#DontFollowThenUnfollow on Instagram

I treat all of my social networks differently. Since I am learning some new photography techniques, Instagram has become the place where I post the photos that I am most proud of.

I call it my happy place.

But some times, it isn’t.

Don't Follow Then Unfollow on Instagram

There is a new trend on Instagram that has happened to everyone who has an account there — and it goes like this:

  1. You post a photo that you love and tag it so that you can reach out to those who have similar interests.
  2. Someone connects with you (follows).
  3. You think ‘awesome, I’m connecting with my community.’
  4. You check them out and if you like what you see, then you follow them back.
  5. Within 1 – 3 days or sometimes immediately after you follow them, they unfollow you.
  6. You double check their profile and see that they have 20K followers and are only following 1K. Then you realize they just did this to 19K other people.

It’s that easy and it’s that stupid.

Is this the new direction that social media has taken? Has social media just become perceived influence media? Forget about the personal connections that can be made? Forget authentic communities? Forget basic kindness? Just get me more numbers than the next person without paying for them because that would be wrong.

I have news for you.

I know you are pretending to be something you are not. I know what you did to get your numbers. I know the value you place on real connections and engagement.

No word of a lie. I had to sit beside someone recently at an event and listen to them go on and on about how it looks better that they only follow 100 people but 11,000 follow them. It was their goal to NOT be social on social media.

To begin a social relationship with someone by falsely following them when you don’t like anything about them says everything about your character.

Instagram Don't follow then unfollow people, it's rude

If you want to reach out to someone on Instagram, but don’t want to follow them, there is always the like button and you can leave a comment. Other than that, tag your photos appropriately and people will find you.

I don’t care if someone I follow doesn’t follow me back. If I like their stuff, I like their stuff. I care when you pretend to like my account when you only like the extra number I provide if I follow you back.

How can I find out this is happening to me?

I use an iPhone/iPad app called Followers which links all of my accounts including Instagram. After you load it once, It will begin to track who is following then unfollowing you.

What can I do when someone does this to me?

You can unfollow them. You can also block them to send a message that you are not a commodity, you aren’t in high school, and you don’t play immature games. Then they can’t follow you again when they blindly follow people (which has happened to me by individuals, charities, and some people I used to respect in social media).

Well how do I grow my numbers?

BY FINDING YOUR REAL COMMUNITY AND BEING REAL. I’m so tired of amateurs just trying to figure out how to play the algorithms all the time. It must be tiring to continuously be something you are not.

How about just putting out quality stuff?

Follow (and keep following) people with similar interests online. Comment, interact, share, connect. Instagram is a social network.

Be social.

Don’t use people.

someone who wants her old Instagram back — before the people who only cared about numbers showed up.

Found in Online & Tech

Meet the Author

Sheri Landry

Sheri publishes, and writes at This Bird's Day where she shares all of the thoughts in her head without the voices. Sticking mainly with content for Canadians, Sheri shares family stories, product information and anything that fits into her (and her family's) daily activities.

4 comments… add one
  • Sean Dillon Jul 7, 2016, 7:38 pm

    Well said, Sheri. I’m almost upset I even Googled this, but I’m glad you said something so I don’t have to! My new account on Instagram is set up for my professional speaking pursuits and I’m using it as the overflow/staging area for inspirational material I’m working on. It is so encouraging to be “reaching” people–even temporarily, but then using Followers, etc., you see that the unfollowers are a larger number than current followers. I’m trending at about 15-20% of my following disappearing in the first three days. It’s fine with me, but I certainly was curious and I’ve been on Instagram for years. I hope to be reaching the other 80% with something that will motivate them into taking action in their lives, before its too late to focus on something more important than perceived popularity. Those who know us always love us no matter what. Go with that, people. :) Great post.

    • Sheri Landry Sheri Landry Jul 13, 2016, 12:07 pm

      Thanks for the comment Sean. It is really frustrating when this happens. You are right though, your community is in there somewhere and sometimes you need to wade through the sludge to get to the beautiful blue waters. Have a great day.

  • Joelle Feb 11, 2016, 11:42 pm

    YES!! You summed up perfectly how I feel about those types of people on Instagram (and everywhere else). I have actually had that happen to me three times this week. It is so sad that so many just follow others to use them as pawns so they follow back then discard them just to make themselves look good by boosting their followers. And for what? And it truly saddens me to say this, but in my experience it has been mostly women. Why can’t we just support one another in social media as there is truly enough recognition and success to go around? And just follow someone as an appreciation of what they offer to the world as their unique gift? Because to me whatever social media platform someone follows me on, I sincerely hope it is because they feel I have brought something positive and of value to their life. One can dream I guess, right? Great article. Hugs!

    • Sheri Landry Sheri Landry Feb 12, 2016, 1:20 pm

      Thank you for your comment Joelle. I completely agree with all of this. I am disillusioned as to how quickly the world of social media has devolved into ‘keeping up appearances’ versus kindness, compassion and the desire to connect with each other as human beings.

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