One of my pet peeves on Twitter is subtweeting: people who get angry, but instead of addressing the problem directly with the person(s) involved, they instead decide to abruptly unfollow and/or block the person(s) involved (and sometimes even unfollow or block the spouse of a person involved…even when the spouse didn’t even know about the altercation!), and then go on a subtweeting frenzy about the “enemy”.
In case anyone is unfamiliar with subtweeting, it is a passive-aggressive, unproductive waste of time in which a person tweets (usually vaguely and hostilely) about a person/situation but without tagging the other individual(s) involved so they can respond to the accusations. (The subtweeting offender doesn’t necessarily always block the person first, but blocking is frequently done as well).
Both subtweeting and blocking (**See Note, Below) behaviors are unproductive and just plain ridiculous in so many ways, but here are just a few of the reasons I find this behavior so abhorrent:
**Note: Here I am referring to blocking due to an argument, or sometimes even just a difference of opinion. Note that sometimes blocking is warranted for such issues as harassing or threatening or repeated issues, etc.
1). It is cowardly. Say it directly, or shut up.
2). It is pointless. All the blocked person needs to do is sign out of their Twitter account, and voila!: all the “blocked” tweets are visible if you know how to search (unless the offender’s Twitter account is set to private).
3). It kills communication and allows misunderstandings and hard feelings to fester. The original problem is never resolved nor even examined.
4). It fosters a passive-aggressive style of communication which is unproductive for all parties.
5). If the people being subtweeted about never know you are talking about them, they may not even know you are upset or what you are upset about.
6). It is divisive, and fosters middle-school cliquish behavior where factions form and gossip and exclude outsiders. But we are not 13. The people I am referring to are all seemingly intelligent adults, and most of them are allegedly feminists. Let’s please act like it.
Until we are able to deal with conflict directly and respectfully, we will remain stuck doing unproductive actions, spinning our wheels endlessly. Until we can band together in spite of our arguments and differences, we will never make true progress. Until we learn to communicate better, we are bound to keep misunderstanding each other.
There is a better way. Otherwise, we really are all just talking to ourselves.
Updated to Add: 06/28/2017: Since this post, I have updated my own policy on blocking on Twitter. I used to reserve blocking for only the most serious of circumstances (threats, perverts, etc.); however, now, I do block when someone is outright rude/disrespectful, and/or when it becomes obvious that the person has absolutely no interest in actually having a reciprocal discussion (if he/she only wants to lecture/accuse/berate/argue and refuses to listen to what I am saying). I will also block those who have blocked me now, for the simple reason of “back at ya!”. There are other instances where I may block, but those are the basics. I have learned that sometimes it is best to just get rid of the negativity and pick my battles.