Blog · Blogging · Entertainment · Inspiration · Mummy blogger · Musing · Real mum · Real talk · Relevant topics · Social Media

The game of likes and follows

A couple of months ago a mother I follow on Instagram mentioned a Followers App on one of her posts. I was instantly curious about it and asked her what it was. I was told it was an app you could get that tracks who follows you, unfollows you, blocks you or deletes likes/comments they’ve made on your posts (the last 2 points I discovered about this app myself!)

I immediately went and downloaded this app as soon as I found out, even though this friend cautioned that it can sometimes be hurtful if you find out about certain people who unfollow you who you assumed were your friend. I can see why some people may be offended or hurt from this, or on the other end of the spectrum those that would rather not know. I am however, one of those people that LOVE to know these sorts of things. Although I won’t tell a falsehood and say I haven’t been slightly offended now and then – or even confused….but my strong desire and urge to know truth in general far outweighs any other emotional reaction that may come afterwards. Call this blog entry a mini social experiment or a collation of my findings, observations and the opinions and stories of others I’ve spoken to. I’m merely exploring one thin spoke of a very large umbrella subject here so this does come across as analytical.

My friends list on Instagram is small and intimate. I haven’t tried to aggressively build my account (this takes committing too much time to social media and I have been outwardly opposed to this as I want a life away from a screen!) I am in no way instafamous or popular by any means. I rather like it this way.

This does mean that without being deliberately petty I do notice and monitor  when my followers numbers decrease or increase. I just want to know who. Call it curiousity, a strange desire to catch a disloyal person out, identify those who are disgruntled, playing the social media game, a cowardly so called friend…..etc etc the list goes on – and I do it for all the above. To some degree if you discover that someone who poses to be your friend in “real life” but unfollows you on Instagram doesn’t this warrant a justified question to oneself? Have you just discovered them to be a liar? That seems a bit heavy but in a world driven and fuelled by social media for news, entertainment, friendships, relationships, business, inspiration and gossip – can’t we just come out and admit that likes and follows do mean a lot more than we realise and they do signify something deeper?

img_4165

 

✖️ Side note ✖️

Some people would probably say “who cares it’s just social media it doesn’t count or matter!” – as if this sort of thing is pointless. Which lets face it, as much as even I don’t like to admit – social media holds a lot of weight and does tie strongly in with your identity even if it shouldn’t. Which is why my attention has been drawn to this curiosity and like of this app. When sticky subjects like unfollowing someone or not liking posts on social media comes into it some women like to pull that whole “who cares about social media” card. Funny that – those exact people post about the most significant moments and memories in their life, vent or whinge, promote their body, CHILDREN or business on their account but will say this sort of thing doesn’t matter when it suits them. When we ALL know that we’ve stalked, unfollowed, bitched about or compared ourselves to accounts, photos and posts before. So to anyone rolling their eyes at this blog post – get over yourself. This whole subject would ring true to you also. You’re not above it all and would no doubt delve into it more than the average. I’m just one of few women who are blogging about it. And this won’t be the last time I do! ✖️✖️

 

Annnnyyyyyway! So while having this app and discovering a few surprises of my own with people deleting or unfollowing me it’s got me brainstorming even more than usual about the confusing, conflicting and colourful world of social media and how it has an effect on us. I have some theories of my own and I believe many of them to hold some truth. In some regards I’d classify this app and time browsing social media to be a form of personal research sometimes. The psychology behind what social media does to people and society fascinates me. Some of my observations and theories based on that I will share……

So what does it mean or signify when a woman unfollows your account and you catch them out?

✖️ I’m not talking about a complete random or stranger you’ve had no interaction with whatsoever by the way..as we can’t explain or confront every move or unfollow made on social media. I’m referring to a friend, whether that be in your inner circle or mid circle, someone you’ve had a history with (an old friend) or someone you’ve developed a new connection with. ✖️

In my opinion it most likely means you’ve been shunned or excluded to some degree or straight out dumped as a friend. The reasons could be anything from her being offended in some way you may not know of (and let’s face it, if she’s thinking she’s secretly deleted you and doesn’t count on your knowing it’s unlikely she’s going to sit you down and tell you WHY she’s offended), one of your posts struct a nerve and she needs time away from you, there’s been an obvious offence committed that you both DO know of, hidden jealousies that have built up over time and have gradually become too much so she can’t face your posts in her news feed….OR you’ve just been dumped hard out as a friend. This can make women feel betrayed, used, abandoned, confused, angry, excluded and hurt.

img_4170

 

Reading into it too much? Unlikely. Women are precise. We are deliberate, we are jealous, we can be conniving and bitchy, we have been known to seek drama and gossip, we strategically make moves. Is it likely an unfollow is accidental? No way. I frequently ask women I meet and encounter about their experiences with social media so I know that the reasons I have above are accurate. There are probably more reasons I haven’t covered.

 

img_4169
This quote rings so true to copious amounts of friendships worldwide.

 

You do get people who will go off you for whatever reason for a while – but instead of going to the extent of unfollowing or unfriending you, they will give you the cold shoulder and ignore all your posts and photos. They will never comment or like them, and if ever confronted they say they’ve missed it in their feed or haven’t been online much. Hmm interesting as you can check when a person likes a photo on Instagram and clearly see how active they’ve been – and often bitchy women will like posts either side of when yours gets put up and deliberately not like yours and ignore it. These women go half way with punishing you for whatever reason (often the issue lies with them!) but won’t go quite to the extent of dismissing you entirely. Puzzling to say the least.

There are the odd few who loudly alert that they will be unfollowing. Bravo for your direct honest approach 👏🏼 Even I wish I was more like this! I’ve seen women openly post on others photos that they disagree strongly with that particular message or image. It would appear that particular person they followed is no longer what they seem and they make a firm decision to unfollow and say so. It’s admirable that some people can be so clear cut about their convictions. I’ve abruptly unfollowed people due to religiously offensive posts, or frequent swearing (can’t stand swearing!) because I don’t want to see that in my news feed. I haven’t told them that I’ve deleted them though because none of these people were close to me. I think sometimes an abrupt unfollow is warranted without explanation if that person is a random or a distant acquaintance. Do you agree? I mean we are entitled to make a firm split decision in the moment aren’t we, if an offence is quite shocking? What does seem unpardonable are the friends that play slow ongoing games with you based on things unbeknown to you, which is completely different from being suddenly offended.

As upfront as I generally am social media has also made me a slight coward behind a screen at times so I cannot just point fingers! I’ll tell you a story concerning an old “friend” (in real life) who followed me on Instagram. I also followed her. Before I discovered this app she had unfollowed me. I noticed for a long while she had not made any comments or liked my photos (not even the ones of my son) so I knew it went beyond her being too busy and missing all my posts. She has a friends list that is like a 6th of mine so her news feed wouldn’t have been busy. My suspicion was that she was jealous. Perhaps of my happiness in life? Not 100% sure. She’s married herself but in my opinion has always been deeply insecure and troubled. Her attitudes can swing like a pendulum. I don’t know exactly when she deleted me but I will say that while she was obviously growing a distaste for me, mine was growing for her. Her posts had become contradictory to her so called beliefs, they were just dull and boring, self congratulatory and lacked any form of interest or inspiration to me. I wanted to unfollow her but didn’t want to be exposed doing so and followed her for many many weeks out of obligation. So petty really isn’t it? I’m just being truthful. If I had this app and knew when she unfollowed I could have just put myself out of my misery and knew where we stood earlier!! Instead I went through all my followers to see if she was one of them and nope, she was gone. So immediately I unfollow her. Seems teenage really but I know I’m not the only one who has felt obligation to be “friends” with someone on social media when any form of a friendship had become long lost. I just wish I could have been honest with myself and her a lot earlier, known the truth sooner.

Anyway this story was to show you that I am not above being caught up in pettiness on Instagram either. It wasn’t a close friendship so it wasn’t mourned but it was an old friendship that was enough to notice, if I make sense. In this scenario should she have told me herself the friendship was over? Instead of slipping away in a cowardly manner? I ask these questions as I’m not entirely sure. Is there a right or wrong answer? Letting things go seems to be the easiest way around many of these dramas tied up with social media friends lists but we are allowed to wonder.

 

Social media can be strategic, almost political and underlyingly bitchy most of the time. Another observation I’ve made before and after getting this app is the follow for follow game playing and if I could name some names you’d be very surprised who plays along.

There are those women/mothers on social media who have a large following (way more than I do!) and out of the blue will start following me. I’m all like “hmmm ok that’s strange” but then a small part of me thinks “hey maybe she liked something I posted or thinks we have something in common!”

I just hang back, observe them (it’s like there’s a post follow surveillance period 😂) and check out their profile to see what they are about. This usually takes days. I don’t just follow anyone and I’m proud of my small list of people I choose to follow! In this short time of a few days they’ve liked a few photos, made a couple of generalised comments and then unfollowed me. Why? I can speculate it’s mainly due to the fact they never liked my account or found me interesting, never thought we had anything in common or wanted to be my friend. They simply followed me so my attention would be drawn to them and I’d follow back! Because I fail to do so, they unfollow. Ahhh the games. It’s a strategy to gain more followers and it’s so bizarre! I’m sure many of you know exactly what I mean!

But wait, then there are those who do the above plus more. Weeks pass, then they follow you again for the second time. The whole process repeats. Man I tell you what this is commitment to picking up that one extra follower if I ever did see it. They throw out the bait again with more likes and comments in hope I’ll respond and they will hook me. Pity for them I’m just not that daft and frankly not interested in them or their account especially after the previous deception (some of these are mothers accounts too might I add!) Sure enough an unfollow occurs again. What’s even more confusing is some of these people watch my Instagram stories even after I’m unfollowed?  😏🤔 So odd. So maybe they do find me interesting after all. I start thinking maybe I AM worth stalking? Haha it’s a mind boggle this whole following game.

Men aren’t exempt either…I should really include them as my observations have included them also. They do delve into the “follow for a follow” and it’s so petty. One being a boyfriend of one of my friends 😂 Well mate, one way to get me thinking you’re a mature man who doesn’t treat life like a popularity contest 🙄

Many of these observations I’ve made confuse me or make me laugh and shake my head. Who knows the right etiquette to social media usage? Do any of us? Where does honesty come into it? Telling someone you no longer find what they say or post on social media interesting, truthful, wholesome or motivating. Do we avoid confrontation completely now and allow buttons or tabs on a screen to communicate for us? Why do people play games on social media? Is it all just a popularity contest? Can an unfollow bring an end to a friendship? To this question my answer is – I believe it can. Because social media is personal. It means more than it should, and in some cases should mean more to those than it does due to the content they post on there.

It’s a huge contradiction and a maze of people who want a greater number of people to love them and notice them (or in some cases not them personally but their children 😳) That’s a huge void of insecurity in people’s lives and hearts that social media has the impossible task of filling. And it isn’t doing a good job. It cannot possibly fulfill it. Playing the following and likes game won’t add true value to your life, and will only take from true friendships you may have made. A number indicating an amount of people who follow you should not define you or how you act toward others. As much as social media can create relationships between people or connect them, it can also ruin and destroy them. Push you to compare and compete. You’ve got to navigate your way around with the precision and care of a rally car driver to avoid major disasters.

Does social media alter the way we socialise and act towards others? This is a question we need to ask ourselves. Are your followers as genuine as you may think? You may have a large number but how many of them follow you simply to watch you fall and relish in your failings instead of offering true friendship? That’s why I don’t envy people with a large following lists. You have 20 thousand  followers but only 1000-2000 likes? That accounts for a lot of potentially disinterested, inactive, jealous, sticky beak or fake followers on your account – and I wouldn’t want that AT all just for the appearance of being popular.

 

img_4168

 

All I will conclude with from my own experiences with this app is I am enjoying knowing truth in an arena that is full of lies. It makes me feel like I have some sort of honest feedback. It allows me to track the game playing so I can avoid certain people who seem to partake in it. So to those people who are posing as friends who are playing the game with me – I see you 👀

 

Just some food for thought peeps. Hope I got you all thinking ✌🏼️

Take care out there!

J xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s