Threads Gives You The Chance To Rebuild Your Follow Graph. Here’s All the Reasons You’ll Mess It Up.

a smiling woman putting on headphones to block out all the noisy birds around her, digital art

Part of the novelty in new social products is the fresh start on a social/interest graph. Especially now that we’re smarter in the dark patterns of ‘autofollow all contacts’. and so on, I find anecdotally that more people are going with a Slow Graph (add selectively as they figure out how to use the product) versus Fast Graph bootstrap. Threads is an interesting exception because we usually don’t see a new launch successfully from a company which already has a robust social product, and thus, existing relationships for you (in this case Instagram itself). Meta’s onboarding allows (encourages) you to simply recreate that list onto Threads, even putting Instagram accounts which haven’t yet created their Threads profile into a ‘pending’ status. Once they’re ‘live’ you’ll automatically add them.

I’m here today to encourage the normalization of the unfollow, especially as you decide how Threads will fit into your habits. Toss the social anxiety off and liberally hit that button. Don’t end up ruining your own experience!

But you probably will. Because the growth objectives of these business and our own stubborn behaviors/incentives push us to add add add follows.

I wrote about this back in 2012, citing four reasons our graphs get shitty. I’ll list them below in case you don’t want to read the whole thing, although there are some good tips on how product designers can avoid these traps if you do read it 🙂

  1. Vanity & Ego
  2. Boredom & Pleasure
  3. Reciprocation & Conflict Avoidance
  4. I Like You But Not Everything About You

(Blocking and muting are also endorsed but those are different use cases)