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When Writers Block You on One Platform, It’s Harassment to Stalk Them on Another
Hate posting is part of the internet, but I don’t have to like it
“Why did you block me, coward? I guess you aren’t man enough to debate me!”
I get messages like this all the time. It happens after I block people on one social media platform. They move over to another social media platform to find me there.
“How dare you block me! That’s so rude! Now, I want you to sit there and read all my nasty, illogical comments and insults and think about what you did!”
Why do people think it’s going to work to call me a “coward?” Didn’t these people watch Back to the Future 3?
“What’s the matter McFly? Are you a chicken?”
That didn’t work when I was in 3rd grade and it doesn’t work now. I’m writing this article because some writers don’t seem to understand that you owe absolutely nothing to anyone you meet online.
Got that? You owe them nothing!
You don’t have to waste your life on asinine comment threads. You have no obligation to try and convince a stranger of something they steadfastly and irrationally refuse to believe is true. Your time is better spent writing productive articles than wasting your life arguing with false actors.
It’s as if the people (and bots) that you block think, “What a fool! Doesn’t he realize there are more social media platforms where I can pester them?”
My response is, “Don’t you realize that every single social media platform has the block feature?”
Unsolicited friend requests from random dudes
I was at a party once when a friend of mine looked at her phone. Her face twisted up in confusion. “What the heck?” she asked.
“Some random guy sent me a friend request.”
She showed me the guy’s profile picture. In the image, he was dressed up in wrestling gear. He was wearing protective headgear and a mouth guard.
“Check your message requests,” I said.
She did so, and her eyes widened again. “Listen to this,” she said. Then she began to read, “Hey darling, I saw your profile pic and I knew I had to meet you. Back in high school, I was the state wrestling champ. Perhaps we could get together and I could show you some self-defense moves, free of charge of course…”
I was most disturbed by the use of the ellipsis. “Write him back and tell him you want to meet him at the Motel 6 in Boise, Idaho tomorrow at 11:47AM.”
“Why such a weirdly specific time?”
“Because that will confuse him into thinking it must have some significance and he’ll be so focused on figuring out what it might be that he’ll overlook the fact that the whole request is utterly bizarre.”
“Then you don’t show up and you block him.”
“No, I’m not doing that.”
She was right, of course. This whole conversation took place when the internet was still young and none of us could have foretold the true horrors that awaited us. Instead of following my advice, she blocked him.
That’s what you do. Don’t even read the whole message. Just hit block! Protect yourself people!
Screenshots of all private messages should be legal to share
It seems to me that a lot of our laws tend to protect abusers. Here’s a thought: Maybe we’d have fewer abusers if we stopped passing laws to protect them?
I’m uncertain if I have the legal right to take screenshots of the nasty messages I get and then post them online for the world to see. I shudder to think of the awful messages women must get from chauvinistic men.
Why shouldn’t you be able to take a screenshot of a rude message and then send that screenshot to the person’s employer?
“Does this guy represent your company?”
Why shouldn’t you be able to post screenshots of those messages on social media?
It doesn’t make any sense to me that abusive people should feel free to send random, insulting messages, secure in their knowledge that they will never suffer any consequences for those messages.
Why did we decide to make society like this? When men send you unsolicited pictures of their bathing suit area, you should be free to put those pictures on a flyer and hand it out at that man’s church.
“Is this your husband?”
We’d have a safer society if everybody recognized that everything posted on the internet is said in public. There’s no such thing as a “private chat.” The whole world is watching. Everybody needs to know that!
Why did you call me a “bot” and then block me?
I have to admit, I get a certain sense of satisfaction when I get a message like this. I often employ a maneuver I like to call “the last word.”
This is some master level stuff, so I don’t recommend you try it on your first day.
The thing is, it’s nearly impossible to get the last word on the internet. Everybody is chasing that surge of dopamine that comes from leaving hate comments on internet debate threads nobody cares about. Everybody wants the last word, so here’s what you do: You leave a final comment, and then block the person.
I’ve been doing this for a long time. Most often, I reply with a simple “Bye bot!” and then block. However, I didn’t know if those messages go through or not. In the back of my mind I always wondered, “Does this person still read that comment if I immediately blocked them after sending it?”
I found out the answer when one of the people tracked me down on Facebook to ask, “Why did you call me a bot and then block me?”
I smiled to myself, wrote “Bye bot!” again and then blocked them on Facebook as well.
I need you to take one deep breath and one step back
The comment thread represents one of the biggest lies in all of social media.
Everybody on the internet needs to put down their device, grab their steering wheel with both hands, and take a hard look in the rear view mirror (seriously folks, don’t hate post and drive). Now, take a deep breath and ask yourself this question: Do you really think anyone is sufficiently engaged in your stupid argument to the point where they’ve read all 500 of your replies?
Wake up call! The internet doesn’t perceive you as a high-priced lawyer deftly managing some important, society altering debate. Nope! The internet sees you as a circus sideshow. You only think you’re Perry Mason. The truth is you’re Jerry Springer.
Have some self-respect!
Don’t get caught up in the time void!
If you’re commenting on somebody else’s post, they can delete the whole thing. I’ve done that too. They hate that! All their words are gone forever! Haha! I love that they hate that.
Blocking people isn’t censorship
I hear that argument from time to time too. “How dare you censor me!”
I’m not censoring anybody. Those people still reserve every right in the world to babble, and hate post, and send unsolicited pics of their bathing suit area. I’m not infringing on those rights at all.
All I’m doing is observing my right not to pay any attention to it.
There’s no constitutional amendment that says you have the right to “traffic poach” by leaving hate comments on an article by somebody who has more followers than you. Again, quit making false accusations against me. If you’re looking for the reason why nobody cares about what you have to say, take a look in the mirror.
I used to be a people-pleaser
To this day, I hold the door for random strangers. Incidentally, if you don’t do that, you should start. Our world would be a better place if people had enough spatial awareness to think, “Hey, here comes somebody, I’ll hold this door for them.”
Because I do this for people, I know that you are often treated to enormous smiles of gratitude. Not all the time because some people are staring at their phones (hate posting) and they expect you to open the door. But just forget about that. When you hold a door for somebody and their eyes get all wide with astonishment at a small act of kindness, it makes life a little more bearable.
I’m still a people-pleaser, but now it’s on my terms. My lifetime allotment of patience for jerks has been used up.
The kicker is that since I started blocking people, a lot more people want my attention. Those mean people who harass you and make your life miserable aren’t doing you any favors. In fact, I think tolerating them makes it less likely that you’ll find the people you actually enjoy interacting with.
But here’s a message to all the jerks out there: If somebody blocks you on one platform, don’t march over to another platform and demand an explanation. You don’t deserve one! Got it? You’re not entitled to anyone’s time! Nobody has any obligation whatsoever to listen to your hate rants or look at your unsolicited pictures of your unimpressive bathing suit area (I keep repeating that line because it makes me laugh every time).
The same people who think the block feature is “unfair,” are the reason the block feature exists in the first place. Decent people everywhere need to recognize that it is possible to have the last word. That word is goodbye. Learning to say that makes you more of a decent person, not less.
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