Social Media and the Unfollow Button

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MySpace Who?!

Over the past year, I joined a slew of social media networks: Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and WordPress. I’ve long been a Facebook junkie but was reluctant to spread the love to other sites.  I run the risk of alienating the real people in the room with me when I delve into my screens. But a wise woman (my mama) told me that I should network more, and so I signed up.

Being the new kid on the block has a short learning curve. This is no country for people who don’t know how to use Twitter. I swing from being too bashful to tweet Famous People, to having Elon James White Storify a tweet I wrote, to utterly embarrassing myself by misquoting Destiny’s Child’s “Bug A Boo” to an editor at TheRoot.com. Oh. The Horror.

Ehrmagerd. I blush afresh.

I have a humble 87 followers on Twitter. Whenever a message hits my email inbox, a current runs through my big toe. Yay! You have a new follower on Twitter! Yo, Dara, so-and-so is now following your Tumblr blog; do a Dougie. And I do! (Okay, not really. No one ever taught me how to Dougie).

It struck me the other day, as I pondered my fluctuating number of Twitter followers, that no social media site sends announcements for unfollows (by the way, is this a verb yet?). Are we not supposed to notice? Or am I the only one who feels a teensy ‘whomp whomp’ when my follow count slides closer to zero?  Granted, email notifications for losing followers probably wouldn’t go over well.

You lost two followers today, Dara; just quit already.

So-and-so dropped your Tumblr blog today because you were boring.

You call this tweeting?! Your lost followers didn’t think so, either.

There is no dedicated “unfollow” button, is there? You simply hover over the friendly button that says “Following” and it changes to an angry red “Unfollow.” Following is so impersonal (no intros needed, you just up and add folk to your timeline without so much as an “I like your tweet steelo”), so it makes sense that unfollowing is even more so.

I am a student of workshops; feedback is paramount. I struggle to navigate the impersonal nature of social media, which asks that you engage and be engaging, without the pleasantries required in real life. Sometimes I do wonder why my followers jump off. And since few sites tell you who left the fold, I think about that, too. I don’t go so far as to investigate, because, you know, that would be crazy. I know that social media etiquette dictates announcing an unfollow, especially on Facebook, is a weaksauce move.

But it would be nice if social media was, um, sociable enough to include a button for you to tell people why their Instagram feed got on your nerves (i.e. too many seatbelt selfies). It would help the noobs be less #Twitterdumb!

What makes you unfollow people? Do you care why people unfollow you?

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4 thoughts on “Social Media and the Unfollow Button

  1. I don’t even look at my follower numbers because I know it will just start freaking me out! I did, however, take twittah and instahgram off of my phone yesterday. Post silence Patia feels overwhelmed by all that smartness on her phone! LOL

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