There are different types of followers. There are your friends and family, people you only know through the internet, high school alum, random people in your classes, and new girls in your area who want to webcam chat. You make a conscious effort to provide visual and textual entertainment, and they reward you with likes and encouraging comments. But just as all of these people have the potential to lift you up, they have the potential to tear you down. Or worse, haunt you.
The aggressively negative will get under your skin. The words they mark under your picture or snide subtweets will be burn into your eyes and projected on your eyelids when you try to fall asleep. Even if you delete them, they can still run through your head like a terrible song. Like Call Me Maybe or anything by Flo Rida. But at the end of the day, those followers will let you know what they think of you. They give you a definitive reason for not liking you. There’s no gray area. The give you the gift of knowledge.
Ghost followers, on the other hand, just lurk in the darkness. These quiet, faceless forms are the majority of your followers. You may have over a thousand followers, but on how many pictures do you get over a thousand likes? It’s tough to expect everyone to like every single picture, but there is an average of a 10-15% like-to-follower ratio. Ghost followers will mentally acknowledge your post, form an opinion, and keep moving. In rare occasions, he/she will take a screenshot to send to a group chat that will then put you on trial. Those are what really should keep you up at night. The strangers that spend their time spewing hatred about you without you having any idea. This person could be an acquaintance, a friend even. But something as little as the way you are posing will spark a hateful transcript that will exist in the interwebs that you will never see. A part of you knows that situation is possible, but you are never sure. That is a true haunting.
The scariest part about ghost followers is there is one in all of us. There’s one girl that you follow because you would feel weird unfollowing her, even though the last time you talked was a high school track meet. There’s that sister that you can’t stand, but she might send you to standards if you unfollow her. There’s that one girl who does ridiculously pretentious shit like post a picture from their mission trip with a caption about how they wish they could live there (no you don’t, they don’t have running water, you dumb twat). Even celebrities. You ghost follow all of them. You are guilty of sending screenshots to your best friends like dropping chum into a tank of starving sharks. We cause the same chilling feeling of uncertainty whenever we throw someone a follow.
Your followers aren’t just a number that is massed together. They are individual people, each experiencing and interpreting your posts in a different way. Some will like them, and some with even throw them a “like.” The rest will be sitting, watching, waiting, judging. It might even be me..
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