Unfollow, Unfriend or Block
by Keith Gatling | 6 months ago
When dealing with a disagreeable person on Facebook, someone whose opinions you happen to disagree with, or someone who just happens be annoying or upsetting, you have three options: unfollow, unfriend or block.
A lot of people might opt for unfriending first, but that’s a mistake. I think that mistake is made because not enough people know about unfollowing, and unfollowing is usually all that’s needed.
What’s the difference between unfollowing and unfriending?
When you unfollow someone, you’re still friends. You can still check out each other’s timelines. You can still tag each other in posts and pictures. It just means that you don’t automatically see any of their posts unless they specifically tag you in them.
So if you have a friend who is posting things that bother you...especially during this contentious election season; or maybe your friend was going through a rough patch, and you couldn’t take their ranting any longer; you might want to consider unfollowing them for a while until things calm down. You could even unfollow them permanently.
Unfollowing also results in fewer hurt feelings. That’s because your friend will never know that you unfollowed them...and you’re still friends.
Unfriending is another story altogether. This is when you’ve decided that you no longer want to be this person’s friend, and want to sever all ties between the two of you. That may be a little much. That’s saying that all the good stuff they post is outweighed by the things that upset you. That’s saying that you never want to talk to them again.
And feelings will be hurt, because eventually, when they try to tag you in something, or check your timeline, they’ll find that they can’t. And when they find that they can’t, they’ll wonder why. When they wonder why, they’ll check their friends list. And when they do that, and find out that you’re not on it anymore, they’re going to be very upset.
I know. It’s happened to me. It’s been done to me for situations where a simple unfollowing would’ve been much more reasonable and subtle. And it’s caused a rift that may never be repaired.
Use unfriending sparingly and carefully.
Finally there’s blocking. This is the “nuclear option” that should only ever be used as a last resort. This is for people who are abusive, and who you don’t want to see any sign of you on Facebook. This says that not only do you not want to be their friend, but you don’t even want them to be able to interact with you at all.
When you block someone, if you have a mutual friend, neither one of you will see the other in posts made to a thread on that friend’s timeline. Others will see both of your posts, but you won’t see each other.
And as I mentioned in a previous post, blocking is also useful in groups, where there’s a person or group of people you perceive of as being bullies, jerks, or trolls. Simply block those people, and not only will they never see your posts again, but you’ll never see any of theirs either. And as I’ve also written before, it’s amazing how much my life improved in one Facebook group just by blocking a few people.
Unfollowing, unfriending and blocking; they’re all great tools, but it helps to know which tool to use when.
Want to Learn More?
Facebook For Dummies by Abram, Carolyn
Facebook All-in-One For Dummies by Herndon, Daniel
How to Do (Just About) Anything on the Internet by Editors of Reader's Digest
Is This Thing On? by Stokes, Abby
Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Teen by Mackenzie, Robert J. Edd
Dataclysm: who we are (when we think no one's looking) by Rudder, Christian
Messing with the enemy: surviving in a social media world of hackers, terrorists, Russians, and fake news by Watts, Clint
Tribe of mentors: short life advice from the best in the world by Ferriss, Timothy
Additional Tech Tips from Mr. G
Tech-Tips-Facing-Facebook.pdf for Facing Facebook