. While I like them on insta I just don’t relate to them as well on their snaps. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

    As I try to gain new followers I hope that people will do the same for me. I want lifelong followers and not just people who are doing a follow for follow.

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