Saturday, August 16, 2014

Unfriending vs. Unfollowing

I have a love/dislike relationship with facebook. Even though I rejoined the facebook world approximately 10 months ago, I sometimes wish I would have stayed deactivated.

There are many aspects of facebook I truly appreciate, like keeping in touch with loved ones and friends; seeing beautiful photos of people I care about; laughing at silly memes and videos; connecting with people I've lost contact with previously; learning fascinating new things from the people I care about; sharing information that's important to me, or that I feel would be beneficial to others.

But there are many aspects of facebook that I really dislike, for example: their algorithm; my unanswered friend requests; over-active friends/family who post incessantly (Depending on the day, I'm probably one of them!); the dreaded discovery of an unfriending from someone I honestly thought I was real-life friends with (Where did I go wrong?!); rude/vulgar comments/messages (this rarely happens to me through my personal friendships, but it does happen when one of my friends have "liked" a public post that shows up in my news feed); spam posts; wondering if one of my friends has unfollowed me; annoying advertising; wanting to check facebook too often.

Yes, the above paragraph includes the reasons I struggle with staying active on facebook. I really don't like feeling unconnected to family/friends (Read about my facebook experiment from 2013.), and facebook is a big huggable crutch for many of the people I know. (I'm saying that in the nicest way!) So, I stay activated.

Since rejoining facebook last year, my biggest annoyance has been the unfollow option. Before the unfollow button came along, it was easy to know if someone was connecting with us on facebook: either we're friends with someone, or we're not. But now, no one really knows if they're connecting with their friends!

I'm not a "like" seeker, but it is helpful knowing that someone on fb is actually seeing/reading what I post because they clicked the thumbs-up button. I sometimes wonder if anyone (besides my dear, sweet mother) reads what I write on facebook, or if it's just a complete waste of my time? (*Side note: One of the things I love about my blog is the fact that I can see that people are reading my posts, but I will continue blogging regardless of how many views I get because I love blogging! Facebook doesn't have a stats option.) I also wonder if people are annoyed with how many posts I "like". I try to contain my likes because I know they show up on my friends' news feeds. Yet, I "like" posts to show my support! :) And it's a double-edged sword because there are so many things I like, it's hard to contain myself! :)

I wish there were an answer to my unfollowing frustration besides leaving facebook altogether—and you must know that I've seriously considered leaving. For I believe if we've accepted a friend request, and vice versa, we should keep following the people we're friends with. Otherwise, why are we facebook friends in the first place? Right?! That said, I know the algorithm messes up my theory because even though we're technically following our friends, facebook might not show their posts to us, so people think we've unfollowed them, which is untrue.

After thinking about my quandary for several months, I've decided that as much as unfriendings hurt, I would honestly prefer an unfriending to an unfollowing. That way, I know where I stand with someone. Although, I know it's not always easy for people to make those decisions because some relationships are complicated. Plus, I think even though some people have unfollowed a friend, they're too much of a sissy to unfriend them.

Now that I've voiced my issues, I feel like such a silly! If we were chatting in-person, here's where I would speak my husband's favorite saying as of late, "Hashbrown, selfie!" If you don't know what I'm referring to, it's from one of our family's favorite commercials! *It doesn't really have anything to do with our discussion, thus I love it even more! Ha ha.

Yes, after all of my frivolous blabbing, I think facebook should remove the unfollow option, and we should all be brave enough to admit who we're really friends with!

P.S. Now would be a good time for any of my facebook friends who aren't following me (or don't want to follow me) to unfriend me. Go ahead. I can take it. :)

P.P.S. I made a comment on my facebook page based on a couple of good comments I received (here and there). Here's what I wrote and would like to add to my post:

I guess what I didn't convey very well is: if we consider ourselves friends with someone (in real life and/or on facebook) that means we should be able to handle their posts—regardless what they consist of (after all, it's who they are!)—and not hide from them by clicking the unfollow button. And yes, I understand that is an "all or nothing" way of thinking, but it's how I feel. :)

I've also unfollowed people in the past, but then started following them again because I thought, "What does that say about me, that I can't handle what they're posting??!!"

I view friendships and family relationships as acceptance of each other, even if we don't always agree with each other's points of view. :)

03/25/15 Update: I've since left Facebook again—this time for good! If you'd like to know more, read my post, "Farewell Facebook!"

1 comment:

  1. I understand where you are coming from, but I LOVE the unfollow button. I have a couple of close-in-real-life friends and family who I don't want to unFRIEND, but they post things that are not in line with my values, and it often really bothers me. So I unfollower them. BUT every once in a while I want to check in and see what is happening in their lives, so I look them up using the "friends" list and check out their wall. Can I give you an example? I have someone who used to be a really good friend IRL, but because of time and distance we have drifted apart. As of the last few years, this friend has started posting some anti-Mormon propaganda, or liking it anyway. This person KNOWS I am mormon and how much it means to me, but I realize that most of their Facebook friends probably aren't. I was allowing it to really hurt me, but then I realized I could unfollow this person and not hurt any feelings and still check in when I wanted, but not allow myself to be hurt by all the offensive posts or likes. Does that make sense?

    I really think you are looking into too much. People can be very apathetic, but it isn't anything personal about you. Some people NEVER post, but every once in a while they might comment or tag, and it makes it even that much more meaningful. I say just keep on putting your positive vibes out into the world, not caring whether people are really engaging. If YOU are engaged in the way you want to be, then Facebook serves its purpose for you.

    I so totally understand your love/hate relationship with Facebook. I have started doing what I call a "Facebook sabbath" every Sunday. I realized that I was checking in on Facebook WAY too often, so I decided to distance myself from it. Not checking in at all one day a week helps tremendously. I find that I don't have a desire to check Facebook as often the other days of the week either. That lends itself to much more productivity in my life, and I feel like I am actually happier. I have a feeling it is the whole culture-comparison thing NOT at work as much in my life. Anyway, I totally love you and hope you can find a balance that works for you!

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