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Why I Generously Unfollow People on Social Media

Why I Generously Unfollow People on Social Media

When Tom Brady stepped up in the pocket with a little over two minutes left in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 52, I knew what was next. Brady was going to lead the offense – and his team – to a sixth Super Bowl Championship.

Then flashes of the trauma of the New York Giants franchise flashed before my eyes. Brady fumbled, the Eagles recovered, and thanks to one of the worst defensive showings I’ve ever seen by the Patriots – we lost.

As is a normal game day custom, I turned my phone off prior to the game. For this game, I didn’t turn it on until the next morning. The next day I intentionally ignored ESPN, but I started browsing social media.

Hundreds of my “friends” celebrated (yes, non-Eagles fans) the demise of the greatest sports dynasty in modern history. I graciously clicked to the right of each post and my finger quickly pressed, “snooze for 30 days.”

Within moments, my social media feed was back to the happy lives of my friend’s – coffee pictures – and a lot of Boston Celtics talk. All was well in my social media world.

The snooze or unfollow aspect of social media hasn’t been new to me – or just reserved for Patriots bashing friends. Over the last year, I’ve generously unfollowed many friends. I’ve even removed two social media platforms all together.

Facebook particularly has reached a new challenge. In 2012, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s mission was to make the world connected. People would have easy access to the internet and their voice mattered.

Here we are in 2018 – and the mission reigns true. Facebook has 2.2 billion active users, but with that has come the ushering in of “fake news” and unreliable content. It’s led to wrongful action and perspective. It’s almost as if Facebook has been the vehicle of our division as a society.

This summer, Zuckerberg and company shifted their mission for the first time. Facebook now wants to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

“Connecting friends and family has been pretty positive, but I think there is just this collective feeling that we have a responsibility to do more than that and also help build communities and help people get exposed to new perspectives and meet new people -- not just give people a voice, but also help build common ground so people can actually move forward together.”

Let me translate – Facebook wants to build personal relationships not just give people a platform to launch their personal opinions. If you’re a nerd (like me), you can read more about it. Basically, Facebook will continue to make general posts you and I publish less accessible to the average person. The big push will be building community within Facebook Groups.

The big picture here is that Facebook had to acknowledge something wasn’t working. Facebook – and other social media platforms – have become littered with personal opinions and political jargon. It’s become a place for you and I to feel empowered as we sit comfortably on our couch.

It’s divided people – not connected them. That’s precisely why I unfollow people – even people I greatly love and respect.

Here’s three practical reasons why I’ve made this decision: