F is for Followers.

Social Media gives you an over-inflated sense of your own importance. It’s for the best that you just accept that the majority of your followers on Twitter only started following you out of politeness. Deal with it, they’re duty follows. The rest of them followed you in the hope that you’d follow them back. One or two of them might genuinely find you interesting, but at the back of their minds they’re also hoping that one day you might either introduce them to your agent, be their agent or marry them.

On Facebook they agreed to be your friend because you make their numbers look good and it’s too awkward to refuse, and those are just the ones who actually remember who you are when they get your request. Within a couple of hours of befriending you they’ll have muted you on their timeline. You’re a number, your Farmville updates hold no interest for them. Unless of course you’ve let yourself go or have gone bankrupt, in which case they’ll keep you so that they can feel better about themselves and post supportive, patronising comments on your status updates while secretly thanking their lucky stars that it’s you and not them. We’re surely not far away from a special schadenfreude app on our smartphones that sends a little notification when one of our friends has some bad luck.

Some people get very worked up about their followers, especially on Twitter. Maybe they have a big screen on their wall with a giant counter on it that makes a clicking sound every time they lose a follower, like a bomb in James Bond film. These people need to let it go, there’s nothing worse than seeing a Tweeter go bad. They start posting passive aggressive tweets. ‘Well’ they’ll say, ‘looks like @xxx has unfollowed me after our conversation earlier, some people are SO moody. Lol.’ They’ll then go on to say how they don’t care anyway, which will turn into tweets complaining about how they’re always misunderstood and possibly a bit of Crying Wolf (see the C post for reference). The Romans used to watch gladiators tear each other apart. We watch nerds get a little bit angry, while still trying to be reasonable, on Twitter.

You also get the people who tweet about how they found out who unfollowed them because they used whounfollowedme.com or something. Not that they care, you understand, they’re not BOTHERED, it was just out of interest, they hardly even check.

But who really cares? The numbers fluctuate all the time, for all kinds of reasons. Or maybe, someone just doesn’t like you, the world’s not going to end. It happens in real life all the time. Some people like you, others don’t, you can’t control it and most of the time you don’t even know. Social media strips away all of the social niceties, sat there in our anonymous little pods it’s easy to ‘unfriend’ someone just by pressing a button, in some ways it’s almost liberating. In real life we’re conditioned to be more polite, we don’t walk around shouting ‘I don’t like you anymore, your baby photos bore me and your jokes aren’t funny!’ at someone. Maybe it comes down to the fact that a lot of people, deep down, just want to be liked and that little number at the side of your profile is a constant reminder that actually, people might think you’re a bit of an arse.

There are a couple of things I’ve noticed though, about my own behaviour. If I see someone post a superior tweet about knowing who unfollowed them, I almost always unfollow them. I think part of me wants them to ask me why (nobody ever has). And for some reason, I find it physically impossible to stop myself from unfollowing anybody who tweets that they are nearing a ‘magic’ number of followers and need help rounding the figures up.

I can feel you all judging me. Stop it.

Ā 

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “F is for Followers.

  1. Schadenfreude app…brilliant idea! šŸ™‚ I love the way you speak out about what everyone surely must be thinking but are afraid to say hehehe

  2. But if you unfollowed me I’d have an uneven number of followers….

  3. So true. I am sure some psychologists somewhere have worked it all out – but I haven’t!

  4. I think we’re all part of a huge experiment…

  5. elizasarahgraham

    You voice exactly what I’m thinking. So glad it’s not just me.

  6. It’s the shameless ones who beg ‘follow me, follow me’ to celebs on twitter that really bug me….

  7. This is so true! So many threads out there on forums ‘you follow me and I’ll follow you’. I tend to ignore the ones who follow me in the hopes I’ll follow back, usually because all they do is tweet repeatedly about whatever product they’re selling.

    That unfollow though, the stupid program will only let you see who unfollowed you if you tweet that! Really frustrating. Guess it is their form of advertising.

    Rinelle Grey

    • A lot of the time, if someone follows me I’ll have a look at them and probably want to follow them too, but feel a bit of a fraud if I do it automatically, just out of duty.

  8. Brilliant. Such a good blog! The psychology is fascinating. And so true!

  9. I had my Twitter account for years before I started playing the game! But I’m learning. Nice blog – and I’ve nominated you for one of eleven Liebster Awards, please see my blog http://elegsabiff.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/a-z-challenge-liebster-award/

  10. I’m sure I disappoint Twitter followers because I don’t automatically follow back. In fact, I know this to be true because days after some people follow me, they disappear from my list of followers. That’s okay. I usually don’t know the person, have never interacted with them, never visited their blog, never bought or even read their book, And to me, Twitter is about connecting with people you find interesting, or who make you laugh, or make you think. It’s about going beyond a blog comment and actually trying to establish more of a relationship through dialog. To me, it has nothing to do with having a gazillion followers for the sake of having a gazillion followers.

    You’ll be pleased to know, you passed the “interesting” test. I’m a new Twitter follower. Don’t feel obliged to follow back. šŸ˜€

    • Ah yes, I forgot about the ones who follow you and then unfollow you again. I have been doing an unfollow/follow dance with one person for about 2 years. He follows me, I don’t follow back (because his timeline s full of rt’s of his own book) so he unfollows me again, then he forgets he’s done that and follows me again a few months later.
      I’m following you too now but feel under pressure to be a superfollower after moaning about followers on here…

  11. I so seldom check twitter, I would never notice if someone unfollowed me. I have unfollowed blogs and people on facebook who don’t fit into my reasons for being there.

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