So earlier this month, I found I’d been blocked on Twitter by someone whose insights I found valuable and who I’d had little interaction with – the most recent of which was months ago. I wasn’t sure why.
My best guess was they had run some sort of a program to block all of the followers of some other Twitter user or users (I don’t know who) and I’d been part of that.
My first reaction was to be personally offended: “What’s wrong with me? Aren’t I good enough to not get caught in this?”
My second reaction was to be upset with them. “Aren’t they going to be stuck in an echo chamber? Why should I have to monitor who I follow in order to be allowed to follow someone else?”
But then I realized — they don’t owe me anything.
They could have chosen to leave Twitter. They could have made their account private. The end result was the same, for me– I could no longer see their Tweets.
But they had done what was best for them: rather than abandon the platform altogether, they had taken the step of mass-blocking in order to make their experience on Twitter tolerable.
There is a lot of harassment that happens online, and Twitter is far from an exception. I’m lucky enough to get very little of it.
If blanket blocks are what it takes for other people to find this site unable, then I’m going to get caught in some of those sweeps.
When that happens, or even if I, specifically, am blocked, it means a total stranger doesn’t find me as valuable to their experience as I find them. And that’s fine. It’s their experience they need to be concerned with, not mine.
I’m going to use Twitter (and Facebook and whatever else_ the way I use it. But that’s the way I use it. You’re free to use it however you want to make it tolerable.*