Unfollow Is the New Follow

<3

Will not unfollow: Lauren and Katie Jane

Yesterday, I got back from a week of being in Portland and attending the second Vida Vegan Con. It was such a profoundly inspirational experience that I will need at least a week to process all of the events and conversations before I’m ready to talk about them, but there is one overwhelming impression which I wanted to share with you as soon as possible:

<3

Will not unfollow: PandaCookie, Jess Scone

There are so. many. vegan. bloggers.

Will not unfollow: Sayward

That is pretty much the biggest duh ever, right? I know! Except that when I first went vegan, there were only a handful. Really, I just counted in my mind, and there were fewer than five. (Kittee‘s PakuPaku was one of them!)

<3

Will not unfollow: Mo, Kittee, Amey

Now, a dozen or so years later, there are thousands, and I just spent several days with three hundred of the very best of them, and I can’t get over how different we all are from one another.

<3

Will not unfollow: Kelly

So when I heard in various classes or from a fellow speaker or attendee that she really hates when a blogger she follows engages in a certain activity (likegating, body shaming, inauthentic behavior, presenting yourself as an expert when you’re not, and extreme narcissism were all examples), I couldn’t help but wonder…so why are you still following that blogger?1 You have so many choices! Continuing to read the blog of someone who regularly drives you bonkers is like repeatedly wearing a pair of underwear which always gives you a wedgie. Throw the underwear out. Unfollow the bad blogger.

If you really like the person and hope that they knock it off, you could always come back in few months and check in to see if things have improved. If you hugely respect the person and they’re engaging in activity you find offensive, you could always leave a comment saying why you’re unfollowing. Maybe something along the lines of: “I don’t know if you realize this, but some people find those kinds of words triggering or hurtful, and I’m sad to see you use them. For my own health and sanity, I need to stop following you, but just wanted to reach out and talk to you about it first, because I don’t know if you’re aware of the impact you’re having.”

<3

Will not unfollow: Laura, Isa, LazySmurf

I decided at the conference that for every time I unfollow a blogger for bad behavior, I’m going to go look for a new vegan blog to follow. Maybe one of the conference attendees, or someone who participated in Vegan MoFo last year. I’m especially going to go out of my way to start reading fledgling blogs, and to give those people lots of comments and support so that they keep going. I’m committed to giving someone new a chance instead of hoping that this other person will miraculously change her ways.

Do I think unfollowing is going to make the offenders into better bloggers? No way. I do know that it will make me happier to only participate in that which inspires, challenges, provokes, and excites me.

1 I should say that I know that some people actively enjoy reading blogs they hate, but this is not about that.

Comments

Unfollow Is the New Follow — 22 Comments

  1. Okay, so I have to say this is brilliant advice, and such common sense…yet I totally struggled with it. I think it’s easy to follow everyone who has a slightly similar passion, and then I feel guilty when I unfollow. BUT…that said….in the next few weeks I think I’ll clean house a bit :)

    • Crissie: I struggled with it for a long time, too. I just try and look at it like: This person is not going to know that I’m no longer following her. Her feelings won’t be hurt. I need to do what is right for me, which is not to waste my time following a blog that doesn’t fit my needs when there are so many out there which do.

    • Katie, that’s a good question! I have a loose description of blog in the first place, since I consider people who are active on social media to be bloggers, since they are creating content which is in a feed. I think each person needs to decide this for themselves. Certainly there were a whole lot of attendees of Vida Vegan Con who didn’t have what we would traditionally consider vegan blogs. Lots of lifestyle blogs and people who are just active in the community.

  2. you had me at throw away wedgie underwear (for REALS). but seriously, good advice. i have a similar mantra with facebook. hide the people who i’m too connected to delete but whose posts bring me down (in an unproductive way), and delete the ones who spout bile or narcissism. my bar? if you’re someone who i would sit across from and have a beer with (or coffee for teetotalers) in real life and enjoy it, you stay. those who partake in the bile generally don’t fit the bill.

    • Amanda: Those are very, very good FB rules. I have FB rules but I’m thinking of just adopting yours. :)

  3. This is brilliant. Your last point especially. I was just coming to the conclusion that I need to stop reading (or at least take a break from) blogs I claim to enjoy but actually make me feel like crap. Supporting fledgling blogs is a great next step!

    • Noelle: “claim to enjoy but actually make me feel like crap”! So well put.

  4. love this post! I’m not ever gonna unfollow you either!

    I’m totally with you. The SECOND a blog bugs me, I don’t go back. Who’s got time to be annoyed in this life?

    I love you!

    • i love you and josh! when you come to austin (WHEN, LAUREN, WHEN), let’s do ALL THE HANGING OUT.

    • <3 Jackie! you're a new follow for me and i'm so excited about regular doses o' Jackie!

  5. Interesting points. I have never heard of likegating before. I do agree that there are a shit ton of vegan bloggers. I felt like a small itty bitty fish in this big pool of amazing bloggers at the conference. I can’t say that I’ve run into many vegan blogs that exhibit the characteristics you listed. Maybe I never chose to follow the not so friendly ones in the first place *shrugs*. Its tough though. I want to support and be a part of the online vegan community, but there is just so much out there. I do agree with making an effort to support new vegan bloggers. I also try to support and comment on vegan curious blogs as well.

  6. God I’m wearing uncomfortable underwear right now, if I got rid of it where would I be on laundry day???? Did you even think about that!

  7. I have no idea how I have never stumbled upon your blog before, but I’m grateful that all of the VVC posts from other bloggers led me your way! I love this reflection. Like some commenters above mentioned, I too struggle with unfollowing bloggers even if I know they will trigger some of my past ED stuff. The worst part is that I can feel that influence how I write my own blog—like I suddenly feel like I need to perpetuate the behavior I’m against just so I can, like, match the person that made me feel bad in the first place?! That’s just craziness. I’m working on getting better about avoiding blogs that make me feel badly or inspire unhealthy behavior or thoughts, for both my own sanity and the goals of my own blog writing!

    Happy to start following you. : )