Part of my job involves people asking me to give them things like “statistics” and “analytics” and other complex measurements. That is not my favorite part of my job because I have a complicated relationship with numbers. Mostly in that I hate them. This is why I chose to become a writer, because words make sense to me and numbers make me want to ugly cry.
(I am not exaggerating. Ask my ninth grade algebra teacher.)
(Okay fine, remedial algebra teacher.)
But sometimes someone offers to sponsor something like an instagram post, which I enjoy because they send me pretty shoes and also pay me money. Which means that I get to wear pretty shoes and buy food, so I am all in on that plan.
Except typically when people pay you money, they want to see a return on investment. Which is why I downloaded an app that shows a bunch of analytics about my instagram account. I did not even know that sort of thing existed before then, mostly because I used instagram to post gratuitous photos of my cute baby. But it turns out, you can learn all sorts of things about the inner workings of your instagram account.
Including who has unfollowed you.
I did not realize how much I did not want to know that information until I was reading the list of names of people who had clicked the “unfollow” button on my social media page.
Y’all, my feelings were so hurt.
And then I felt indignant.
And I got real southern about it.
Like, “I let that girl borrow my favorite earrings in college and she never even returned them. She BETTER follow my instagram page.”
“Um, we are RELATED. You have to follow people you are RELATED to. Does she NOT want to see cute pictures of my kid because who wouldn’t want to see cute pictures of my kid? Sociopaths, that’s who.”
“Oh, you think we can grab coffee and then you can unfollow my instagram page? ENJOY YOUR FUTURE LONELINESS LATTES.”
(The voice inside my head feels very emphatic about all of the things she doesn’t actually ever say out loud.)
I was commiserating with a few blogging friends about the havoc this stat-tracking app was wreaking on our self-esteem when one of them mentioned that they were surprised to see me on their list of unfollows.
And then I was totally taken aback.
Because I have legitimately never unfollowed a single person on instagram.
At least, not on purpose.
Not because I am a good person or anything, just because I don’t even have time for that.
(I mean, I think I’m a pretty good person in general but literally, I’m just trying to finish an entire cup of coffee and maybe get mascara on both eyes before my baby wakes up again so clearly I do not have the bandwidth to think about how to even do that.)
It was then that we all did a little more digging and discovered that some of the unfollows were an accident, attributed to an algorithm update that had gone awry.
(See? Another reason to hate numbers.)
It showed that I had unfollowed at least half a dozen people that I was sure that I hadn’t.
I wondered if they looked at their statistics and thought to themselves, “Selves, that sassy little blogger unfollowed me! And after I sent her that nice email. That she never even responded to, by the way. Also, she’s not even that funny.”
(I do love words but am admittedly terrible at email.)
That felt awful.
I had reduced relationships down to a click of a button.
I looked at swipe on a screen like it was rejection and struck back with a swipe of my own, stripping away the vulnerable work of investment, the way we’ve given and taken and shared in one another’s lives.
That felt even worse.
So I don’t look at statistics anymore, because it’s the wrong sort of measurement for the gift of community.
“Facebook might try to teach us that friendship is defined by how wide and far and massive our reach, our circles, and our name. But if we will only let Jesus’ example remind us that the kind of friend we are will always be measured by depth, by commitment, by being determined to keep trying over and over again.” – Lisa-Jo Baker, Never Unfriended
And also I’m working on my slightly snarky inner commentary.
Bless my heart.
P.S. Let’s be friends on instagram. I post a lot of cute pictures of my baby.
Today’s post was inspired by my friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who I like to call my Motherhood Mentor, and her new book Never Unfriended. I finished reading it this week and it touched the tender places in my heart where I still feel like a girl on the fringes.
This is the last week to get this fantastic bonus gift from Dayspring if you pre-order and this is literally the best pre-order gift I’ve ever seen. It’s a gorgeous wooden photo display easel with a set of inspirational prints.
So go here or here to put this in your cart right now and then here to redeem your free easel before it ends, because it’s usually $22 and you get it totally free when you order the book! I love Dayspring decor and I love good books and I love Lisa-Jo so it was just a win-win for me all around.
*affiliate links included