What’s Your Ratio?
A trend as old as social media itself; the strategy of following an account in the hope of them following you back, (or at least liking a few of your photos) and then unfollowing them to keep your “ratio” (number of followers to followings) sweet. People are pretty divided on this issue; either you are someone abhorrently against it, or you pretend to be – whilst secretly tapping the follow button under the table.
We Get it
To be honest, it’s understandable. It really is. We’re living in a world where your popularity is measured by the number of people who follow you online – not the number of friends you actually see in a week or those who text you, rather than tweet you. So of course people will go to such time-consuming lengths to increase their number of followers.
False Inflation of Followers
Essentially, this whole practice degrades the point of social media and growing your online community. Real connections aren’t made on genuine interest for one’s posts – instead, connections are arbitrarily made based on who appears to be nice enough to follow you back as a gesture of goodwill for following them first. It’s true, the foundations of this strategy are sound – people are psychologically more inclined to help someone who has helped them. This inevitably results in false inflation of followers. As one chronic ‘Follow-unfollower’ grows their follower base, the people around them start to feel like they need to keep up. Sometimes it’s not so easy to gain a large amount of followers in a short amount of time (unless you have access to good lighting, a small bikini and lucky genes), so people resort to the cheap strategy of following an unfollowing to inflate their followers. The cycle goes on.
With the increase in apps which let you know when someone has unfollowed you, the social media community has become obsessed with this notion of reciprocal following and/or unfollowing. It’s a tit for tat game which no one can win.
So Let’s Start a Revolution
(Yeah, I said revolution). From now on when you get a new follower, check out their profile and only follow them back if you are genuinely interested in what they have to say/show. Also, if you find yourself looking at your follower number with the face you have whilst watching YouTube FAIL Compilations, remind yourself of why you started using social media in the first place. Was it to have a large number next to your name? Or was it to share your thoughts (and occasional cat selfie) with people following you, for you.
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