Thursday, 16 April 2015

To Block or Not to Block? - That is the Question.


As somebody who is quite capable of starting a fight in an empty room, I write this blog post in some trepidation but in my defence, I have been asked twice recently to intervene and advise people on Twitter who've found themselves in a difficult situation with other users. So here for what it's worth, is my 2p take on dealing with criticism, abuse and people who seem to have their own agenda.

When I joined Twitter in July 2012, I believed that I had to put up with whatever I got thrown at me. I also believed (indeed I still do) that it behoves us as writers NOT to get into flame wars on social media. I see myself as ''a brand'' and as such, I do not want to lose my good rep by tearing publically into other people.

I am also aware that I represent Crooked Cat Books and if I misbehave, it reflects badly on them and on the rest of my fellow writers. I always recall the sole occasion I ''did'' the Edinburgh Book Festival as an Usborne writer, and witnessed two well known authors laying into each other viciously in the writers' yurt. I have never read any of their books since. We are the brand ... as I said.

So, let's look at the various ways and means available on Twitter to rid oneself of the unwelcome Tweeter.

1. Ignore them. Basic practice. Whether they are following you or not. Just ignore. Eventually they will get the message. However, if they don't and you want to progress this a stage further:

2. Mute them: I use this for people who irritate me, but who are not personally insulting or aggressive. (I'm currently muting a lot of people whose politics I disagree with). They won't know you've muted them but it means their tweets do not appear in your timeline, giving you the chance to unmute them later.

3.  Unfollow them: If you are following anybody who you feel is making your life difficult (see below for definitions) you can just unfollow. Of course, they may still continue to follow you and send you Tweets, but they will have noticed (hopefully) that you have done the equivalent of turning your back on them.

4. Soft Block them: If you block someone and then unblock them, Twitter will automatically assume you are not following them any more and vice versa. It's probably one of the most effective ways to detach yourself.

5. Block them: This means they cannot tweet you directly, nor can they see your tweets and comment on them directly to you. It is the ultimate sanction. If they try to tweet you, they get: You are blocked from following @X and viewing @X'sTweets.


Reasons for shedding people:

1. They are taking up too much of your time.
2. They are constantly DMing about promos, reading their books etc.
3. They are being critical of your tweets/promos.
4. They are being over friendly too fast.
5. They are bombarding your timeline/convos with their opinions.
6. They are making inappropriate comments or suggestions.
7. You suspect they are not what they appear to be.
8. You feel uncomfortable about them for any or whatever reason.

Twitter is like life - you wouldn't hang out with people who criticise you or don't ''get'' you in real life. So do not hesitate to apply the same criteria to people on social media. There are plenty of lovely genuine supportive people in the Twittersphere. Hold on to them like gold dust. Trash the rest.
And finally, however tempted, taunted, teased, trolled or trifled with you get: DO NOT FIGHT BACK! You may win privately, but you will lose publicly.
Just trust me on this.

38 comments:

  1. An excellent post with very sound advice.

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    1. Thank you. All methods above tried and tested.

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  2. Oh yes - besides, life is to short to get into twitter-fisticuffs. It's such a waste of energy when there are books to read, words to play with, planes to be caught. I ignore, or unfollow - and block anything obviously racist or sexist. Then go away and do something fun!

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    1. quite...and resist the temptation to dive in...

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  3. Far be it for me to disagree with such an excellent and reasonable post,

    but...

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  4. Sensible advice, Carol - thank you.

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  5. Mostly social media is great and people are friendly and helpful or just amusing. We shouldn't let the odd irritant spoil that. In theory it should be harder than 'real life' to fall out with people as it's easy to literally switch off and/or take time to think about our response - odd that doesn't seem to be the case.

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    1. I think because it is so impersonal, the temptation is to justify all the time..hence we can't shrug and walk..

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  6. Great advice for all social media platforms - and for life! Cull what isn't working and nurture what is. Thanks Carol x

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  7. Good advice! As one who's been blocked a few times for fighting back, I wish I had your self-control. My major malfunction is impulse control, and it leaps into high gear on social media. But I'll try to take your excellent advice. Thanks Carol, for the Sense and Sensibility.

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  8. Great post, as always, Carol. I completely agree about not arguing back. I normally jump straight to 'block' so it's interesting to read about mute as a less radical option. Elizabeth x

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    1. Mute is now my go-to ..there are very few people who require straight blocking ( we can spot them a mile off anyway). And it gives you a breathing space to decide. Once you've blocked, that really IS it.

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  9. Speaking as someone who almost get blocked by Carol for posting her a picture of my underpants, I think this is all excellent advice.

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    1. At least you weren't in them at the time....

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  10. Very good advice, Carol. Thanks for sharing. I haven't tried muting, but will now look into it. I usually unfollow quickly if someone annoys me, but muting might seem a little less, umm, drastic.

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  11. Yes, people come in all varieties, and no one pleases all the people all the time, but you give good practical advice that's easy to put into practice for those who cross the line. Thanks as always!

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    1. Thanks Teagan ..mind, giving it is one thing, applying it is another....

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  12. Excellent advice, Carol, thanks :)

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  13. I didn't know about muting either - not that I've ever felt the need to do that, but it's good to know. I have blocked a few people, though, mainly because they tweet or re-tweet pornographic material - something I absolutely do not wish to be confronted with when I open up my timeline. I don't suppose they even notice, which is fine with me. Great advice, CarolStar!

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    1. Thanks Val. I have blocked a few 'fakes' recenty as I'm fed up of their posturing

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  14. Thanks for this post, Carol. You put everything into perspective as always...

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  15. Very useful post Carol, thanks for sharing, I had no idea about the muting thing either so that's good to know :-) I can't be doing with confrontation online or in real life so generally just walk away - life is too short not to!

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  16. A lot of these principles...eg; blocking and muting, could prove a great asset if only we could apply them in the real world!...

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  17. I haven't got a great deal to add - you've said it all! Every day I get people sending me links to their books or asking for money, etc - I mostly just block them immediately. If that's how they use Twitter they're pointless follows, anyway. I rarely look at the timeline so I don't bother with the muting thing. I don't very often get people having a go at me these days, but I usually have my say and then block them, ha ha!!!! The over friendliness is the most difficult one, I think - but we live and learn....!

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    1. We both had an over friendly one recently..the other thing I didn't mention, but I prob value the most, is friends pointing out to me when someone is a nuisance to them...and alerting me to their nuisance potential to me, Doesn't always work..I've recently told someone about a man I blocked for being a total prat but she refuses to see it. (Cute but fake avi). Can't help everyone.

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    2. Ah, it's each to their own, I guess. Perhaps she enjoys the attention!!!!

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  18. Is being able to block people from seeing your tweets a new thing? I thought that even if you block them then they can still see your tweets. I'm probably hideously behind the curve though!

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    1. No, they can't. Twitter changed this a while ago. If you block them, you can still see theirs if you click on to relevant link. Yours are protected.

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  19. I think I've only ever blocked about two people but yes, there's no excuse for abuse or trolling and it really is the only way to deal with it. Great post Carol, lots of sound advice

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  20. This post came at an opportune time for me Carol. have been discussing similar issues with Terry, today. Am taking everything on board. many thanks.

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    1. terry is very hardcore..and sensible. Even now, I have given people the benefit of the doubt..but my instincts have always proved right in the end!

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  21. Thanks for this, Carol. I've certainly learnt something as I hadn't previously taken the time to understand the difference between muting people and blocking – I think I might have been a bit harsh in blocking people when I was more irritated than offended by their tweets.

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    1. ditto until I got the difference...

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  22. How can anyone get angry in a yurt...? Nice post, thanks Carol didn't know about muting either, very handy :)

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    1. I know...very publically, is my reply. Everybody went silent, in a 'oh look this is an interesting bit of floor just here'' sort of way

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    2. Don't you just love those moments? :) although, love the expression 'I could start a fight in an empty room' :)

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  23. Great advice Carol. I wasn't aware of muting either - every day's a school, eh?! Thanks

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