Disconnecting yourself is a truly strange feeling, especially when you've got followers. Now that Google+ has been around for quite some time, I've had the opportunity to engage with it and the people on it in varying degrees of intensity. From checking it all the time to not checking for months, my interest and availability has ebbed and flowed. What I struggle with is A) whether I view this platform as a place for fun or more like a job and B) people's expectations of me.
What I've found is that you can accidentally become someone's role model, enemy, hero, or biggest deserter. Every way someone paints you in their head will affect you. They will project their expectations on you, imagine themselves as more meaningful than they actually are to you, or think that they have a close connection to you because they've been following your posts. This is the part that freaks me out the most and something I'm written about before. People can be truly hurt by you when you haven't done anything.
My actions affect people in unintended ways. I can ruin someone's day by not checking notifications. If I miss someone's important life event because I'm out of town, that person can think I'm heartless. When I took some time off here on Google+, I felt the need to tell people. It's another obligation, but that's one I think is reasonable.
There are so many people here that I still deeply care about. Even if we don't talk every single day, there are many, many people that I would help out if they reached out to me. It's possible that I'm projecting my attitude about taking a step back onto other people, but I think the lesson I'm learning is that I can't be responsible the way I make people feel sometimes - even if they've helped me in an online capacity. When you someone thinks you owe them something you don't, it gets messy. All you can really do is apologize and move on.
Now in the present... This was still the hardest part of getting the following I have. I didn't want to emotionally detach from my followers, but I ultimately had to put more and more barriers up. I recently had one of my followers call me, crying, begging me to talk with her. She felt that I had deserted her and wronged her. She is an alcoholic and she thought she needed me - but that's not my responsibility. Biggest takeaway? There's strength in empathy and in separation.