Getting unfollowed on Twitter hurts. Even after almost a year in the Twitterverse, I still feel the sharp sting of rejection each time my follower count drops. I know who they are – there are tools for that, you know. And, of course, I look. Often, I don’t know the people who unfollow me. There’s no relationship there. I haven’t conversed with them, so I can get over it. But once in a while, I recognize the faces on the unfollow list. People that I’ve spoken to, liked even. Why, people? Why go out of your way to follow me? And then the brooding starts. It’s like middle school all over again. Am I not cute enough? Did I talk too much? Too little? Did I offend them? Are all the cool kids laughing out me now?
I hope this sounds familiar. Otherwise, I might need to seek counseling instead of writing this blog. I’m assuming it’s perfectly natural to feel rejected and offended when people unfollow us, especially for those of us who are pleasers (like me). We’re the ones who care what other people think, to the point where it changes the way we are in the world. Reject me, and I’ll look inward to figure out what I did to cause it. I’m not pathological, just a person who likes for people to like her.
Obviously, I needed to change my perspective on Twitter unfollows. I did some thinking about it, and I came up with several reminders that will help me steer clear of those feelings of rejection:
1) It can’t be my goal to please every one of my Twitter followers. If that’s my goal, then I’m definitely doing it wrong. Instead of focusing on everyone else and worrying about how they’ll respond to what I put out there, I should spend that energy focusing on me. And if I’m focusing on me, then I’m working toward the real goal, which is to do and say things that help me to be my most authentic self.
Seth Godin suggests this motto for businesses who want to do work that matters:
“We can’t please everyone, in fact, we’re not even going to try.” [read the full post]
Yes! In work, life, and Twitter, this is a truth I want to live by.
2) There are just certain people we don’t mesh with, and it’s better to part ways than to annoy each other. Just as in life, there are people we connect with and those we don’t. It’s not worth anyone’s time to try to force something that’s not working for either party involved. I applaud anyone who’s had the courage to unfollow someone that doesn’t fit into their world, for whatever reason. I’ve unfollowed people who’ve offended me, and I respect everyone’s right to do that too.
3) Unless you ask them directly, you really can’t ever know what motivated someone to unfollow you. It might have been an accident. They might be reducing the number of people they follow across the board. They might not like your profile picture or that you sent that tweet about your dog at 10:21 pm on Friday. Or, they just might not like you. Since we can’t know the reason, there’s absolutely no reason to worry about it.
4) Losing a follower might make room for someone new to come into your Twitter life. I’m a believer in serendipity, and you just never know what opportunities are going to appear when another one disappears.
5) If all else fails, eat ice cream.
How about you? What strategies do you use to avoid the unfollow blues?