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As a self-professed social networking junkie, I proudly accept my role on the team of users who don’t really care how “popular” they are on social networking sites. But for other folks, being well-received on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. is a matter of life and death. Even the slightest hint of dwindling popularity (in the form of being ‘unfriended’ on Facebook, ‘unfollowed’ on Twitter, etc.) can be cause for concern for certain folks. To some users, it would represent a personal diss, a lack of acceptance, or sign of animosity.

I can’t say I blame you, and I assure you that I’m not casting judgement. In fact, for a while even I used the Twitter service “Who Unfollowed Me” to track people who either stopped following me, never followed me at all, or who didn’t following me back. So please believe me when I say, I get it. So much so, that your brave and intrepid host would like to offer you a solution. Like anything, this may require some work. But here are a few ways to keep your circle of social networking friends intact (if that kind of thing interests you):

(1) Avoid discussing polarizing topics: Simply put, issues of race, religion, politics, society (Hello? All the stuff I talk about here) should be avoided at all costs if you want to keep the community of people you have and possibly gain more followers. You know how they say never to discuss hard-hitting topics at work? The same rule applies for social networking. Some of these topics can clear the room faster than a person living on steady diet of the “musical fruit.”

(2) Avoid posting too much of nothing: If you did an informal poll of social networking users, I’d bet one their biggest peeves would be incessant and pointless posting. Look, nobody likes to have their timelines and newsfeeds flooded with posts about your favorite TV show, your score on Bejeweled, how many miles you ran that day, or pictures of your food. In fact – true story – a guy unfollowed me on Twitter because he said I posted too many tweets about one of my favorite shows, The Walking Dead. It’s not like we were actually friends in real life and I didn’t exactly follow him much online (OK, I didn’t follow him at all. Sue me.), so the loss didn’t affect me either way. But, again, other users might not be as dismissive about it as I am.

(3) Avoid posting crude and offensive material: Well, that should go without saying. Folks posting material laced with racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. are sure to draw attention. But immediately after that, one should expect to draw opposition and – ultimately – disassociation. There’s a reason why Westboro Baptist Church is one of the most hated institutions in the world. It’s not because their cooking.

(4) Avoid being too “goody goody”: Wait a second, Andre. Are you really implying that – in this world of sick and cynical people – being good is a bad thing? For the world’s sake? Of course not. For the sake of social networking? Absolutely. Posting your “Bible Verse of the Day”, cutesy memes with cats and newborn babies, or glittery images imploring a person to “Do a Happy Dance” are signatures of beautifully-souled people (who just happen to live on an otherwise rotten planet). But it’s also a way to get people to unfriend you (see point #2). Often though, to avoid the guilty feeling of unfriending a positive person like you, folks will probably just hide your content from their timeline. Look at it this way, try to avoid being on the extreme opposite side of the jerks from point #3. Find a happy medium, not a happy dance.

(5) Avoid displaying and enabling drama/foolishness: A while ago, I wrote a post warning folks about the perils of feeding the monster of Facebook foolishness. That message is just as pertinent today as it ever was. This applies to just about any manifestation of foolishness you can imagine: stalking people online, creating and perpetuating beefs, playing the role of a drama king/queen to compensate for an otherwise boring life, fishing for compliments, etc. Stop it. It makes you look like you’re 12 years old. Stop it. Seriously, stop it.

(6) Do nothing. Just be yourself: What does this mean? Just what it says. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to avoid being unfriended. Maybe that person just doesn’t like you. It happens. I always believed that if every single person in the world liked you, you’re doing something wrong. In life, we’re all bound to having a few people who dislike us for no other reason except because we exist. Try not to harbor on it too much. Maybe they’re just not that into you.

So, what do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Anything else you can add? If so, the floor is yours. You know what to do!

P.S. OK, I lied a little bit. While I don’t care who follows me on Facebook or Twitter, I’m pretty sensitive about my blog. Don’t unsubscribe, bro! 😉

– ACL

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