Thursday, September 2, 2010

Friends and Followers

I was thinking today about friending and following—and unfriending and unfollowing. Do you ever wonder how Facebook and blogging can affect our self-esteems, both positively and negatively? Sometimes it seems utterly insane to me that I feel actually let down when I see that I've lost a follower, and so happy when I see that I've gained one. You bloggers know what I'm talking about, right?

Recently I read a post from a blogger who lost a follower. She was basically writing to this follower, lamenting that s/he left, wondering why. Was she offensive? Boring? Too snarky? Who knows? The point was, this blogger was really distressed about losing a follower.

So I got to thinking about my own reasons. Why do I stop following people?
1. The number one spot definitely goes to: you sell too much stuff. Contests, advertising, give-aways, product reviews. Not interested.

2. You weren't what I expected when I started following, AKA, we don't have that much in common. Maybe I followed you because of a certain post, but when I started reading your blog, I realized that we travel in different circles.

3. You whine too much. Seriously, yes. I have stopped following people because their blogs seem to be a big whining session. It is so perfectly OK to pour your heart out, to gripe, to whisper a grievance now and then. But every single post? You stubbed your toe? Your house is too cluttered? Your husband didn't take out the trash? Call the WAHm-bulance, people! I'm moving on.

4. Your blog is too messy. Too hard to load, too many gadgets and widgets, too many ads, too big of a font. I know. I'm so shallow, but I'm just being honest here.

5. You haven't blogged in a long, long time. I've given up on you.

And then there is Facebook. I purged a couple of months ago, getting rid of all kinds of "friends." Mostly these were high school or college acquaintances that I barely knew. It's the whole "we weren't friends then, why are we friends now" thing. I instantly got several "friend" requests from those same people I unfriended. I probably friended them again so as not to hurt their feelings. I've only ever blocked one person, and that's because even seeing his name makes my blood pressure rise. (In fact, my stress level just rose dramatically even thinking about him for a fleeting second.) But anyway, I didn't purge all the people I barely knew back then, because some of those people have become, strangely, real friends now. Makes me wonder why we weren't friends all those years ago.

And I have this list of friend requests on Facebook that I keep ignoring. Not actually ignoring enough to hit the "ignore" button usually (and if you have Facebook, you know what I mean)—because then they know they've been ignored—but just not responding to. I feel badly about it because I don't want to cause these nice folks to wonder why I won't friend them, but frankly, well, I don't even know who you are. Or you're under 13. Or you irritate me in real life.

So my daughter just got a Facebook account a few days ago, on the occasion of her 13th birthday. Already she's been speculating: "Why hasn't so-and-so responded to my friend request?" Or "Yay! I have 75 friends already!"

It's crazy. But in spite of the lunacy of social networking, I love it. I love this ability to "meet" new people via blogging, to share ideas, be encouraged, read some beautiful prose, learn new stuff, find friends. Real friends. People who have become an actual part of my real life. And the same goes for Facebook. The connections, reconnections, the past meeting the present—it's all amazing.

And so that's what I have to say about all that. But please, be kind and don't stop following me. My fragile ego can't take any knocks this week.


  1. Oh, I know what you mean.

    I've stopped following blogs at all. I just put blogs I want to read in my reader. If I decide I don't want to read them anymore, I delete them.

    Every now and then I get a little nervous about all the connections google wants us to make. And once I started following a blog and started getting a TON of shared items in my reader. I hate a cluttered up reader and I found myself marking everything from that blog "read" without reading anything. So I took it out.

    So whether I follow you or not, whether I comment frequently or not, I'm reading!

  2. "Call the WAHm-bulance, people! I'm moving on."

    Oh my. Funniest thing I've heard all day. I need to purge a ton of friends on facebook. I'm over it.

  3. Great post! I love your reasons for unsubscribing- you nailed several that I agree with. I've often wondered if my blog should "do" or "be" more, but your post has given me courage = ).
    Love your wordsmithery!

  4. Very nice post. Isn't it interesting though when people first start blogging they have a 'purpose' (or some do anyway) but as time goes on they lose sight of that purpose? (or is that just me??)
    You've given me something to ponder and I'm thankful for it...and the laughs as well. :)

  5. Sad, but true. I have stopped following people due to some of those same reasons. Crazy stuff, this social networking, huh? ;)

  6. I started thinking about my top reasons for not following a blog anymore. Definitely for some of the same reasons as you, but I would add at least one more. I generally don't follow blogs where it appears that the author's life is a bed of roses & picture perfect. Life's not perfect, it's rather messy. I'm strive to be joyful & content w/where God places me but that doesn't exclude me from messiness! I prefer to read blogs where the author is real about life--the good & the bad.

  7. Great post. I know I'm one of the folks you've given up on for "not blogging in a long long time" but I still read yours :) Maybe when I get back on track you will be my friend again, LOL.

    Time to purge facebook!

  8. hilarious. I agree with EVERY one of your reasons to unfriend/defollow ;) and hilarious about fb friends... we weren't friends then, why are we friends now... I've thought the same thought. I too have quite a long list of friend requests... I just don't really know what to do with some of them...

    I'm just always surprised that anyone at all would follow me!! ;) that is just hilarious! but I'm glad nonetheless. It IS nice having friends AND making new ones!

    amy in peru

  9. Good post - I had to laugh at myself when I realized that I AM happy when I see that I have another follower. It IS all quite silly. What's even sillier is that I wondered..."Is my font too big - is this upsetting to her?" Then I remembered that I LIKE a bigger font due to my failing eyes. Well, I still might change it.................

    Take care!

  10. *Gulp*

    I just posted a blog tonight - finally! Hope all four of my faithful followers stick with me. ;-)

    You are so great at articulating what the rest of us think, but do not say. I think I feel a blog about Facebook coming on now!

  11. I'm just a newbie at blogging and I am taking your words to heart. . .and promise not to need a WAMbulance anytime soon. :-) But you know, my husband didn't take out the garbage and I did stub my toe. . .LOL

  12. Oddly enough, I do think about this topic, also. Not in a stressed out way. I *hope* my blog can help someone but I'm not offended if it doesn't. Half of why I blog is for my own therapy.

    I stop following blogs for your #2 reason usually. For instance, I homeschool a teenager so if a blog tends toward early school issues and toddlers--unfollow. I'm just not there.

    When I started FB, I made a personal policy to not accept kids (unless I know them well and am involved in their lives somehow), customers (I like FB to be social, not business), and men (unless my husband is also a friend). There a few exceptions to each but it makes the decisions fairly guilt-free.

    That said, was I a little miffed when my niece and my sis-in-law did not accept my friend request? Have to admit--yep. I thought it a little odd.

    This is a funny topic and it does bring a whole new level to social relationships. Thanks for the great post!

  13. I totally relate on the facebook thing! I ignored my father-in-law's friend request the first time, when he requested my friendship again, I just left it there so he wouldn't keep requesting me. I have to watch what I say around him in real life, why watch what I write on facebook too?

    And thanks for commenting on my blog!

  14. Great post! I can relate to all of your reasons for removing friends and unfollowing blogs. I had a to giggle while reading your post, loved it!


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