Monday, August 23, 2010

To Block or Not to Block?


Ah, what goes on with one’s Twitter account during the night? Usually, I see a lot of friendly mentions, follow recommendations, thanks, and so on when I review tweets during my morning coffee. I’ll RT some of them, thank the rest. But yesterday, while several mentions were left for me (at least twenty of them), I really wasn’t too pleased about who the tweeps where.

Actually, there were several accounts mentioning me, none of which I was following. They had different combinations of “alix”, “Cancun”, and “Mexico” in them. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Well, many of them had avatars featuring, well, is there something smaller than a g-string? I chose not to enlarge the avatar for a closer look.

Spent quite a bit of time blocking them all. Then, just to make sure, did a few additional searches and found more accounts associated with the ones that had mentioned me. Blocked those too. I then sent out several tweets warning others. And a few people replied; one even said they had found him too.

Speaking of scantily clad, the other day what looked like a woman in her twenties starting following me, with nothing but black tape placed horizontally in two places. I tweeted to her “get some clothes on girl; sorry, but I have to block you.” And blocked. What was she thinking?

Well, I’m just happy that all the Britney wanna-bees and beyond have pretty much disappeared from Twitter. How many times have you blocked those?

But perhaps a more interesting happening are those tweeps that follow and then unfollow you. Guess they’re trying to keep their follower count down. After the third time for many of them (yes, I do recognize a lot of them), I’ve tweeted to some and asked them why they keep following/unfollowing. Oh, you’re thinking, why do I do this? My curious nature combined with my market research background makes me question just about everything.

One gent tweeted back “girlfriend problems”. Really now? Then he started following me AGAIN. Two days later, unfollowed me. And despite whether or not he was following me, he constantly mentioned me in a tweet as someone to follow. And no, he wasn’t a spammer. Don’t confuse me tweeps; got enough on my plate; no time for shenanigans. He has been blocked.

I know some people automatically block those who have unfollowed. And this happened to me one time where I actually didn’t unfollow. Twitter must have “burped” that day. It was a tweep I didn’t want to lose. Luckily, I had her email address and wrote to her immediately. She was skeptical, but after some back and forth correspondence, believed me. We tweet often now.

When you block someone, they may never know about it, especially if they’re whammy-spammy tweeps. But this isn’t about revenge. It’s about preventing that person from becoming a part of your feed ever again. And take note, they can still run a search on you and still SEE your tweets; a not-so-happy reminder that Twitter is public. So, in essence, blocked tweeps never completely go away.

On a more positive note, you also have the option to unblock someone should you decide to “kiss and make up”. How many times have I heard from someone with an apology for blocking me in error? We’ve all done that, right?

My advice is twofold. One, if someone isn’t clothed up to your standards or is using language beyond what you are comfortable with, block them. Without a second thought. Two, consider others before clicking on block. Don’t we all deserve a fair shake? Are they a spammer? If yes, then block. Are they just a little lost in the Twitter universe and could perhaps use a little support instead of being blocked out of your life? After all, it’s a harsh world out there. Perhaps reaching out to them instead would benefit both of you.

Blocking could be viewed as an end. So you block someone. It’s done. It’s over. Kaput. But when you’ve been blocked, well, while I’ve cited an occurrence of unblocking above, that’s not “the norm”. Yeah, we’ve all been blocked. Leaves a bad taste in your mouth, for sure, since the “why me?” lingers on. And here’s the good news: It’s not important! All those tweeps that follow you and will follow you in the future deserve your attention so much more.

12 comments:

Nyx said...

I was talking about this topic to another person on twitter, told her by time I woke up I'd have a mass of spammers following me (by the end of our tweeting session I'd already gotten 5 such spam followers, of which three where of the nature I said I'd end up getting), when I woke up I had gotten 20 new followers of which 15 where of the spam nature. And that's not to mention the Mentions retweeting some of my comments to the person I was tweeting with (making the tweet way out of context to boot).

Its so predictable at times that one knows that as soon as you mention X topic you will end up having spam followers who will unfollow in short order.

Jan Tallent said...

I immediately block all porn types, forex & gambling sites, money pyramids and those who offer to teach ME how to get more followers but have like 140 to my 7500, lol.

I also block ones that are obviously just wanting NUMBERS, because I am on twitter to engage, be entertained and to learn.

Just my 2 cents :-)

Joy said...

I don't follow back some people who look like they are just collecting followers, especially if they aren't interesting. I have a couple who I need to unfollow just because, well I don't like them. Nice posting. I try to check out peoples blogs though.

Evening Nigh said...

I have blocked a couple followers, for suggestive clothing/ comments. I figure that doesn't look good if people click on my page. Most other things I just ignore -- no one as of yet has really made me uneasy for any other reason.

I do puzzle over people and organizations who follow, unfollow, and then follow again. I have a smaller network than a lot of people, and I have never known anyone to block me. I kind of panicked once when I saw the number of people I was following had gone down, but it turned out someone I knew had deleted that account and soon added me on a different one. Anyway, it's an interesting social world that people couln't have envisioned when I was a kid.

Rob McGuire said...

I don't block people as often as I should, but the spammers and "bikini avatars" always get the block from me.

In cases where I have heated disagreements with someone, I usually just unfollow if I was following and that's usually it.

Jill Manty said...

Nice article. I'm pretty new to Twitter-- it's a bit of information overload for me, but Facebook doesn't bother me, so i guess I'll get used to it. But I'm not terribly thrilled thinking about being "blocked" by other people. Less thrilled, though, with the idea of nearly naked people showing up in my feed :-)

fazrul arhan said...

Yea i met a lot those who follow and then unfollow. They’re trying to keep their follower count down. Agree with Joy,this happened to those who understand that they aren't interesting..so this is the best way. D

Maxine Cook said...

Gerry....you are so right when you say that "Twitter is public. So, in essence, blocked tweeps never completely go away." This is a great post on a very common and sometimes perplexing practice. Thanks for the insight...Max

Sherrilynne Starkie said...

Interesting perspective on Twitter blocking from a personal perspective. I wrote one about businesses blocking followers...the bottom line is that it's a total waste of time, and can be damaging overall. Here's the link http://sherrilynnestarkie.com/2010/08/06/blocking-competitors-on-twitter-total-folly/

Maureen said...

I block all spammers and all porn.

I don't understand the reasoning why some people block others though. I think people forget that blocking can be quite hurtful. Recently, I tried to follow someone and was shocked to see that she had blocked me. I know I shouldn't take it personally but I do feel hurt by her decision to block me. I find myself wondering why she did.

Gerry said...

Maureen,
Don't feel bad. That has happened to all of us. There's plenty of tweeps out there that DO want to follow you; not to worry. Not worth even spending the time thinking about it.

Thanks for all the terrific comments everyone! I sure do appreciate it.

zuls said...

I enjoy reading about this.

About that guy who are not following you but still suggest other people to follow you. Its weird. But there are some logical explanation.

Maybe he is maintaining his following-follower ratio for whatever reason.

Since I believe your account is public, he can see your tweets if he is following the twitter list which you are listed in.

Using hootsuite it will be much more easier to monitor the list :)

I seldom block people.