14 Times It's Absolutely OK (If Not Necessary) To Unfollow Someone On Social Media
Social media hooked its pixelated, mental health-deteriorating claws in us long ago. We know it's straight up bad for us. There's hope — we can quit social media. But will we? Probably not...at least for a while. As we take a moment to swallow that almost too-real reality with a nice lukewarm cup of coffee, let us take solace in the soft, loyal glow of our smartphones. Feel better? Not yet? Well, while we continue to live life in this crazed new world, we can work on making our own little spheres more tolerable.
One of the great things about the Internet — and there are a lot of them sprinkled in the sea of unsavory ones — is that we have to opportunity to essentially curate the wall of voices we build around us. You don't usually get such a luxury away from the screen. There are obvious people you could/should nix from the digital digest — exes, racists, sexists, hateful people. But that doesn't nearly satisfy the necessary purge. Remember, reassessing who you allow in your social media circle is a lot like that Godfather phrase. It's not personal, it's the Internet. And you're horrible. I think that's how it goes. Anyway, let's do this:
They retweet or post content from super popular accounts/sources...daily
We all like The Onion. We all follow Andrew W.K. You're bringing nothing new to the discussion when you verbatim repost such omnipresent sentiments without adding your own commentary.
They are very effing high-brow and want you to know that
They only support lofty efforts like Graywolf Press and the Sunshine Ltd. label and — what? You don't know what those are? No one does. Nobody. OK, some people, but most of those people are indulging in being a snobby jerk by bringing it up often in the public realm of the Internet. (Unrelated: These are the dudes I always date, so maybe it's time for some hard self-reflection.)
They have edgy opinions and nothing to back them up
This is the best example of someone shouting, "I EXIST!" into a bottomless canyon. They thrive on feedback (to which they will never thoughtfully respond) because hey — hate comments are still comments! Watching the livid repercussions populate a post is painful. This person is probably frowning, wrapped in a blanket sitting in a 70 degree apartment right at this very moment.
They very much support call-out culture
OK, first — call-out culture is often needed and super important. But when someone consistently makes a show of outrage stemming from someone else's work or actions...I always wonder why they don't channel that energy into doing something better or striving to remedy what's been wronged? Or like, post a YouTube to a Beach House video or something else vanilla to even out the animosity?
They are forever fundraising something
Here and there this happens. We may choose to run a 5K to benefit cerebral palsy research and need to hit a goal. That's fine, but not when that 5K turns into a weekly event. I only have so many pockets to empty, y'all.
They are mayor of Bummer City
Life certainly has its sucky moments, but it's our decision how we deal with them and move on to a better place. However, this person thrives off negativity. They are a constant whine fest re: how unfair their life is, how of course something went catastrophically wrong, yadda yadda. It's an energy suck you don't owe allocating to someone.
They have a new, ultra-hot/adorable/perfect romantic accomplice...and want to make sure you know
Can you believe my new partner giggles in their sleep? How cute is that? Also, I am casually mentioning sleeping next to this bohemian god(dess) who also kicks ass at picking up any Latin-based language, distilling their own bourbon, and looking effortlessly beautiful. Did you miss that? Shall I repeat? I'mma let you finish — just kidding. Goodbye, I cannot handle one more photo of this muse person in a cool hat.
They are documenting their child's every slight movement
I actually really don't mind baby photos and with many of my friends' kids — I love the crap out of them. But. Too much is too much and no love is so great I need or want to see a small child perched on a smaller toilet mugging for a photo they will regret all too soon.
They completely shift content focus
I wrote about only music, just music, music all the time — for years. That's how I got started with Twitter. As I wash out from the waves of guitar noise synonyms and get sucked into more women-focused cultural content, my follower count is obviously affected. Record labels, publicists, and other folks that started following me for my feed's musical focus have unfollowed me accordingly — since they are more into shoegaze than the benefits of menstrual cups. I get it, I get it. If you initially follow someone on Instagram because they bake beautiful loaves of bread and you're a carbivore, you have no obligation to continue following them when they move on from baking to, say, documenting their yoga challenge.
They only post about their Whole 30 challenge
Again, cool. Goals! Positivity! Growth! It's good for them, but if it's not why you followed them in the first place, you gotta unfollow or risk drowning in your own tears of boredom.
They don't understand how the focus button works
Hey man, I love live music, too. The experience has a fun energy about it and sometimes you make cool new friends. But like — photography in the dark can be tricky, especially if you're five foot three and typically confined to the back by the bar (hi). If you try a few times to snap something remotely recognizable and fail, a simple text-only tweet or post should suffice. We get it, you were there. Congrats.
They throw a metric ton of events...in a city where you no longer live
This is a cool hobby and goal and all, but — FOMO does happen sometimes. A bunch of random music people added me on Facebook when I lived in New York, which was fine, because then I felt more plugged in, should I ever crave live music on any given night. But ... I moved from that freezing trash town awhile ago. And I never met these people IRL. There's no reason to keep up the charade.
They are their own hypemachine
Frankly, this is likely the biggest culprit why people mute me on Twitter. Almost anytime I snag a byline, I'll alert the social media universe. That might have even been how you found this post. (Hi! Please don't unfollow me.) This person also has a tendency to retweet any praise someone doles out in their direction (I have yet to develop this tic, thankfully...although if you wanna publicly praise me, I might consider making an exception).
They stopped using their account months ago
You know what? We don't get these impressive and totally valuable following to follower ratios by accident. We're horrible people — and we're OK with that. You've moved on and are probably better than us for that. Although we're likely to still take you up on that IRL lunch invitation, don't mind us while we...*unfollow*.
What would it take for *you* to unfollow someone on social media? We discuss unfollow horror stories & more on the latest episode of Bustle's The Chat Room. Listen here:
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