Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat: I am on all sorts of social media platforms. I mostly follow friends, family, brands and people I like. But I have to admit, there are a few accounts I’ve grown to despise. Instead of unfollowing, I do something totally unhealthy.
You’re probably doing it, too. There’s that person from high school who always posts things that are TMI or legitimately insane on Facebook. Or that person who clearly spends hours curating the perfect Instagram photo– an overhead shot of their [super-trendy brand name] purse’s contents all over a table, with lip gloss, a moleskin notebook and something intentionally quirky (M&Ms! A tiny teddy bear! Fruitstripe gum!) placed just so.
Following some people makes my blood boil.
And yet, I can’t stop doing it! I recently realized I was addicted to scrolling through the feeds of people who lead these ridiculous online lives. There’s a woman who always posts photos of herself in a bikini eating fried chicken and drinking a big gulp (you didn’t eat that!), a guy who keeps posting inappropriate Facebook updates about his marriage (My wife sucks. Should I get a divorce?), and one woman who live-tweeted her birth (allegedly not attended by a doctor, midwife or doula :-/ ) from the woods. I never comment. I just hate-follow from a safe distance.
It’s like a car wreck. I know I should stop, but I can’t stop looking
And then boom, last week I saw a post from one of my hate-follow accounts. I spent a full minute going through all the feelings I had about some stupid, totally fake-y artsy photo they’d shared. Anger, frustration, and finally wanting to shake the person who posted said photo and scream get over yourself!!!! And then I had a moment of clarity.
Why do I do this to myself?
So, I unfollowed them. And then I unfollowed their equally irritating girlfriend’s account. And then the fried chicken girl. And then birth-from-the-woods lady.
It felt so, so good.
I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. Yes, actually I do. I fear missing out. I think we all feed off the crazy of social media. It gives us a hit of emotion– happiness, sadness, excitement and even anger– that can be completely addicting. I am guilty of it. But last week, I decided I’d had enough. Why do I need hits of frustration and anger many times a day? I don’t. So I unfollowed. I already feel happier. And if for some reason I’m craving a hit of hate-follow, I can always just go look at their feeds. Just because I stopped following doesn’t mean they’ve stopped posting.
Be honest: who are you hate following?
Maybe you should take a break.
I dare you to unfollow the humble-bragger from work, or the person who lives the “perfect” life online (but in real-life, you know it’s a mess!), or the gal who thinks you actually give a shit about the outfits she instagrams every day (with a big, fat LiketoKnowit link, or whatever). Hate following, while addictive and fun, probably isn’t enhancing your life at all.
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If you haven’t noticed, I think quitting can be awesome. Here’s a few ways that you could quit & make your life better!
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