Thin Skinned: My Guidelines for Blocking, Muting and Unfollowing on Social Media

Social media has this really strange thing going where it can be incredibly useful and painfully unbearable all at the same time. I value social media, especially Twitter, as I place where I can:

  • Take in necessary information for my job.
  • Network and develop relationships with people in the industry.
  • Point to where my work can be seen, heard or read.
  • Interact with baseball fans.
  • Make lame jokes.

That’s the good. The bad unfortunately is the reaction and comments you sometimes get from folks on social media. Somewhere along the way social media became a place where people felt they can just vent at you, curse at you and tell you how horrible or how dumb your opinions are.

I’ve had multiple times where people called me thin skinned for blocking people who disagree with me on Twitter. Let me be very clear about this, I never mind an opposing view, I’m a firm believer in listening to those who think differently than you do as a necessary component in life. I do however require politeness. I’m happy to engage in healthy civil discourse if I have the time. What does not work and what is not healthy is calling someone names, cursing at them, etc. because they share a different viewpoint.

I’ve reached a place in my life where I try to eliminate as much negativity as I possibly can. Twitter makes that really easy. So I just mute, block or unfollow people who are rude, highly negative in tone or just don’t bring enough consistent value to my timeline or mentions.

It does not mean I don’t like that person, in fact I might like them a lot or admire their work. It just means we’re not social media compatible and that’s ok. I have no problem with people who I know well, are co-workers or who I call friends not following me on social media and you should too.

But for those you don’t know personally, the block feature on Twitter is an extremely vital tool. I block or mute when:

  • You curse.
  • You use the name of God as a curse word. (Highly offensive to any Christian. Read: Exodus 20:7.)
  • You quote tweet me with negativity.
  • You take my tweets and write about them publicly without asking me for a comment first. (You know, like journalism.)

I equate it to having a rude person in your house. You don’t want or need that person there, so you politely show them the door and never invite them back. It’s that simple for me. Why would you allow someone access to you who is rude, uses poor language or who is constantly insulting? Occasionally I give some people a longer leash, but if you become a multiple offender then you gotta go.

And finally the quote tweet, the absolute worst when used improperly! In my opinion quote tweets should be used sparingly. When I am quote tweeted by someone who is trying to get his or her followers to pile on me because they disagree with an opinion I block that person right away. It screams of attention seeking and trying to incite a Twitter mob. If you want to talk to me, talk to me, if you want to get your followers to fill up my mentions then you also have to go. I don’t have time for it or you.

Social media is such a valuable tool for me and I like the opportunities and access it provides. Unfortunately sometimes we have to manage who gets the access.

Be kind.

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