It’s no secret that we’re overloaded with information. We invented the information superhighway in the 90s and we haven’t been able to get off of it, and now it’s sort of like we’re standing right in the middle of a six-lanes-in-each-direction freeway. And it is overwhelming, for sure.

How does a person stay in control and not get run over?

Unfollow. Unlike. Defriend. Unsubscribe. Those are your answers – and if you’re saying to yourself, “BUT I CANNOT,” well, stay tuned because I have a cheat for you later.

It’s become entirely too common that the follow (or the like, or subscribe, or whatever the official term is per platform), it’s taken so personally. I will tell you right now, there are people who I love deeply and yet their tweets don’t interest me. It’s not some crime to have tweets that don’t interest me or anyone else! Every single person comes to social media for their own reasons. And expressing your disinterest through unfollowing shouldn’t be considered a personal injustice. And furthermore, if the original tweeter is doing social media right, they’ll be more concerned that their followers are doing so for the RIGHT reasons. You’ll hear social media marketers say, neigh, preach, again and again, “It’s not about the numbers.” And it’s not, really and truly – let that sink in. It’s about the genuine connection you can get out of any platform, and if I’m not interested in what you have to say, well. There go your hopes for genuine connection, and after that point, is an unfollow a big deal? It shouldn’t be.

This advice isn’t new, but I urge you to go through all of your social channels at least quarterly and clear out the cruft. What is cruft? That’s up to you. My cruft falls into a few categories:

  • Inactive: there’s no point to keeping you as a follow if you never say anything.
  • Overactive: and the reverse – if you say so much that you crowd out the others, there’s no point to that either.
  • Disinterest: I can like you just fine as a person or brand, but if your posts don’t resonate with me anymore, you’re gone.
  • Envy: If I find myself overly envious of your successes, I’m probably going to unfollow. I don’t come to social media to feel badly about…anything.

If I could wave a magic internet wand, I’d remove the stigma of the unfollow across every platform. It isn’t a personal attack and it’s no reason to feel badly about your content or yourself – it shouldn’t be taken as an insult. And you, as an information consumer, shouldn’t be afraid to unleash the grand and mighty power you have to control what’s coming through your stream. Repeat this to yourself: It’s not personal.

Because I promised up above, I am going to offer you a small cheat, but only after you swear to me that you will repeat “It’s not personal.” to yourself five times. I will wait.

OK. The cheat is this – for Twitter, it’s lists, and for Facebook, it’s unfollowing. Twitter lists are a whole separate post, and Facebook unfollowing is super simple. With the Newsfeed as it currently exists, hover over any post, and you’ll see a gray down arrow. Click it, and then click “Unfollow FirstName LastName”. You can also do this with brands, if you still want to officially like them but not see the posts in your feed. This is your cheat, but I do encourage you to really consider if you still need to be connected to the person or brand you want to unfollow.

Set yourself free, my little birds!