Following Unfollowing and the Fascinating Psychology of Social Media


by Ryan Biddulph

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I have unfollowed some folks on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook over the past 10 days.

The reaction of some folks fascinates me.

Some people respond to me asking if they made the cut? But the people asking if they made the cut never:

  • @replied me
  • RTed me
  • DMed me

to build a meaningful friendship, to share value with me and to actually make themselves worthy of my follow. Why fear missing out on a follow from me if you never did anything to foster a bond between us? Even worse; why would you need your ego stroked, or, why would you place meaning on a number on a screen over a strong relationship between two human beings?

I completely own how I followed folks online without giving thought to resonance, posture, authority, trust signals and…well….without giving thought to anything. I made a mistake. I am correcting the error by unfollowing everyone but:

  • trusted niche leaders who publish value via their social media
  • dear friends who chatted with me regularly over the years

I have noted how since my unfollowing habit, I have much more time to:

  • engage my followers
  • answer my follower's question
  • share helpful content for my followers

Versus trying to stroke egos, to get people to follow me back or to mass follow people for any reason, I intend to follow 50-100 human beings collectively between:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

because following a few folks lets you:

  • learn from a few folks
  • bond with a few folks
  • dissolve all distractions, noise and mass chaos afflicting most people on social media

The genuinely odd, bizarre reaction seems to be people fearing I will not follow them after we:

  • never became resonant
  • never talked
  • never bonded
  • never much learned from each other
  • never extracted value from social media platforms
  • never showed an interest in each other

I honestly care less if someone follows me or unfollows me because I largely love and accept myself. I do not need someone's seal of approval, stamp or flat out follow because I am happy with myself, I feel fairly whole and complete and 99% of me focuses on helping my followers while 1% of me focuses on following and learning from 50-100 human beings between 3 social networks.

I learned these lessons after a decade online. I continue to learn these lessons to the day. The person I was a decade ago feared being rejected, criticized or being on the outside looking in. Naturally, I followed anyone with a pulse. Now I treat people I follow like mentors. Who could honestly follow 60,000 mentors?

I face, felt and released deep fears over a decade. Now I know; learn from a few, help many and avoid the blanket noise and chaos seemingly crippling less discerning, non-posturing humanity these days, on social media and in life.

I also intend to allow my online life to mirror my offline life. I am clear, focused and a full minimalist by design offline. I better be clear, focused and a full minimalist online to take that same, razor-sharp energy to the cyber world.

About the Author 

Ryan Biddulph

Ryan Biddulph helps you learn how to blog at Blogging From Paradise.

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