The Sensitive Issue of Follow Backs, and Social Media Credibility

People don’t like me. Because I don’t want to follow them back. It only gets funny when they unfollow me. Because I didn’t follow them back. Not because they no longer like my content being on their timelines for the sake of the content itself.

Social media and I are not friends anymore. Especially Twitter. There are loads and loads of reasons, but let me focus on this: the chaotic avalanche, the huge mass of content spewing out from and being circulated by everyone with access to an account, is OVERWHELMING. While people are complaining that I don’t follow them back, I am already getting migraines when I open my apps because there is just TOO MUCH stuff from everyone I follow already! And I’m not following people back NOT because I don’t like them; but because I already want to throw up whenever I open the app. At some point I developed a sort of phobia which I called Twitter-revulsion. I still experience it mildly frequently but it helps that I’m in a different time zone from Gh Twitter now.

We all have responsibilities to ourselves to take care of our mental health. This obviously involves the deliberate filtering of content that we allow ourselves to consume on the internet. If you have a friend whom you like, and you hate the content they are polluting your TL with, you are only punishing yourself by not doing anything about it. And no, of course you cannot police how other people decide to use their social media (so you can’t tell them to stop Tweeting what they Tweet, for instance). But you can police, to some degree, how you operate on the receiving end. If you do not want to see it, you do not have to make yourself see it. I mute and unmute randomly. I follow and unfollow as I choose.

There is something people who ask you to follow back (how I detest KFB!) don’t understand: that by asking you to follow them, they may be promising things they may not be able to give. They are implying that their content is something YOU should want to see. They are missing something very important: you following them is not about them. It’s about you and how you want to experience the internet.

If someone unfollows you solely because you refuse to follow them, or unfollowed them first, chances are they were never truly interested in your content anyway – in which case, it is no loss at all. There are numerous people I follow who don’t follow me back – and I don’t mind so much, because I want to see their content, regardless of whether or not they know about my online presence. When you want to consume something, it should be because you like it, and not solely because you want them to consume your ish. That’s not genuine.

Please, for the love of all that is good, as much as possible, take charge of your own experience of the Internet. In an age like this, it’s really your sanity that’s on the line. Let go of the pressure. Or be like Kobby Graham and ghost.


The other thing that gets to me about social media is the concept of endorsement.

It is as simple as this: if you like it. If you believe that someone else deserves to see/hear/experience it. You share it. This is how good things spread. And what you spread or share contributes a whole lot to your own image.

As much as possible, I try not to hype by heart. Recently, I shared a whole series of articles I had been reading and thought worthy of sharing, on Twitter. Someone actually thanked me for sharing them. And Owiredua told me that everything I read is good. While this is a misconception, I can see how it came about, and I am pleased by it because I have achieved a goal I have had for quite some time: to consistently share things that are good to the extent that it can be assumed that if I have shared anything, then it is good. This is called credibility.

There are 2 accounts I got my credibility inspiration from (and they’re friends, so it’s even cooler): @EDWVN and @elidot. It’s gotten to a point that I get excited whenever either of them posts or retweets a link. Because they are so credible that I know beforehand that all they share is dope stuff.

So some people also resent me because I don’t RT their screenshots of their poetry captured in tweets with explicit instructions of “kindly read and RT” – among other things. If my followers have indulged me enough to make me a part of the way they experience the internet, then I feel like I owe them quality at least, right? Well, technically I owe nothing to anyone, but I would like to be that person who gives quality out, if not all the time, then at least as much as possible.


4 thoughts on “The Sensitive Issue of Follow Backs, and Social Media Credibility

  1. This is actually very true. I follow a lot of people on Twitter who don’t follow me back, which doesn’t bother me at all. I follow them because I enjoy what they tweet and not because I feel they’re obliged to give me a follow too. Although, I have followed some people who checked out my timeline and followed me back, it all depends on how you like the content of the person’s tweets.

    A person’s timeline content should be the sole reason for following them, and not for random “KFB”.
    This was a good one!

  2. So true Akotz.. I once heard a story of someone that actually makes a list of everyone who’s not following back just to get back at them. So cold!

    Weirdly, the tweeters of useless content tend to have so great a following that it gets the average joe with an identity crisis jealous. Such people will beg for a follow back, and if that doesn’t work, the blue button will surely get tapped.

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