Block Away! It’s OK to Make Your Social Media Interactions Positive
This week, I wrote about blocking people on social media. To reiterate: It’s fine. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.
Dominic Powell shared:
On Medium, I see the comments section like a room — so for example, the comments section of an article about trauma will likely contain people who have experienced trauma, and so I would leave comments that are considerate to the people visiting that ‘room’. Some people feel they can enter any comments section and say whatever they like, then get indignant when others react negatively. Would those unintentional trolls walk into a church and start shouting ‘God is dead’? Would they be surprised to receive a negative reaction? They really are losers.
Welcome, and thanks for commenting! “Considerate” is the key word in your comment. It’s a massive red flag when someone who refuses to show consideration for others rages while demanding it for themselves. I wasn’t trying to be inflammatory or clickbaity by talking about abuse. There is a lack of respect for the rules of society at work when people troll but not in a way that speaks to trying make things fairer or more equitable. It’s all about making other people feel uncomfortable and attacked. I would put money on it that everyone who trolls on the internet is abusing someone in real life or will soon. All that poisonous hostility comes too naturally — it’s their default setting. It has to spill over into how they engage with people face-to-face.
They’re exactly the kind of person who would interrupt a funeral to tell mourners “God is dead, and there’s no heaven!” How quickly they go to what is offensive tells you they know exactly what room they’re in, who their audience is, and what to say to ruffle feathers. It’s deliberate, and it’s incredibly narcissistic. That’s another reason I mute and block. Narcissists derive a sense of power from regulating other people’s emotions. It’s always a bad idea to allow them in your space if you can avoid it. When people show you who they are, believe them — the first time.
Lakitha Tolbert shared:
I do not understand people who feel guilty for blocking assholes on their social media. I have blocked whole hordes of people on my Tumblr, on my blog, and on here too. (Actually, people that show out on my blog get sent to Spam, and I never know even that they’ve read anything of mine). As soon as I see that a person has nothing interesting to contribute to a conversation, I will block. Not only do I not want to see their comments anymore, I don’t want them interacting with anything I post.
When I was a child, if I acted a fool in school, or in my Grandma’s house, I got a time out in the corner, where not only could I not interact with anyone or any situation in the room, but no one could interact with me. I treat my online spaces the way I treat my personal spaces. I’m happy to share space with someone as long as they behave correctly. In fact, it’s very like the rules of my Grandma’s house. If they show their ass, they’re getting kicked out/blocked.
If a person wouldn’t act like that in their Grandmother’s house, why would they think they could come into my house and act a fool?
I co-sign all of this 100%. Why are so many people feeling bad for not allowing other people to treat them poorly? “Toughness” is overrated, in my opinion. It probably means you’re suppressing emotional trauma and will have a heart attack before you reach middle age. When I started writing these responses to comments, I didn’t want it to be people just agreeing with me and us patting each other on the back. But years online gave me a pretty good B.S. meter, so even posts that seem “normal” sometimes contain a turn of phrase that lets me know I’m dealing with one of the people who is a racist, sexist dirtbag but lacks the self-awareness to realize it. I don’t engage with them either. In a way, they’re worse than the trolls who are acting in bad faith and know it.
“I don’t want them interacting with anything I post.”
This is what a lot of people miss about the utility of the block function, especially on Twitter. Even if you have someone muted, they can still wreak havoc in your replies and abuse your followers. But you won’t be able to take action to stop it. A locked, bolted door is the best option, in my opinion.
This whole conversation has me pondering how the world might be different if enough people had actually listened to the groups the trolls began their attacks with. The forums spewing out these mass shooters overlap with Facebook pages and other online gathering spots where abusing women, racialized groups, and the LGBTQ community were directives. People have been shouting about them for years, trying to warn that they were dangerous. They were derided as hysterical. Now what? The horse is out of the barn. I’m not sure what the answer is, but whenever Jack Dorsey or Mark Zuckerberg speak, I get only more depressed about the state of affairs. I have zero confidence in their ability to address the problem meaningfully.
Wanted to end on a lighter note, but sometimes it’s not possible. Anyway… Thanks for reading!