Feeling The Ick and the Great Unfollow.

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Lately I've been feeling The Ick from some of my Internet followings.  Do you ever feel that way?

The Ick is that feeling you get when reading a blog, or someone's posts on Twitter or Facebook, or whatever other social media platform they're on and it consistently makes you feel uncomfortable, self-conscious, upset, irritated, or bummed out.  You wonder why you're following them, and you wonder how awkward it would be to unfollow them, so you don't because what if they notice and say something??  Do you know how that goes?

I thought I was the only one, until I said something to a few of my online besties, and it turns out they thought the exact same thing about the exact same people and posts (because it is, apparently, a small world after all).  There are several "big" bloggers with lots of followers or "big" sellers on Etsy who have made a name for themselves and who, in turn, offer advice, show off their accomplishments, and who interact mostly with their other big name friends .  And there's nothing wrong with that.  Everyone should be proud of what they've accomplished and I understand them wanting to share and would totally do the same thing, but I guess I feel like there's a time and a place and a way to say it so that it doesn't come off as bragging, uppity, snobbery.  And maybe that's just all in my head, but regardless, it's not making me feel great.

This week I had to laugh because one of the posts on the Etsy blog, titled "5 Ways to Define and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms," offered up this suggestion:

"2. Unsubscribe From Every Blog and Newsletter That Make You Feel “Less Than,” Icky, or Overwhelmed.

If it makes you feel icky, it’s not for you  simple as that. Nothing that you’re taking in should make you feel bad about yourself. Unsubscribe! Even if you think you should read it because everyone else is, or because they’re an industry expert, or whatever  if it makes you feel icky or small, nix it. Then bask in the feeling of empowerment that follows!"

Even Etsy defines it as icky!

Weeks ago, before this was even posted to their blog, I started doing some unfollowing.  I unfollowed bloggers whose posts were leaving me wondering why I was following them.  I unfollowed Tweeters whom I couldn't remember how I started following them, those who constantly tweets ads, or those whose blogs I just unfollowed.  Same deal on Instagram.  And it felt good.  All the inane posts and ads and annoying stuff virtually disappeared (save for a random retweet).  All the Etsy sellers getting the products out there in the market that are still hanging around in my head- gone.  Now I can focus on me, my shop, and the direction I want to take it without feeling behind or worrying that someone will think I'm copying their idea when, really, I just haven't had the time to make it myself.

Not only that, I started doing something crazy: I started talking to my followers.  Instead of following people I thought I should be following, I went through my Twitter list and I started tweeting to people who were following me, who already want to see what I have to say.  And you know what?  Every single one of them tweeted back, and I had a nice chat with every single one of them, and I instantly connected with a handful of new people, and I followed them all back.  I put myself out there by saying something to them when I normally wouldn't have- I'm a really, really good introvert.

This isn't to say don't reach out to new people, or people whom you aspire to be like.  This is just to say, if they're giving you The Ick, it's ok to unfollow them and it just might make you feel a little bit better.

Anyone else have this problem?  How did you remedy it?


12 comments

  1. I started unfollowing blogs, shops, tweets, etc a while back.

    I do still retain some friends that I rather unfollow on Facebook but I have the ability to hide their status updates. I had a relevation once when I saw my best friend posting all of these pictures of her having a great time and doing all of these things. It would be so depressed and lonely because a. I wasn't hanging out with her and b. I have hardly made any friend since I've moved to Charlottesville so it's very isolating.

    Anyway, we would talk shortly after these amazing trips and hangouts and all she would do is complain about how so and so didn't like this or so and so complained the entire trip down.

    That's when I realized that those pictures are very misleading. Those updates are very misleading. Those people are probably having a sucky time and only posting that one.good.pic. So I stopped worrying about it.

    The same goes for bloggers. I will unfollow you if you come off as a douchenozzle in anyway. It's just poor taste and I really think you reconsider your behavior when you are a shop owner and have a presence on social media.

    I have reconsidered purchasing items from some shop owners because of their attitude. I feel eventually it'll catch up to you. I also think it's unfortunate that those shop owners/bloggers may not even notice it too.

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  2. Completely agree that you shouldn't follow anybody just because they're popular. If you're not gaining anything from what they have to say, then it's time to move on. Other people might get something from it, but that's the great thing about the internet: there's plenty of other things to read.

    Promoting your business is important, but it shouldn't be ALL you do with your social media accounts. Making friends has been my favorite part of being online with Etsy and the blog, which is especially important since I work from home and don't have a lot of adult contact unless it's a day I go to school. Without my internet buddies, I'd be a total hermit.

    Anyway, I'm glad you're liberating yourself. :-)

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    1. Oh! And along the lines of being an introvert, I actually met some new people this weekend and didn't embarrass myself. It's the little things.

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  3. I definitely hear you. It is always tough for me to "cut" people from my blog roll list, and I don't know why. There is no reason for me to waste time with blogs that no longer interest me for whatever reason.

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  4. This was really well put! I have been working on this and so far, it is making me feel much better! This weekend was the one of those final moments where I said to myself, "Why am I worrying about what I decide to do based on what others are doing? Why should I always feel like I might be stepping on other people's toes? I can do what I want to do if that was what I was inspired to do!" That in itself was empowering. Taking out the icky aspect is a struggle for me because I am always so worried that I'll upset people and I'm a conflict avoider. However, you make a good point that those same people that make me feel icky are probably too involved in whatever they are doing that they probably don't even realize when you unfollow. It's probably all in my head!

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  5. Good post! And it brings up some really good points. I am personally terrible at social media, at least I think I am. It's just where I'm at in my life, with a five year old and a baby and homeschooling and my shop. I try to interact on my blog with my readers, and that seems to work well, but when I think about trying to be super active on Twitter, or IG, it just doesn't sound like fun, it stresses me out! I see what you mean though. There were a few blogs that seemed to be the "it" blogs for awhile, and the more I read, the less I liked them, so I stopped reading. It's funny how some people/things are defined as popular, and if you really look at them, you start to wonder how they got that status.

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  6. Seriously! I go through a Follow purge quite often just because the numbers just get crazy afterawhile and it forces me to think of why I'm following such people. Also, there have been some bloggers where I've thought "OK! I've had it with you!" and just cut them off. I'm feeling less and less guilty about it. :) Great post!

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  7. I totally agree! I went from following around 300 bloggers on people, to follow just around 40. What a relief! It's exactly what you say: there's the typical bloggers that always seem to just brag, and if you ever happen to interact with them you always get the same answer: a silence.

    I'm doing the same with the blogs I'm following, I don't think they'll realize that I unfollow them considering all the followers that are kissing their feet anyway. And if they realize, I don't care, they never cared about me anyway.

    Very interesting post!

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  8. Good post! I have a very hard time unfollowing, because I know how I feel when people unfollow me.

    Sometimes though, it is relieving and necessary to unfollow, but it's still so hard. I don't want to upset anyone or hurt anyone's feelings...

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  9. I started blogging again...and found your button on my page from ages ago...okay well, a year ago! I must say you have renewed my desire to blog again! :)

    This post especially hit a heartstring...I've been having the same feelings lately on many of my media pages.

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  10. I unfollow. I used to, awhile ago, track who unfollowed me across my social media platforms until I woke up one day, realizing that I didn't really care anymore. So, they unfollow me. I'm not everyone's cup of tea - that's fine. It's not going to bother me if someone unfollows me because I'd much rather have people following me who want to, not feel obligated to. A quality following over a quantity following - you know?

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