Consider the scenario where, a User A follows User B.
Now, B gets a connection update in his/her inbox saying A has followed, and you can either follow back, or just dismiss the update.
When I get the same update via a REST call, in the JSON, I can see the "state" variable is set as "awaiting_action" - which means the user is yet to take an action (follow back/dismiss).
I'm retrieving the unread updates and notifications via REST calls, I can see is that the update is still unread, and the state is still "awaiting_action". So, I'm displaying it as an alert in our internal site.
If the user B goes to A's profile and follows A, and then I do the REST call, I still get that the update is unread and the state is "awaiting_action", so the user still sees this alert - even though it is unnecessary as B as already followed A back.