Beep! Your phone has just buzzed and there’s another few followers on Instagram.
YAY. People are finally recognizing your genius witty captions and spectacular photography skills. Score!
Then it seems, in the blink of one night’s sleep, you check your phone in the morning and have lost a large chunk of people from your squad. The big unfollow. Where’s everyone going?!
It’s happening to all of us and with the prevalent use of follow/unfollow apps it’s happening A LOT. But I’m not actually going to talk about the people who use apps to get ahead by upping their numbers. I want to talk about the more personal unfollow.
Is it a really close friend? A fellow blogger you admire and have met IRL? A coworker you thought you were cool with?
Yes, I have the dreaded Followers app that I can check to see who has unfollowed me. It. Is. Soul. Destroying.
A few months ago, one of my good friends unfollowed me. I’ve never been able to ask her why or what happened to make her leave. We haven’t spoken in awhile and maybe that’s the case of the ‘why’. It felt like the equivalent of unfriending someone on Facebook. More recently, I’ve noticed former coworkers and bloggers I thought I’d connected with have left the KPW Instagram crew. And I know how ridiculous it sounds, but actually, in this social media obsessed world we’re living in, it seems I’m not alone.
One blogger and business owner, who asked to share anonymously said: “I use an app which tells me Insta stats including un-followers – this was how I discovered my closest friends (at the time) boycotted my business. I was really glad I saw it, was a real eye opener to the types of ‘friends’ I had at the time.”
After seeing bloggers continuously mentioning it on Twitter, I wanted to investigate the after effects. How we feel when it happens. Why we unfollow people close to use. When I started asking the questions, I received plenty of responses on it. Stories, sliding straight into my DMs.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that we’re more effected by the people who we know more personally. London based blogger Eppie said, “I used to use Crowdfire but stopped after awhile – it didn’t get me down to see strangers unfollow me, but did cause disappointment when bloggers I constantly engaged with or had met personally were playing the unfollow game. It became another chore in the blog world that didn’t really make me feel good and didn’t really benefit me.”
Another anonymous blogger echoed these sentiments, “I feel like it’s so awkward when people have unfollowed me and we’ve met in person!” Hear, hear!
We’re all talking about it. I wanted to discover more about other experiences with the tracking apps. Cue an actual research reason for an Instagram Poll. So what did I find out?
While the majority of people who follow me aren’t using these apps to track or monitor (good on you), there are still plenty of people who it seems are. And I wanted their insight.
Well over 70% of people who answered yes to having an unfollow monitoring app have said that they’ve noticed someone close to them has unfollowed. And overwhelming, the next question, more than 85% said that yes, it hurt their feelings. I’m not surprised, because it does sting.
Blogger Jordan from Hello Miss Jordan said, “I’ve had someone I’ve supported for ages (who started at roughly the same time as me) unfollow me on Instagram and I was so upset. It normally doesn’t bother me too much but because it was her I felt kind of betrayed because I’d always spent so much time and effort supporting her content.”
Katie MacLeod, blogger from Stories My Suitcase Could Tell, also weighed in, “I used to [use the monitoring apps]! But I didn’t like the negativity so I deleted them…”
It’s not you, it’s me
I know we keep seeing articles cropping up on social media saying that if you’re following people who are making you feel a bit shit (intentional or not), they’ve got to go. You, of course, have the choice to cut them from your Instagram life. And maybe it’s not personal at all – and in most cases it’s probably not.
Hannah Gladwin, a London and Essex based blogger, experienced it with a friendship after she unfollowed a former pal.
“A friend who’s in circle of close friends and I stopped speaking. I hadn’t seen her in over a year and a half. She posted content online about how amazing her life was and solely about clean living, etc. and finally I thought, you know what, I don’t want to see this anymore and unfollowed. Straight away, seconds later, she called me out on the girls’ group [text] chat asking why I had unfollowed her. I won’t go into detail over something so silly, as we weren’t really friends anymore in real life. She couldn’t care less that we hadn’t spoken in over a year, but as soon as I unfollowed her online she was outraged. I think it speaks volumes about how society is now. We seem to care more about how we look online than real life. Even to our ‘friends’.”
Of course, there’s also the impersonal side of it. The people you don’t know who you get a follow from and then suddenly leave. I’ve noticed this too, where I’ll get excited about someone else for finding me, follow them back only to realize that they’re no longer there.
Fellow blogger Amita from Amerz with Love honed in on this too, “It annoys me when someone takes the time to follow you, likes your pictures, you follow them back and then all of a sudden ‘bam’ they unfollow. I’ve had people with over 30K followers do that, what I don’t understand is why?”
For Becki from Rebecca Rose Blog says her reasons to follow back are based on similarities in style and content to her own account. But she doesn’t stick around if her followers aren’t there with genuine intentions, “I just use it because sometimes I follow accounts back to be polite, whose content is OK and their niche is similar to mine. If they unfollow, then I unfollow because clearly they have only followed me to get me to notice them, and therefore, they’re not a genuine follower – and I don’t have time for those games.”
The end of the game
The more I’ve thought about it, and the more research and responses I’ve gotten on it… well, I think it’s time for me to also say goodbye to these monitoring apps. I don’t like feeling hurt or disappointed when I notice that someone close to me isn’t following me anymore.
I think Lorna, blogger and Instagram queen from Lorna Luxe put it best, “I don’t use them – I always think if someone chooses to unfollow me, it’s none of my business.”
Maybe it’s burying my head in the sand a little bit from getting hurt. But I agree ultimately with the stance Lorna takes on it. Because I think it’s true, we should be following the content we enjoy – and not let other people’s actions – good or bad, hold us down.
7 reasons to get rid of the unfollow monitoring apps
- You’re clearing up extra space on your phone. Amen to that!
- It’s one less thing to check daily. If you’re a blogger, you’ve got enough on your plate as it is balancing the social sphere.
- You’ll stop fixating on people that don’t matter. If they’ve unfollowed you, maybe it’s not malicious. Maybe they just aren’t connecting with what you put out there. It’s the same reason you unfollow too. Or why you like certain brands while your friend may love the total opposite.
- You’ll be happier. I promise, you won’t miss checking or knowing.
- Mental headspace is a serious upside to deleting it. (And while you’re at it, I’ve also got the perfect recipe for a little more mental clarity in 2018)
- You’ll feel lighter. Yes, it’s officially gone from my life and I feel like a weight has been lifted.
- Like Lorna said, it’s just not your business to know exactly why. Deleting these apps leaves you free from questioning your fam, friends or acquaintances. You get to just do you. And with ‘me’ as my major focus of 2018, I think that sounds pretty damn good.
So what do you guys think? Keeping the unfollow notification apps? Or hitting that big old delete button?
I’d love to hear your take in the comments!
A big thanks to everyone who voted in my polls and who messaged me with their thoughts. My responses came mostly from fellow bloggers, so if you aren’t a blogger and have some personal experiences to add, please let me know!