28 September 2010

Social media is personal

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Every few months I try to clean up my Twitter profile because, well, it can be overwhelming.

Updates never stop (like the mail) and hitting reload on Twitter after being away from your phone for even 10 minutes is scary.

That is the joy and curse of non-stop information.

Anyhow, a few weeks ago, I saw on Twitter that someone’s feelings were hurt when she found out she was unfollowed by an online friend. While the original person did apologize to her, that didn’t resolve the issue and caused some follow up tweets about how upset she was, etc.

I know being unfollowed can hurt and no matter what he/she says to reassure you, you take it personally (even if you’re not vocal about it.)

People (myself included at times) take social media very personally, especially when it comes to being unfollowed or unfriended. And after thinking about it more, I get why they do because social media IS personal. You tweet and Facebook and link to things that you like and care about. Blogs, especially personal ones, are an extension of you, where you are more honest on screen than you may be in person. So hearing that someone unfollowed or unfriended you does feel a little like rejection.

I’ve even wondered “what could I have done differently to keep them?” or “why don’t they like me?” It’s like being teleported back to high school, full of crippling anxiety and nerves.

I’ll be fair, it isn’t like this for everyone, but the Twitter incident I mentioned got me thinking.

How can you be you but also be “dead inside” to the way blog comment, Facebook requests and Twitter followers fluctuate?

The only answer I can come up with is to write and be you and those who are really worth your time and find you interesting will stay loyal to you.

So that’s my mentality now. I appreciate and love reading every single comment I get, and still feel bad at times when I can’t read everyone’s blog, or follow everyone that follows me on Twitter. But I do the best I can.

Yes, even with this tough attitude, seeing people unfollow me or seeing low comments on a blog post I put my heart and soul in does hurt at times, but in the end, I keep plugging along and hope that even though people don’t comment, they’re out there still reading and enjoying.

Do you take things personally online? How do you respond when you see followers, comments, etc. go up and down?


  1. Kyla Roma says:

    These things are all so tricky- I think that in the case of twitter, unfollowing can be more about someone making their user experience more manageable. Until this week I was following almost 900 people, and it was at the point where I couldn’t find out what was happening with the people I actually talk to without going way out of my way. So I went down to 300. And while I was doing it, I knew I was probably going to be hurting feelings, and it really sucks.

    I think the main thing about social media is that it’s a conversation. If someone stops commenting on your blog, shooting them a “How are you! How is that thing we talked about going?” e-mail will short circut that. @replying to someone who has unfollowed you (in a friendly, conversational way) will probably have them re-follow you. Making hurt comments to and about them will probably just freak them out.

    I think that the best thing to do – especially if you’re someone who is sensitive to followers & comments (who isn’t) is to get rid of any plugins that tell you when people are unfollowing you, and to stop monitoring your stats closely. Checking your blog stats once a week will tell you the same information as checking once a day will, and it frees you up to have more conversations, be more personal and make new friends.

    That’s what I’ve been trying to do at least, and I feel like it’s a much more fun place to focus my energies :)

  2. Couldn’t care less if someone unfriends me on Facebook – I really only use it for keeping up with my family. A lot of social media types copy their status updates from Twitter to Facebook anyway so it’s easier to read everything on Twitter and ignore it on Facebook. I do check for unfollowers on Twitter though and I don’t like it when people unfollow me, but I figure they have their reasons and it doesn’t bother me enough to take it up with them. I think i might say something if I know them quite well though.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t think I’m quite active enough on Facebook or Twitter to really notice when someone unfollows or defriends, so it doesn’t hit me too hard there. It can be disconcerting to have no one respond to a blog post I’ve worked harder on only to have more people really engage with the more superficial ones. I suppose it all really is so very personal.

  4. Allison says:

    If I find myself not following someone, I normally assume Twitter is being ridiculous and unfollowed them by accident. I think it happens, right?

  5. Kate says:

    I’m not so much hurt by a low number of blog comments or people unfollowing me on Twitter. I have been hurt in the past by people who have friended me on FB, only to then unfriend me sometime later. There’s also one particularly nasty blog comment I received a little over a year ago — which I left posted — that I can’t seem to forget. What I try to remember is, people are much bolder behind a computer than they often are in person. They say or do things that can be hurtful. That’s life and there’s not much I can do about it. I also try to remember that before the Internet (because I was alive before the Internet!), I had plenty of family and friends who loved (and continue to love) me. I need to take a poor online relationship with a grain of salt and not let it bother me so much.

  6. Nora says:

    Love this post, Jess.
    It is super personal, you are right.
    I noticed I’ve lost a few followers recently and I’m not sure how/why that happened. I suppose that as long as I didn’t do anything to offend/upset them directly I’m ok with it, if that makes sense? But if I upset them somehow and didn’t know about it? Well, that makes me sad.

    There are some posts where I do get bummed if I get a low comment count too; I try to just take in it stride, remind myself that it’s a hobby and nothing more, and that I’ve made the friends I have so far by being myself and that’s all I can do. At least that’s what I tell myself, anyway… ;-)

  7. I am always curious about who is following me. like i know i have 49 followers from google reader and i’m dying to know who most of them are! And I know I go in ebbs & flows of commenting and getting really active with blogging so I know it can be hard. But I blog for me in the end and I try to remember that.

  8. Heidi Renée says:

    A few months ago I had a regular reader disappear from my comments even though she was still posting several comments per entry on other blogs we both follow. At first I kept wondering what I could have done or said to offend her, but I eventually got over it.

    I try to keep up my blog friendships, but if someone doesn’t want to be mutual about it, I’ve learned to just let them go. If someone doesn’t want to spend the time on me, I don’t need to spend it on them.

  9. I found Twitter too much work and only did it for a week.

  10. I try not to take things personally but I agree this is all Personal (w/ a capital p!), so it’s tough to not feel a certain way sometimes.

    Hope you’re enjoying your week!

  11. So because I’m crazy, I occasionally check my ex’s facebook page to see how many friends we have in common. The number has dropped from 88 when we were still together to 85 now, and I go crazy trying to figure out who those three people are. The sad thing is, they’re probably my friends who dropped him so I need to just let it go.

  12. steph anne says:

    It hurts sometimes when someone deletes me from Twitter or Facebook but I learn to quickly get over it and move on. Sometimes it’s someone I was thinking about deleting myself but never got around to it and they made it easier for me.

    I take Facebook more seriously though….and it doesn’t help that I have a plugin where it’ll tell me every time someone deletes me.

  13. San says:

    I’ve never had a big “following” to begin with, so it’s not all about numbers for me and if someone follows 1000 people on Twitter, I can see the urge to trim down the list at some point.

    Still, my feelings do get hurt when somebody unfollows me, especially because I can’t reply to their tweets anymore since my tweets are private.
    I try to be very selective in picking out who to follow and if we have some kind of online relationship, I think it’s just “fair” to follow back. It just seems like you’re cutting off communication otherwise and blowing me off.

  14. Lil' Woman says:

    I get a little bummed when I’m unfriended but then I do the same thing to others so I try not to dwell on it too much.

    My motto: It is what it is :)

  15. First- I can’t believe anyone would be so upset by being unfollowed that they would go ahead and tweet about it. Time to grow a thicker skin and realize that you (not you, just, a royal you) may not be for everyone. I don’t care one way or another. Thought I do hate mean blog comments. That’s someone going out of their way to be mean. Yuck.

  16. Through personal experience, I have learned that social media is a personal thing … as you’ve suggested. And we have to understand that each person defines and uses social media differently. So, just because someone takes action that you or I deem hurtful, doesn’t mean it was intended with that consequence.

  17. I find that my feelings do get a bit hurt if I find out that someone I follow and/or occasionally converse with on Twitter has stopped following me. But, I try not to take it too personally because everyone needs to reduce “the noise” in their own kind of way, and if that means unfollowing me, then so be it.

  18. jen says:

    for awhile i took not getting comments on my blog personally but i stopped caring because so many of my friends chat with me about my posts in person which is much more fun anyway :) plus i’m really writing for me to create a log of my memories and life rather than stir up conversation but that’s just me :)

  19. RondaMarie says:

    I tend to be more offended when someone unfollows me on Twitter than when someone doesn’t read my blog. Reading a blog is more of a commitment and it’s hard to keep up, so I get that. Typically if I see that I’ve been unfollowed on Twitter, I unfollow that person as well. I suppose that’s petty and immature, but I do it anyway. I’m pretty selective about who I follow to begin with, so I don’t normally feel a need to go through and unfollow people from time to time.

    A suggestion, if you want to avoid offending people, make a list of your favorites and just check that list when you get behind. That way you will see the important stuff and don’t have to weed through all the others.

  20. Melinda says:

    It is a double edge sword situation. Unfollowing/Unfriending can hurt anyone’s feelings, but sometimes you just have to do it for one reason or other. I am considering unfollowing a certain person myself because all they write theses days are complaints and their negativity is really bringing me down. It isn’t that I don’t like the person, I just don’t know how many more downers I can read. There just isn’t a good way to deal with stuff like this.

  21. andhari says:

    I do. I do take things personally online. Like you said, it’s me and I pour a lot of my thoughs there, seeing people unfollow me or defriend me somehow just shows that they don’t think I’m worth of their time. I know I shouldn’t take it to heart but it’s just hard sometimes :D

    ps. sorry for not commenting a lot these days, my work sucks :p

  22. S. says:

    I have been trying to reconcile my feelings about this subject. In the last year or so I have been defriended on fb by acquaintances. I’m not sure why either. In the two recent cases we have several mutual “friends.”. I just figure they dont want to be apart of my social network anymore. I kind of Wang to msg them and say hey – why did you do that? I don’t play any of those annoying games. Alas there are other ways to get ahold of them. I have to remember – it’s just facebook.

  23. I find the more people I follow on Twitter the less I check it (especially at night) because it gets overwhelming.

    Tweetdeck does help with the overwhelming-ness of it though!

  24. eemusings says:

    I just don’t keep track of them too closely. I don’t even have google analytics (don’t think free WordPress allows it) so I just check the internal stats.

    Personally, I keep my twitter follow list lean (although I do use lists) so I don’t really mind if people follow or unfollow. Most new followers come and go, but the bloggers I communicate with, well, I guess we have a bit of a circle going.

  25. well honestly, I don’t think people should blog just to get comments. That’s really ridiculous and I think that makes bloggers who do that, a bit shallow. Like they need validation or something. Yes, they’re nice, but it shouldn’t be why you write.

    I do kinda take the unfollowing from twitter/facebook a bit tough though. 1- I don’t tweet anything most others wouldn’t tweet about and don’t even tweet all that often. 2- Facebook, well that kinda sucks because generally you know people on there. Unless, of course, you’re one of those people who have 1000 friends.

  26. Kez says:

    I have a semi anonymous persona on twitter and my blog so I do not take anything too personally should followers fade away.
    I would probably be offended if a facebook friend deleted me – if they were a person I talk to often. Otherwise, I might think – well we never spoke anyway, that’s cool. I probably should have defriended them already!!
    I think this is because for me facebook is personal. It’s the people I know in real life and have some sort of attachment to. I rarely add people who I wouldn’t have a conversation with if I saw them in the street. So it would hurt to be jilted by them with no explanation or sign that there was a problem.

  27. Stevie says:

    I think anyone who says they don’t care one bit if someone unfollows/defriends them is lying. The reason social media exists to begin with is to make connections with others, and when one of those connections is broken, it hurts. It’s not the end of the world, of course, but it still does hurt even if it’s just for a bit.

    I like what Amy said, though, about it not being a good fit. That’s a great way to approach it!

  28. I used to get really hurt and upset when people would unfollow me or unfriend me. And while I admit that if it’s someone I know well, talk with often or feel a kinship with, than it hurts my feelings. But otherwise, I just assume that we weren’t a good fit or they’re paring down. I recently resolved to not worry about it any more and just let it be.

  29. Grace says:

    This could not have come at a better time. I don’t monitor twitter followers but lately I’ve noticed a decrease in comments on twitter and my blog. My relationship with a blogger has also changed and I can’t help but feel like the two are connected. Just today I announced to myself that I have been black listed in the blogging world. Which is ridiculous ( but ohmygod if I’m right please tell me). Anyway I keep reminding myself that not everyone has to like me and just because I enjoy someones blog does not mean they have to like mine. We don’t all have to be friends. We can still respect each other but sometimes we just don’t have enough in common to be good friends. *sigh* I hope I’m not blacklisted. Thank you for starting this dialogue.

  30. lbluca77 says:

    I noticed a few months back someone had unfollowed me, someone I had talked to on a somewhat consistent basis via many different social medias. It did hurt my feelings at first and I questioned why (to myself only) but then I let it go. I let it go because the thing about social media is we aren’t just our blogs, we aren’t just what we put on our twitter or facebook. What I put out there online is only a small part of who I am and maybe some people might not like that small part or find that small part annoying. I still occasionally @ the person that unfollowed me and they @ back. Its fine with me.

    I’ve unfollowed people for many different reasons. One person I unfollowed was because all their tweets were about politics and they tweeted what felt like 100 times a day. Personally, I’m not one that enjoys politics, especially in high doses. It isn’t that I don’t think this person is a great person, (I’ve never met them) and I am sure politics are not their entire life but on twitter they just got to be too much for me. I don’t know if this person knows I unfollowed them or not, they do @ me sometimes and I @ back.

  31. Erin says:

    I keep plugging along and hope that even though people don’t comment, they’re out there still reading and enjoying.

    I think we have more lurkers than we know. I recently discovered that quite a few people from my running group read my blog but never comment. Instead they mention it when they see me in person. On one hand, that’s awesome. On the other hand, it’s kind of creepy.

    Similarly, I think it hurts worse when someone you’ve met in real life in addition to your online life drops you from their radar. I had that happen to me lately. I just try to focus on all the people who DO want me in their life instead of the few that don’t.

  32. phampants says:

    URL is IRL. There’s no gray line anymore

  33. mandy says:

    You are exactly right. It is personal and feelings do get hurt, even when thats not the intention. I know for myself, I do go through and purge lists on occasion. Its not anything personal I just can’t keep up with everyone all the time.

    Your advice is spot on — just keep plugging away, being yourself, and I think more people are out there reading than you think.