Attack the Block: Twitter’s rubbish twat-stopper.

20 Jan

Hello! Sorry it’s been a while, but you know how it is. New job, new routines, new bits and bobs to do – all of which conspire to rob me of time to write, and inspiration to write. I tried sitting down last week to write an open letter to my newest best buddies in the world, First Glasgow, but alas, despite my rage at those money grabbing incompetent shitsacks, I was unable to put words on virtual paper. Don’t worry though, rage fans, I’m sure I’ll get it on here soon.

Today’s post is bought to you not by rage, but by rage’s older, more mature sibling: despondency. As I was pissing about on the internet earlier, trying to pass the time in between awaking from my Saturday afternoon nap and the inevitable trip to the shops to get my tea, I stumbled upon a thread on Digital Spy, the UK’s number one forum for people whose opinions ought to be kept to themselves. Upon this thread there was a link; a link to a tweet from 2011 which I clicked – only to be told that I was not authorised to see that status. Having used Twitter for a while now, I knew exactly what that meant, so I clicked “Follow” to confirm my suspicions. “This user has blocked you from following them”. 

Now, I will admit to being a little peeved here – the user in question is someone that I have never spoken to, never knowingly tweeted, and barely remembered from the past. Blocked. There is no reason that this person should ever have heard of me – our paths simply have never crossed, and it is a little upsetting to learn that preventative measures have been taken to ensure that our paths remain uncrossed, lest I click a link to an old tweet some time later.

As a basic premise, “blocking” (or, to put it another way, ignoring) other Twitter users is a great tool to have. If someone called @CashForTeeth repeatedly offers me unsolicited cash for my remaining biters, I can only tell them to fuck off so many times, and as such the block button becomes a handy labour saving device. 

Similarly, there are those who are unsure whether or not they want to follow me on Twitter or not. Personally, I don’t see why anybody would, however I am grateful to all my followers for persevering – it will get good again, I promise. The one thing that I cannot stand is, someone having made the conscious effort to hit “follow” next to my name, and then “unfollow” when they realise that my tweets are substandard whimsy, is for them to hit “follow” again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always grateful to be given a second chance by people I’ve never met, but when it gets to the third or fourth occasion, to receive an email saying “Eric Bogossian* is now following you on Twitter!” – listen pal, if you can’t make up your mind, I’ll make it up for you. Given that most of the time, it’s automated scripts that follow/unfollow accounts on behalf of a twitter account, I don’t feel too bad about it. It’s like deliberately blanking a toaster, or a car park ticket machine.

(please note that this name was an example – to the best of my knowledge, the lead actor from Oliver Stone’s “Talk Radio” has never followed me on Twitter)

Problem is, though, that blocking doesn’t really mean blocking in any proper sense. To go back to the person I mentioned before – despite the fact that she has blocked me for some reason does not stop me from tweeting her, nor does it stop me from reading her tweets even when I’m logged in, one or both of which I presume were her intentions. I can happily retweet her tweets the old fashioned way (which, if you use Google Chrome, is a piece of piss), and in the unlikely event that someone retweets her into my timeline, I will see her tweets then. Considering all of the above, I make the Twitter block function fairly redundant.

You may well now be wondering, given that Twitter’s block function doesn’t really work other than to provide a mild functional annoyance, what exactly my beef is. I have two beefs (beeves?) – one, for vulnerable users who could do with the protection (e.g. bullied schoolkids), it just doesn’t work, and two, it appears to have been designed for the passive-aggressive in mind. If you ever find that you don’t like someone, or something’s getting on your nerves, or that people disagree with you and you find it difficult to reply in under 140 characters, why not just hit the block button? That way, you can sleep soundly tonight safe in the knowledge that you’ve effectively called someone you dislike a **** without too much fuss. Double points if you can then tweet someone after they’ve been blocked to tell them that they’ve been blocked! 

Anyway, continuing in the grand scheme of Explainin’ The Cosmo’s posts, I am thirty now, and still have no idea how to write a conclusion, and I suspect I’ll never learn. BYE!

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