Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Block More, Fix the Stupid Internet

According to a nice new tool called Blocktogether, I am blocking 16 people on Twitter. I was worried about what this tool would show me: Would it be 16 reminders of times I was wrong, or acted stupid, or engaged in some sort of petty feud? Would I be ashamed? Here is what it said:

@monteiro (Mike Monteiro)
@darth (darth™ )
@RyanHoliday (Ryan Holiday)
@pmarca (Marc Andreessen)
@gabestein (Gabriel Stein)
@SteenKJW (Steen)
@Max_Fisher (Max Fisher)
@BorowitzReport (Andy Borowitz)
@tomwolber (Tommy Wolber)
@paxdickinson (Pax Dickinson)
@WyanRilson (jack danielsaur)
@DylanByers (Dylan Byers)
@paulcarr (Paul Carr)
@NYTFridge (NYTFridge)
@ChristineTWang (Christine Tien Wang)
@GlennF (Glenn Fleishman)

I don't remember blocking about a third of these people, and don't clearly remember who three of them are. There is certainly evidence of pettiness here! Arguments I didn't want to finish, buttons clicked in the heat of the moment, silly Twitter-only conflicts that are too embarrassing to recount. I am a little sorry for that, but I will not be unblocking any of these people. This list is a much more honest expression of my preferences than my follow list, which is garbage. This is my real Twitter account, and so I stand by it. I plan to cultivate it and help it grow. I will boast of my blocks. For every new follow, three blocks. I will Own my Owns, and you should too.

Matt's list is longer; he uses blocks more frequently, and, I would argue, much more effectively than I do:

AntDeRosa (Anthony De Rosa)
ginamdunn (Gina Dunn)
adamswbrown (Adam)
ShawnKing (Shawn King)
techsavvy (Matt Buchanan)
patlyk (patlyk)
Mikeisaac (Mike Isaac)
morganwarstler (Morgan Warstler)
MattHurst (Matthew Hurst)
mrb (Matthew Buchanan)
mdaisey (Mike Daisey)
ashedryden (how about no conf)
cpawl (cpawl)
samgustin (Sam Gustin)
kziel (Kris Ziel)
jaycarozzi (Javier)
PrintsCharming (Ryan Smith)
xonder (Alexander)
freekdeman (Freek de Man)
notoakie (oakie)
searchmeinc (Searchme.com)
ringernation (Jonathan Weaver)
akour_ (Ahmed Akour)
travelchannelgo (Travel Channel GO)
wiifitproject (Wii Fit Project)
WhoWhat (#WhoWhat)
puluwai (Puluwai Real Estate )
davidsirota (David Sirota)
klturi421 (klturi421)
VanityFair (VANITY FAIR)
froesei (Ivan Froese)
NonRevAdventure (Bruce Bere)
syllogic (Syl Mulder)
CoNOrgsMattM (Matt Millsaps)
sdcrane (Stuart Crane)
moorehn (Heidi N. Moore)
mediazerm (#mediazerm news)
hleman (Hope Leman)
kittylyst (Ben Evans)
vineetsingh (VineetSingh)
hunterw (Hunter Walker)
samatlounge (Sam Missingham)
votetocracy (Votetocracy)
ariokage (Lea Hannigan)
iPhoneCTO (iPhoneCTO)
pro2rat (professor rat)
vsabhi (Abhi Sharma)
svatikirsten (Svati Kirsten Narula)
mommamiaria (Maria A)
muckrack (Muck Rack)
cocoricks (coco ricks)
evgenymorozov (Evgeny Morozov)
braincellsgood (Kevin C)
redapron (redapron.com)
shitanshuverma (Shitanshu Verma)
faizairmac (Faiza Chowdhury)
Staceynzoey (Stacey King)
GianlucaRispo (Gianluca Rispo)
lwfoxwell (Lennie Foxwell)
sdhousehunting (Jeremy Katz SDHH)
leoofborg (Bad Uncle Leo)
KiwiPixel (KiwiPixel)
TapThatGuy (Tap That Guy)
coffeeforkicks (Lincoln Donaldson)
CPA_Fans_Page (Earla Riopel.USAnews)
InstantWeb (Snapshot of the Web)
ladybeazley (Lady Beazley)
Tips4Tech (Allan Pratt, MBA)
morgannels (Morgan Sandquist)
gathtata (Gath_-_-kats)
sujith_web (Sujith S Nair)
UberFacts (UberFacts)
greg_gray_ray (Greg Ray)
EdwinKorver (Edwin Korver)
Laldinfela (Laldinfela Pachuau)
everybodyiknow (Christian's Bot)
True4m (Godstruform)
lilville155 (lillian falciglia)
damy_kim (Damy Kim)
JrPenny (Junior Penny)
patosins (Patrick Osinski)
gabyncontreras (Gaby Nuñez Contreras)
thepinwale (Ismail Jadun)
XVisionNow (XVision)
shaymitchfanss (Stephanie)
Phoblographer (The Phoblographer)
TweetsFromNYC (New York)
WhiteHousePtbo (White House Hotel PR)
youngt1986 (willie bryant)
SuperZeroMovie (Super Zero)
DylanByers (Dylan Byers)
SharonMTeel (Sharon M. Teel)
makezens (ZENS)
uniofsurreyarts (Arts at Surrey)
jasey153 (jasey dickson)
davisagirl90 (davisajordan)
coraliecanelle (coralie Mason Wilson)
yamahateaminfo (pingi)
BrightApollo (christopher wanko)
paulcarr (Paul Carr)
bingo418 (SallyKim)
ArielMondi (Ariel Mondi)
1938loren (Loren Feldman)
BezelDollGrp (Bezel Doll Group)
veter_iok (Anna Baidachnaya)
SarahSlocum (Sarah Slocum)
rnorthboy (rnorthboy)
MattAtTheBrief (Matt Buchanan)
LaLimonadaTO (LaLimonada)
geetayl0r_ (?gee?)
socmedtech (socmedtech)
Sparkle_Policy (The Sparkle Agency)
usefoolapps (Actions)
retreatrdotcom (retreatr)
mike120699 (mike egna)
cashshower (CashShower)
Wonam6 (Casey)
yashalevine (Yasha Levine)
bouffordbzgfd9 (Boufford Axton)
huytuandecor (huytuandecor)
MakeSomeoneLove (Sam Stone)
RhafTonreyUJAS (Rhaf Tonrey)
JadaMix (JadaMix)
mimi98loll (mimi)
MarcoTimelli (Marco Timelli)
Katheleenq26 (Katheleen Ridlen)
strebeckk6 (Strebeck Jobs)
royalangel4 (oyinlola moses)
Minbox (Minbox)
LocishOfficial (Locish)
8515Jairo (jhon jairo )
Galaxkey (Galaxkey )
FPhones (Free phones)
dust_particle (Dust Particle)
yo_thanland (Than's Stellarbot)
ashokaap (ashokaap)
JesleyCassidy (Jesley Cassidy)
peerintech (Peerin Tech)
MrHatefulMean (Mr. Hateful Mean)
mojVkANRKw (morgan mcdonald)
thewritealice (thewritealice)
YoungFreshHD (?i?? ?i? ƒ???€?– ??)
7411nigeria (7411 Nig. Directory)
takez7 (takez7)
Reeppyu (Reetta S)
WhoisWallet (WhoisWallet)
victor03972867 (victor)
doug_stellar (Doug's Stellar Bot)
ivana_jonovic (Ivana Jonovic)
Benzy92Laryea (benjamin laryea)
TheClippy (Clippy)
SnapchatShot (Snapchat ?•??•?)
experimenttess (Tess )
lezlowfreegen (lezlow@freegenmail.c)
InstantAutogrhs (Iautographs)
Bravesoul79 (Jason)
Johnson67LARRY (LARRY Johnson)
sesssnt (#Savepalestine)
felix_sande (estevao felix sande)
HistoryInPics (History In Pictures)
AlexyBome (gogita)
JoaquinTamiroff (Seth Edenbaum)
h8reads (Hate Reads)
JbGelasius (Gelasius)
dodo (The Dodo)
beinganddying (Being and Dying)
CrusadesPay (Henry Wise)
alicehuttep (Alice Huttep)
minaj9_nicki (nicki)
OweYaa (OweYaa)
FauxFranzen (Faux Franzen)
ICantGetABoner (ICantGetABoner)
holybiever (holybieber)
SpaceGreyiPhone (Space Grey iPhone 5S)
hdvhardcore (hdvhardcore)
abomhawed1 (???? ??????)
EzeeCube (Ashok Jaiswal)
AvalonRadys (Avalon Radys)
clarabarbosa19 (clara barbosa )
CESrpg (#CESrpg)
cem3394 (chris mckinlay)
TheWNOfficial (World News)
iOSShiftKey (iOS Shift Key)
ExMediaMan (Media Man)
britney_spider (Britney Spears)
ClippyTheClip (Clippy)
Gabrielmendza (Gabrielle Mendoza)
GlaycePin (glayce imaculada pin)
promotionsweb (Web Promotions)
GShuttleBus (GTrainShuttleBus)

There is nothing to explain here. This is a list of the forsaken and forgotten: People who tweeted too much, who slipped up once or twice, who posted a "Thank god it's Friday" joke on two consecutive Mondays, who were wrong in such a way that would obviously never be remedied and therefore earns them permanent silence. If you grant that actively using Twitter and maintaining mental hygiene are not mutually exclusive, this is the proper way to do it.

Anyway, try this. It's great! Blocktogether seems to be a little busy right now, but BlockedBy.Me is a good alternative. Check your block list and share it with the world. Don't just tell your blockees that you're tired of them. Tell the entire stupid internet! People may look at your list and think less of you, which is fine. They deserve to be blocked too. Others may look at your list and think: Why do I let people continue to retweet that obnoxious venture capitalist into my feed? Why do I occasionally continue to put up with that fake photo account that people can't stop falling for? Oh, this one, he is definitely a harasser, and should be blocked by every single Twitter user in the world. Brand? Blocked. And that annoying guy, I've seen too much of him lately, so maybe I should block him too. Blocking is power in a situation otherwise defined by endless concession.

Name, shame, own. Who cares, let's do a hashtag: #OWNYOUROWNS. Block them. Block them on Facebook, too. BLOCK THEM ALL. Music helps. Put on some sunglasses and crank "Barracuda."

You lying so low in the weeds
I bet you gonna ambush me
You'd have me down, down, down, down on my knees
Now, wouldn't you, Barracuda? Oh-oh-ohh

Unfriend like the icy wind. Post less, ban more. Ideally just don't post at all, and block all the time.

Image by Anthony Fire

10 Comments / Post A Comment

ericdeamer (#945)

I blocked 571 people. I beat both of you. I'm the best at twitter.

John Herrman (#8,286)

@ericdeamer GREAT job.

brianvan (#149)

Not happy until I can see the list of who's got me blocked.

Pulp (#1,885)

Who blocks Darth?? I mean, not following him is one thing, but wow.

smrtmnky (#4,538)

@Pulp exactly.

fraction (#284,707)

@Pulp Right? Block is heavy. It’s for spammers and harassers. Mute is for @Monteiro … and, if you must, @darth (whom I follow, and sometimes enjoy).

Ralph Haygood (#13,154)

"If you grant that actively using Twitter and maintaining mental hygiene are not mutually exclusive": I'm not sure I'm willing to grant that.

However, yes indeed, block early and often! Do it on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else you can. (Blocking is the one genuine virtue of Facebook commenting on blogs and other sites. When a troll has laid a doodie in a comment thread you're reading, you don't have to wait for a moderator to ban them, you just say "bye bye" and never see them again.) The Internet, like "real life", is infested with savages. Unlike "real life", on the Internet, they're easy to get rid of.

Mr. B (#10,093)

The Internet, as Mickey and Sylvia, in their 1956 hit single, remind us, the Internet is strange.

Nick Douglas (#7,095)

I don't understand, why block people for the reasons you listed when an unfollow is nearly always sufficient? Not that it's a big deal—I found myself kneejerk defensive about some of the listed names before I realized that, well, who cares?

Though it is a touch aggressive to publicly post a modern version of an enemies list, especially when one or two "enemies" inevitably become friends or colleagues, and now there's emotional spinach in your teeth.

John Herrman (#8,286)

@Nick Douglas A little aggressive. But I would love to talk about these blocks in person, where we might actually get somewhere! If the blockees care, they already know they're blocked; if not, well, they don't care. I think it'd be interesting to normalize making these inverted follow lists public — people can already tell when you don't follow people. Why not broadcast your decision to disengage with them all the way?

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