For the past few weeks I have been unfollowing people on social media. It's satisfying to clear out space in my life, but each time I press unfollow I feel a tinge of guilt...
Pressing unfollow feels synonymous with telling someone that your relationship with them is over for good. An unfollow is a blow to the ego. We lose a single follower and sit there dramatically wondering, WHAT WAS THE FINAL STRAW????
Like it or not, social media is heavily integrated into our routines. We wake up, reach for our phones, check our snapchats, instagram, twitter, and so on... which is whyyyyy it's time to cut the fat. Spring cleaning for your internet life, ya feel me?
Before we begin the process of unfollowing we need to take a serious inventory. This starts by asking ourselves WHY we follow the people we follow. Is it because we met them at a party once and exchanged info? Is it because we went to high school with them four years ago? Is it because they live in our bubble and we might run into them in public somewhere, and don't want it to be awkward? The list goes on...
Here's the thing, time is our most precious currency. If we are spending any amount of time on social media at all, doesn't it make sense to be picky about the people we choose to follow? The people we place in our lives should be people we genuinely care about. This is the first time in history where we have even had the option to stay in the loop intimately with people we hardly know anymore.... and for some reason, we feel morally obligated not to unfollow them.
We need to turn our thinking around. We need to start making an effort to clear out the randoms, or the people whos post bring us down. It's not fair to follow people that we compare ourselves to in a negative capacity. It's not fair to follow people that cause us to think ugly thoughts each time we see them on our feed. It's not fair to follow people we don't ACTUALLY give a crap about anymore.
Social media has caused a gray area in our lives, and it's time that we change that. We should make rules for ourselves about the people we allow ourselves to follow. Ask questions: does this person inspire me or bring me down? do I care enough about the events of this persons life to receive constant updates? am I only following this person because I don't want to be rude? ect. ect.
The only people that we need in our social media lives are the people that we send memes to on a regular basis. If someone unfollows us and they aren't one of those people, we shouldn't waste valuable energy sweating it.
I'm writing this because I want it to be okay to start unfollowing people, and that starts with opening the door to this discussion. We need to change the negative connotation associated with the unfollow. An unfollow doesn't necessarily mean that you never want to see that person again, it probably just means that you're being more thoughtful about the relationships that play an active role in your life.
As I unfollow, I start to feel more satisfied scrolling through my feed. I get an honest enjoyment out of the people that I follow. Some of them are strangers, but they are strangers who inspire me. My goal is to eventually only follow people who I am inspired by or in touch with. That sounds selfish, but it's not meant to be. Like I said before, time is our most precious currency. It is our job to be wise with it. It's a waste to spend time mindlessly scrolling through a million posts of people from our past.
Unfollowing people and taking a serious inventory about who adds to the social media aspect of our lives is definitely not an easy task. It forces honesty about where we stand relationally with a very long list of names, but it's worth it.
We're all first timers at this. We're still learning how to deal with the incredible influence that social media has on our world. It's natural to evolve. I'm hoping that as our evolution continues we will lose the negativity associated with the loss of an internet friend. It's okay to be unfollowed and it's okay to unfollow. Remember who your real life friends are and keep those people close. Thank them for existing and adding color to your tangible everyday life experience.