In the process of researching and reviewing Twitter unfollower tracking tools, I discovered that being unfollowed arouses a good deal of passion, reflection, and conflict. I’m sure the issue would make a fascinating psychological study.
To a sensitive soul, a Twitter unfollow can be a devastating blow.
As Jamie Hahn writes, “Getting unfollowed on Twitter hurts. Even after almost a year in the Twitterverse, I still feel the sharp sting of rejection each time my follower count drops.”
Similarly, Jeannie Moon writes, “It is like middle school with all the cliques and royalty and the unexplained dumpings. I like to think I’m past it, but I do wonder what I did wrong when I’m unfollowed. Still insecure after all these years.”
As Girl on the Contrary notes, “There is something so inherently hostile about unfriending or unfollowing someone that people tend to react extremely.”
Some see the reaction to being unfollowed as a new form of hypersensitivity ushered in by social media. Stacey Nerdin in “How I Feel about Being
Unfriended or Unfollowed," writes:
“Unfriended. Unfollowed. Unsubscribed. Do these words strike sadness, insecurity, or offense in your heart? My feeling: THEY SHOULDN’T. I think social media has really skewed our ideas of friendships, relationships, and our feelings of self worth.”
Also contemplating what she sees as uncomfortable new complexities brought on by social media, Girl on the Contrary describes her love/hate relationship with social media and laments, “I long for a simpler time when it was easy to stop being someone’s friend. You just ignored their calls and texts. Done. It was swell. But now, on top of ignoring their calls and texts, you have to unfollow or defriend them."
Some people simply shrug off being unfollowed. Says Glen, “I do not take it personally if someone chooses to not follow or like me on social media platforms.”
Similarly, says John Bolyard, “If someone unfollows me it just means they are looking for information not related to my tweets. Nothing personal.”
Very adult and reasonable attitudes. (Are they in denial?)
Others are not so sanguine, however, and for those who see being unfollowed as an affront, how to deal with unfollowers is a charged issue. Eye-for-an-eye retaliation often is deemed an appropriate response.
Among those who see it this way is Loralee Choate, who writes, “I have a policy…if you don’t follow me, I don’t follow you. Plain and simple.”
Scary Mommy Jill Smokler in her Twitter etiquette guide also takes a hard-line, tit-for-tat view on unfollowers: “Have you ever been followed by someone only to follow them back to be unfollowed? How rude is that? Two can play that game, so consider yourself dumped.”
Moving beyond feelings of inadequacy, shame, and retribution is another common theme. Under the guise of coming out of the unfollowed closet, Liz Strauss explores her feelings and ultimately looks to transcend them, writing that:
"I don’t ‘get’ all the reasons people have for why they follow and unfollow folks. I suspect that some are as irrational as the reasons we buy things, sell things, and marry the people we do. Contrary to urban legend I don’t know anyone who’s died of ‘unfollow embarrassment.’ ”
A very mature perspective.
How about you? Been unfollowed? (Does a woodchuck chuck wood?) How do you feel about it?
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