Twitter: To Block or Not To Block

Twitter: To Block or Not To Block

Someone has blocked me on Twitter.

Not just unfollowed me, but actually gone into their personal settings and stopped me from being able to follow them.

The first I realised of this was when I went to follow this person and was denied access at the request of the user.

My first instinct was to worry about what I had done wrong.  I even tweeted as much.

I do not know this person in real life, so know that we have not had a real life falling out.

I am also pretty certain that I have never tweeted with this person directly, so can’t have had a Twitter falling out either.

All I can guess from the situation is that perhaps this person was initially following me and I maybe tweeted out something that caused offence.

Looking back over my timeline, it could have been one of my many tweets about crisps, chocolate, Eastenders or wine that is responsible for this online cold shoulder.

But, who knows?

It is so easy to misunderstand what is correct Twitter etiquette, as it is something that varies from person to person.

For example, I do not like my timeline to be full of competition ‘RT to win’ messages and I find the unfollow button really useful in preventing those.

I have also learnt that if you feel you have something to contribute to an existing twitter conversation between two or more people, it is polite to prefix your tweet with *butting in*.  Failure to do so, could result in them moving the conversation to a quieter corner of the internet via the Direct Message feature.

It also considered bad manners to ask someone to retweet something if you have had little or no interaction with them previously.  The general guide being to start a dialogue with your potential retweeter first.

This can be easier said than done.

I have sent many budding conversation starters out into the Twitterverse only to be met with a big fat silence.

I apply my own personal ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ rule in these circumstances.  See, even I have my own idea of what is deemed appropriate twittering…

Twitter is a wonderful place to hang out when everyone is saying hello, telling everyone else how fab you are and *sending cake*.  But, it can also feel like the loneliest place in the world to be when nobody knows your name.

There are so many messages trying to get across.  So many voices saying LISTEN TO ME.  It is not always easy to be heard if you do not have anything funny or clever to say.

However, I try not to take these things too personally.  I may have unintentionally broken a few twitter laws, but I can’t be online all of the time; I can’t keep up with all of the conversations; and I can’t be expected to understand how to properly use Twitter in only 4,108 tweets.

I understand this might result in an Unfollow here or there and that is fair enough.  Your timeline, your rules.

But, we’re not talking about a simple Unfollow though are we.  This was a full-on block.

Maybe the reason for the twitter freeze was not actually over anything I said on Twitter at all.

Maybe it was something I blogged about… but we all know I mostly write about sausages and wine, with the occasional story about poo thrown in.

Maybe this person does not like poo…

The plot thickens.

It could be a comment I left on another blog.  I do hope not, as it takes me a long time to compose a well thought out comment and I would be mortified to think I was hurting any feelings.  That is really not who I am, which is why I think I am so baffled by the action.

I go out of my way not to cause offence online.  I may have not followed correct Twitter or Blog etiquette at all times, but that is more out of naivety than intent.

As I navigate my way through this new digital territory, where there are so many voices and so many conflicting opinions, I realise how difficult it is to get noticed online unless you have a strong view on something either way.

People love to debate, it is fun.  They look for people to agree with them, and for people to disagree with.

Most of my tweets get lost in the Twitterverse simply because they require no response.  They do not interest anyone besides other crisp/chocolate/wine/Eastenders fans, or my real life friends.

I should be wearing a beige cardigan in my avatar.

But, something I said must have had an impact on one person for them to block me and for this, I thank them.

Because maybe, in this confusing world of social media that I am still only just beginning to grasp, it does not necessarily mean that I did something wrong, but perhaps that I might have done something right.

Either that, or I bored them into it.


You can follow me on Twitter @smudgerella, find me on Facebook ,
and on Pinterest as Grenglish

Nominations are now open for the 2013 MAD Blog Awards.  I was thrilled to be a finalist in the 2012 awards for Best Family Fun Blog and would love to be there again this year.  Obviously, I’d be chuffed to bits to be nominated in any of the categories, but think I stand the best chance in Best Family Fun, Best Family Life or Most Entertaining Blog.  You can click here to nominate and will need my blog URL –


  1. julie
    February 6, 2013 / 7:25 AM

    That does seem very strange…maybe they congee a hideous secret they tweet about and are ashamed of you knowing about it?!
    I confess I have unfollowed someone because of too much poo in my timeline (potty training!), but blocking seems very harsh. Are they a protected user?

    • Grenglish
      February 6, 2013 / 10:26 AM

      Hahaha I too have been guilty of the occassional potty training post! But thank you for not unfollowing me 🙂

  2. February 6, 2013 / 8:02 AM

    I still maintain that it might not be an actual blocking–either it’s a blip that Twitter does like the unfollow thing that happens without people realising it (grrr!) or, I just googled it and found this article which says that it might be something else (as julie says above–a protected user) but it looks the same as a block. Anyway, whatever the reason, there’s no explaining some weirdness in the universe! x

    • Grenglish
      February 6, 2013 / 10:28 AM

      Thanks Michelle, you are very nice to say it could be a blip and I would love that to be the case but I guess we will never know for sure! x

  3. February 6, 2013 / 8:55 AM

    I can’t imagine why anybody would block you in a million years! Seriously! Twitter can be a funny old place at times and I think we’ve all had it done to us and wondered why – I know I have! Blocking rather than just unfollowing just seems quite harsh though and I can’t help but think that maybe some tweeters just use the block button how most people would just use the unfollow button? Strange all the same though 😉

    • Grenglish
      February 6, 2013 / 10:29 AM

      Have you? Why would anyone block you???? I don’t mind that they have blocked me, I do not know them so it is no skin off my nose, but I am defintiely baffled as to the reason why 🙂

  4. February 6, 2013 / 10:58 AM

    How strange …. just put this down to experience – it’s this person not you – I’m sure you didn’t offend anyone – not unless they don’t like chocolate! I’ve had unfollows probably cos I’m a bit smelly (not really) but I haven’t unfollowed anyone just yet – though those requesting RT’s I find annoying sometimes! X.

    • Grenglish
      February 6, 2013 / 11:28 AM

      My followers do go up and down a bit but I assumed that was spammers 🙂
      I have had people DM me to ask for RTs and then when I do RT them, not a single word back – no thanks of anything. Really annoying 🙂

  5. February 6, 2013 / 12:10 PM

    I wouldn’t worry about it, maybe they just really don’t like Eastenders?! Twitter is a big place and I absolutely know what you mean about the shouting thing. Sometimes it’s like walking into a room full of people shouting stuff that’s way more funny / provocative / interesting than what I have to say. I like tweets about wine and chocolate by the way.

    • Grenglish
      February 7, 2013 / 10:46 AM

      Oh good! I will make sure to mention you in my chocolate/wine tweet next time 🙂 Thanks for your advice Molly

  6. The Loving Parent
    February 6, 2013 / 1:07 PM

    How peculiar! I’m still finding my way around Twitter and hate to think of how many ‘rules’ I may have inadvertently broken!
    Anyhow, *sending cake*.

    • Grenglish
      February 7, 2013 / 10:46 AM

      *eating cake* YUM! Thank you x

  7. February 6, 2013 / 1:57 PM

    A great post which I’m sure echoes a lot of people’s thoughts, including mine! I only ever block if someone is being abusive towards me which I’ve only had to do once. Other than that I block spam followers who have no discernable reason to follow me and are unlikely to interact. This is my way of protecting my tweets without going protected iykwim. And now I’m off to follow you on Twitter! 🙂

    • Grenglish
      February 7, 2013 / 10:48 AM

      Thanks, following you back!
      I was hacked last year and spammed lots of followers without my knowledge… could be what happened in this instance 🙂

  8. February 6, 2013 / 4:13 PM

    I’d have no followers if they were offended by talk of poo. I do have a bad habit of butting in without habit (mostly when I am too interested not too), but I like seeing you on Twitter and chatting and cannot see anything to offend. Apart from Eastenders of course ;0)

    • Grenglish
      February 7, 2013 / 11:09 AM

      Thank you and I like chatting to you on Twitter too!

  9. February 6, 2013 / 4:14 PM

    Sorry, I meant without warning, not without habit!

    • Grenglish
      February 7, 2013 / 11:10 AM

      I knew what you meant 🙂

  10. Gillian
    February 6, 2013 / 4:40 PM

    Lol I got blocked by somebody for apparently ‘not responding quickly enough’ to a mention from them. They had also asked me to link up on Facebook (had never met them but initially seemed harmless enough, although a bit flirty). I responded with a somewhat bemused message on Facebook, then blocked them on Twitter and Facebook. Really don’t need that kind of aggro in my life.

    There’s nowt as queer as folk! 🙂

    • Grenglish
      February 7, 2013 / 11:31 AM

      I’d be blocked all the time in that case! If I am at work all day, I can only respond when I get home and after bedtime… could be HOURS!

  11. February 6, 2013 / 4:52 PM

    The thing I find with twitter is that it seems everyone has their own take on twitiquette(?!) I am happy to follow back anyone who makes the effort to interact with me as long as they’re not homophobic, racist & so forth; some people take months to ‘woo’. I’ve had people follow me then unfollow me 5 minutes later, people who follow me even though we have nothing in common (that I can see) and never interact, and even recently a couple of people who kept following and unfollowing me again and again and again (I don’t know if they were bots, though)

    I think as long as people don’t start blocking you en masse, you’re doing OK.

    • Grenglish
      February 7, 2013 / 12:02 PM

      Thanks Jem. I’ve also had people follow me only to unfollow me a few days later. I’ll chat to anyone on Twitter who starts a conversation with me but you are right – it varies so much from person to person and for every 10 people who like you, there will always be one who doesn’t.

  12. February 6, 2013 / 6:57 PM

    I’ve been on twitter forever, or so it seems, and I’ve tweeted way too many times. There are things I don’t like, but very little I’ll block for – pretty much only spam and bad language. There are a few celebrities I’ve blocked in an attempt to get their RTed words of (un)wisdom out of my timeline though.

    I do know that I’ve been blocked by a fairly influential member of the home education community, and I found that very hurtful. I asked a few other people if they could find out what that was about but no one did. That probably contravenes some rule of twitter etiquette too :/

    • Grenglish
      February 7, 2013 / 12:05 PM

      Oh no, that is not nice. I wonder if it was intentional though?
      I have also unfollowed a few celebs who tweet various quotes out all day long, drives me insane.
      I have not blocked anyone yet but I have unfollowed plenty! Really does vary from person to person what they like to read in their timeline I suppose.
      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  13. February 7, 2013 / 1:22 PM

    Great post – am baffled as to why anyone would want to block you on twitter or unfollow you for that matter – but hey, you can’t please ’em all right?! Their loss! X

  14. February 7, 2013 / 3:12 PM

    It seems a major move, rather than a simple unfollow, I’ll agree. It’s one worse than being unfriended on facebook. Especially if your tweets are neutral. Sometimes it could be as simple as a mistaken click on an iphone when simply they meant to unfollow.

    There are lots of positives on Twitter to outweigh this slightly negative aspect of Twitter. Don’t worry about them.

  15. February 9, 2013 / 3:07 PM

    Sorry, I was just getting a bit jealous of all the sausages and wine you’ve been consuming lately while I stick to my Weightwatchers diet… 😉

  16. March 7, 2013 / 11:22 AM

    People do use twitter differently. Some people decide to block instead of unfollow. Seems drastic to me but there you go.

    Personally, I don’t think it’s bad form to RT someone you don’t follow. I’ve blocked a few people but mostly just for being abusive, rarely do I just block someone just because I don’t like them.

    • Grenglish
      March 13, 2013 / 11:12 AM

      I have definitely come to realise that people just manage their timelines differently, I have certainly unfollowed a few people. Not sure I would block though, unless being really abusive. Thanks so much for popping over to comment 🙂

  17. jo
    March 14, 2013 / 5:59 PM

    It’s a jungle out there! I have just been excluded from Facebook for 30 days. They said they’d let me back in early for good behaviour ! Didn’t really want to join in first place but was persuaded to do so my my friend who said it’s a great way to spread the work about your blog. There’s something a bit school playgroundy about all this, so I don’t dare go near Twitter now! Scary stuff but as my husband says, when you’re not sure whether it’s a conspiracy or a cock-up, it’s more likely to be ‘cock-up’ .

    Come and see my cartoons by the way at,

    All the best and really enjoying your blog – great layout, stylish and honest

  18. April 9, 2013 / 9:36 PM

    I realise this is an old post, but something about it struck a chord, as I’m stuck in horrible twitter loneliness right now. I’ve used Twitter since 2007, but gave up on it a couple of years ago when it became all about getting retweeted, and just started moving too fast so I couldn’t keep up with all the conversation. I feel like I’m in a big room with people shouting conversations through me, but I can’t even hear half of most of the conversations! I’ve reluctantly started a new account for my blog, but have no followers and no clue how to engage with anyone without seeming rude! I remember in the past so many times sending “replies” to people and getting absolutely nothing back. I’d love to join in with the friendships I can see being made, but how do people overcome their shyness on Twitter?!

    • Grenglish
      April 17, 2013 / 3:05 PM

      Hi Caroline, thank you for taking the time to comment. I still don’t totally ‘get’ twitter. I have a few people that I interact with regularly and sometimes reply to others but often do not receive a reply -)
      I think the easiest way to get more followers is to follow more people. I often go on a follow drive and about half of them will follow back. To make new friendships online, again the only way I think is to start tweeting with people you find interesting. The more people you follow the better for this really and you can always unfollow later 🙂
      See you on twitter! xx

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