As we once again move to new social networks, an old and very boring trope raises its head once again: is it okay to block people? And the answer, of course, is: no. It’s more than okay. It’s essential. Block early, block often, block the bigots and the blowhards and their fans and their followers, block for any reason you choose or for no reason whatsoever.
Your social media feed is yours to control, and that includes deciding whose voices you want to hear.
The “it’s bad to block” trope has been around at least since the 1990s when I first ventured online, and it’s the same bad faith argument it’s always been: usually deliberately, people pretend that the US first amendment applies worldwide and protects their right to be an absolute arsehole on the internet. It doesn’t, and it doesn’t. Your right to free speech doesn’t trump my right to completely ignore you.
Here’s Joan Westenberg:
There’s a crucial difference between silencing someone and choosing not to engage with them. Blocking someone isn’t about denying them their right to speak. It’s about asserting your right not to listen.
Some of the very worst people online believe that they have the right to your attention whenever they demand it, and that alone is an excellent reason to block them. Because as Westenberg says, they are the weeds of your online garden. Time spent reading their unsolicited shit is time better spent on more beautiful things.