From Stephen Fry:
I’m an optimist and tend to believe the best in people, but there are unquestionably some grotesque and vile figures out there. If ever you have the misfortune to meet one, Jonathan, never ever be afraid to use Twitter’s block option. You won’t see their tweets and they won’t see yours. There’s nothing they can do about it and you will be happier as a result, infinitely happier. It’s what I do to newspapers and to those who want to upset or provoke me. No matter who you are no one has a right to see your tweets, a right to be followed or a right to address you if you don’t want to be addressed.
~ Stephen Fry, on 30 November 2010
Now, I don’t twitter, or tweat, or whatever it’s called. I just don’t think I’m that interesting, and as for following other people’s twittering, I find it hard enough to keep up with the few rss feeds I subscribe to; Twitter would either consume me or leave me in the dust, feeling quite overwhelmed! But I nonetheless love this part of Stephen’s post.
Too many people online feel that they have to remain subjected to the rants or abuse or simple quotidian unpleasantness of others who are a part of the Web “community” to which they belong. And too many people — and any number is too many — feel they have the “right” to harass, abuse, malign, or otherwise spew their nasty, unpleasant, and even intentionally cruel words or views on anyone, Internet stranger or RL acquaintance, and that the object of their vile bile should simply sit back and take it, or, better yet, become hysterical or defensive in an online forum, whether Twitter, Facebook, or some other venue, so that they can grin with malicious glee and even say that the other person is a _____ (fill in the blank with whatever slur comes immediately to mind).
Too many children and teenagers, especially, don’t realize that the appropriate and rational (and possibly soul-saving, or at least mood-enhancing) thing to do when encountering such “grotesque and vile” creatures online is to block them. As Mr Fry says, “No matter who you are no one has a right to see your tweets, a right to be followed or a right to address you if you don’t want to be addressed.”
Anyway, I read this recently (when I was catching up on my rss feeds using Brief), and it stuck with me and I felt it was worth repeating.