The Tactical Unfollowing
I have some dear friends that were clearly oversharing on the political news side of things so I decided to fix my feed by doing some "tactical unfollowing" for a limited time until the election season is over. We have nearly arrived so I thought I would jot down my notes.
Here is the design pattern I used to survive the election season in 2016 on social media:
- Start an Evernote note named: "Refollow in Facebook after [News-Hype event from Year XXX]"
- Add a reminder to the note for a time in the future when the hype cycle is likely to be "all clear".
- Unfollow any friends that are oversharing and add them to the Evernote note.
- Bonus points: add the URL directly to the friend page for easy re-follow.
- After the "all clear" alarm rings, repeat the following for each person you need to re-follow:
- Visit their profile and press the Follow button.
- Important: scan through their feed and press the Like button on 5-10 posts they shared to help the social media machine learning engine realize that you are interested in what this person has to say.
Being A Good Digital Citizen
Ideally we wouldn't need to do tactical unfollowings. But, litter exists online as it does in real life. And some of my friends are guilty as hell of littering in the digital space by sharing some deeply unbalanced articles, pictures, and materials. I suspect that a deep irony exists wherever this occurs... that most of my friends that are sharing the manipulative articles to their feeds are more interested in how the pieces will influence other people than how much they, themselves, were influenced (assuming they were already in accord with the desired position).
Please reconsider your choices if your behavior matches this pattern. Consider what it says about how smart you think your "friends" are.
If you're interested in being the sort of digital citizen that no one feels the need to unfollow, a better way to go is crafting your own articles and and sharing your own thoughts rather than sharing along the manipulative junk that makes up most of the Internet we see today.
You, thoughtful friend and reader, can do something that much of the writing Internet fails to do: you can respect the fact that I am a creature with a faculty of reason and not just a knee-jerk reaction automaton. You can inspire me with your thoughtfulness and nuance. You already have my ear... you don't need an eyecatching headline about what I won't believe happened next.
Write the internet you would like to read and share that to your friends. Write the internet that respects the intelligence and integrity of all the people you know. Above all, keep writing what you notice!
Photo Credit: Life Preserver | Jeff Turner | Flickr