Posted by: Jamie Hahn | February 24, 2011

Thank you for unfollowing me

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?

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Responses

  1. Wow, you nailed it. It is like middle school with all the cliques and royalty and the unexplained dumpings. I like to think I’m past it, but I do wonder what I did wrong when I’m unfollowed. Still insecure after all these years. Nice post.

    • Thanks, Jeannine! I’m glad I’m not the only one who has to fight the insecurity. Too bad we don’t grow out of it after middle school!

  2. Well, I don’t know about the folks who unfollowed you, but I was thrilled to see your tweet this morning announcing a new post on you blog! Great post, Jamie.

    I like your attitude (and ice cream). I especially like the Godin quote: “We can’t please everyone, in fact, we’re not even going to try.” That has become my mantra in the past couple of years (though I never really expressed it quite so directly) and it has been a blessing.

    • I would really like to be able to learn how to apply Seth Godin’s quote to many aspects of my life. I’m glad to hear that it’s been working for you. I think it’s such an important point that so many of us miss. And ice cream…we all need more ice cream in our lives! Thanks for stopping by, Jessica. Your support and insights are always awesome.

  3. It always comes back to: DO YOU. Personally, I’ve stopped paying attention to how many followers and fans I have. It was making me crazy, and one morning the Voice Inside said, “This isn’t who you are. This isn’t what you do.” That Voice is my True Self. She knows where my energy needs to be spent- creating what is in me to create, and sharing it. Funny thing is, I am now less afraid of offending anyone. In fact, it seemed I offended Marianne Williamson in one my posts, and didn’t care because I knew I wasn’t talking about her. I was talking about my own inner guru who I said was a cross between her and a drill sergeant. It was liberating to know I did what I needed to do for my own growth, even if it was misinterpreted wrongly. If it speaks to me and I can feel that rumbling to share it, I share it and let the rest go. Others can “smell” our fear and our want to be liked and most often what happens is they will resist us. Being true to ourselves always WINS! Love your honesty and happy to be following you both here and on Twitter.

    Namaste

    • DO YOU. I love that. I think it’s so healthy not to pay attention to follow and friend counts. Your inner voice is so right, and I love that you focus on creating what’s inside of you and then finding ways to share it. You totally captured how I want to be in the world! Thanks for sharing. I’m happy to know you!

      PS- Funny that you offended Marianne Williamson, and awesome that it didn’t bother you. I would have been stressed for days. πŸ™‚

  4. You rock. Eating ice cream is always a good option. Take a deep breath and focus on the accomplishments and the people who give you energy, make you smile, appreciate you for who you are. Wish the rest of ’em well as you move on your way. I, for one, am one follower who is happy to be here! πŸ™‚ Hope you’re well!!

    • Thanks so much, Susan. YOU totally rock. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the reminder to focus on the people who appreciate us for who we are. Thank goodness for them! And thank goodness for you…thanks for being a happy follower. The sentiment is mutual.

  5. I’ve definitely noticed I’ve lost followers, but haven’t known who they were and didn’t try to figure it out. I think it’s just part of Twitter and following several hundred people. Personally, it takes quite a bit on annoyance or offense for my to unfollow someone. The few times I’ve done it, they’ve noticed and inquired about it. Sooo awkward, I never conversed with these people, they just had bad Twitter-manners.

  6. I usually offer then Candy….:(

  7. Lovely, candid post. (BTW: Does anyone know how to find out who de-listed you.)

    I tend to unfollow those I’ve followed because their profile shows they share an interest of mine, but then I notice their tweets are confined to their visits to their local Dunkin Donuts and Walmarts. I don’t care about that.

  8. I understand the sense of “talking to yourself” on Twitter. I’ve even seen some celeb tweets along those same lines, really. Miss your tweets and interaction but understand your sentiment.

  9. What an excellent post. I don’t get unfollowed often, but I do get strangely “de-listed.” Someone adds me to one of their lists, then removes me. I don’t know if there are tools to find out who.

    But I’m sure there’s no way to find out why . . . πŸ˜‰

  10. It’s like you know exactly what I feel right now. Thank you for your blog. I actually just cried because of the rejection I feel right now.

    • Thanks for your comment. I hope the strategies I mentioned in my post can help minimize your feelings of rejection. Unfollows are so not worth worrying about! πŸ™‚


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