If you dislike a friend’s content on Instagram, would you unfollow them OR mute them?
For the sake of clarity, I will differentiate the two.
Unfollowing someone means all their content will be removed from your feed and you will be subtracted from their follower count.
Muting someone is similar to unfollowing in the sense that you will no longer be seeing their content on your feed; however, you will still appear as their follower.
I took an interest in this topic because so many people I know get unfollowed from time to time – sometimes, by their own friends, which is what I’d like to focus on today: unfollowing or muting friends. Who cares about strangers or acquaintances from 8 years ago unfollowing you? I simply don’t get offended when this happens because no personal relationship was ever formed. I unfollow acquaintances on all social media platforms when I dislike their content. If they do the same, that’s fine. But, if a friend ever unfollows me, then that’s different.
Following my curiosity, I researched this topic and found that generally, people are pro-unfollowing if they dislike their friend’s content. Their argument? Real life has nothing to do with social media, so you shouldn’t take it personally. I was actually confused by this reasoning. As a digital native, it simply didn’t make sense to me because social media is an extension of ourselves.
When it comes to the question of unfollowing or muting friends, I’m going to argue for the latter. Why? I’d like to preserve my friendships. As much as people say to not take it personally, I err on the side of caution. People will take it personally, I promise you.
Unfollowing a friend to me is just so cold and inhumane. It’s basically sending a message that you don’t want them in your life anymore. Nowadays, people also track who unfollows them through applications (e.g., Unfollow), so they will likely find out as soon as you click “unfollow”.
Here are two reasons why you should mute instead of unfollow when it comes to friends:
1. You will avoid the awkward heated conversation of “why did you unfollow me?”. This has personally never happened to me, but I can foresee it getting really dramatic.
2. You will not hurt their feelings. I believe everyone should get free will of their social media lives. Just because you don’t like your friend’s content, that doesn’t mean you should tell them to stop posting what they like, unless of course it’s unhealthy.
Though my friends generally have good social media presence, what I really can’t stand on social media is overexposure. It’s when people post 5 minutes of their everyday life on Instagram Stories that somehow exhausts me as a viewer. When I find that friends are overexposing themselves, I will mute them for a while and revisit their content later.
But, I will never unfollow them because no matter what I feel about their content, they are still my friends.
What’s your take on this matter? Are you an unfollower or a muter?