Monday, 6 February 2012

Punished By Their Silence - An Unpleasant Side To Twitter

Dear Babs

Many months ago, I guessed that I inadvertantly offended a person on Twitter because I discovered that she changed her handle and unFollowed and Blocked me. I asked a mutual Twittermate what happened, she disappeared for a while and came back to say that I had said something offensive about the woman's IBS and that she too was Blocking and unFollowing me in a show of support for her friend. Since that time, 4 other people in the clique Blocked and unFollowed me. I had a couple e-mail addresses and a second Twitter account, so I tried to apologize. This is hard when you don't know what you said wrong; general apologies sound a bit insincere. I've also sent e-mail Christmas cards, etc. But, to this day, I remain Blocked and unFollowed by all. Do you think there is anything I can do to get back in the good graces of these folks? Friends of theirs are happy to Tweet with me, but the core group remains closed.

Dear Walter

My knee jerk response to your email was to ask what makes you want to pursue a relationship with tweeps who treat you so badly? 

As I understand it you believe you have said something unwittingly offensive to someone but you don't really know what? She hasn't challenged you but has instead withdrawn from you? Then some of your mutual contacts have withdrawn from you in support of her? You have tried to apologise and make amends but you remain outside? 

I feel  under the circumstances, you have done what you could don't you? Yet here you are wanting 'to get back in the good graces of these folks'. If you has come to me for counselling I would have asked you what makes this so powerful for you?  But because I am unable to ask that question. I am left reading between the lines. My hunch Walter, is you are responding to some childhood experience and not to this adult problem. In my opinion these people are bullying you with their silence and you are feeling punished. I understand how painful that can be. But I assure you these are not tweeps to pursue a relationship with. Adults discuss, compromise, solve problems. These tweeps are in 'child' and I think you are allowing your 'child' to respond.

I have heard of this happening to other tweeps and like you they have felt upset, done much soul searching and thought why me? However, after a period of metaphorically licking their wounds, they have been able to accept it has perhaps been for the best. I hope you become one of their number. There are lots of good people on twitter who will befriend you why not connect with them?  


  1. I too have been through this on Twitter, a group I thought were mates turned on me.
    It took me FAR too long to realise I'd done nothing wrong, merely asked to be treated with respect and valued as I deserved. They were unable to handle any form of criticism, actual or perceived.
    As Babs has mentioned, I relate my desperate need for their approval and acceptance to a childhood where these were not voiced or (I thought then) demonstrated. It is something I still struggle with.
    But Babs is right, there truly are lots more people on Twitter, who will talk to you like you and accept you as you are. Leave the snubbers behind. It's hard but it's not impossible!

  2. thank you so much for your comment I'm sure Walter would like to know he's not on his own

  3. I can sympathise with Walter - social media is great when it works well and can be upsetting when things go wrong.

    I've been blocked myself and took it to heart - it's not always down to bullying but can nevertheless be hurtful (although I can accept that may be down to my childhood wish to be loved by everyone and unconditionally).

    Your advice is as always on the money B - the best thing to do is dust yourself off & start over and stick to the good people who value you. 

  4. Thanks for the advice Babs. I am practically home-bound because of certain medical concerns, so the Social Media has to fill the void left by REAL socializing. However, your point about Media Socializing with other adults rather than 'child'ren is well taken.

  5. thanks for commenting Bob and for acknowledging that you too have been hurt in this way. I am sure Walter, as I do, appreciates your input

  6. I think Twitter can come into its own for people like yourself but as with real relationships there is perhaps a requirement to keep yourself safe. Take care

  7. These people sound really silly to me, so I wouldn't worry about it Walter. There are plenty more fish on Twitter!

  8. Hi Babs and Walter

    Twitter is filled with all sorts of folk - some of whom react to what one says in the most unexpected ways. It's very sad when people feel the need to 'gang up on' others and indulge in silent treatment. I agree with you Babs that it is a childish way to behave...

    Further more, I feel that those who do that are not worth knowing anyway... I'd rather be Twitter friends with people who understand what mutual respect means, and who know me enough to realise that if I did say anything untoward, that my heart is a good one and any misunderstanding could be sorted out by discussion.

    Someone unfollowed and blocked me recently. I'd had quite a few chats with her, and yet out of the blue, I was blocked. No idea why... All I can think is that she took issue with a song choice I posted one day. That in itself seems a ridiculous reason to block someone. But people do behave in mysterious ways at times!

    It does initially hurt, as you invest time in getting to know people. But Bob is absolutely right. Focus on all the fantastic people on Twitter and don't let the bad apples in the barrel upset you.

    Take care all,


  9. When I first saw this post, I wanted to say something but couldn't, now I think, "Why not".

    Some people on Twitter are wounded, but gentle. Others are wounded but not so gentle.

    I was unfollowed by someone known to you Babs. I was hurt because this person is very funny as well as vulnerable. I thought we had a good relationship based on a mutual sense of fun. However, I had seen some warning signals (bullying) so was not entirely surprised when I got dumped. Just in case Twitter was responsible, I asked, but no reply. i think I know what I did, but don't believe it was a bad thing, so I'm not really too upset. But I was sad, and so I can understand why Walter is distressed.

  10. I am sorry that you too have had a negative experience on Twitter Kathryn. But I am pleased you have been able to gain some perspective and move past it. I guess that's the best anyone can do under the circumstances.