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.