Thursday, November 27, 2014

On blocking, muting and life on Twitter as a sportswriter

I end up spending an awful lot of time on Twitter these days.

I've said this before, but it's simply essential to our job -- or at least the way I interpret our job. It not only helps promote stories; it helps promote good ideas, debate and the thought process that creates better work.

Having a lot of interaction with readers is a good thing. It was when I ran this blog (2004-2008). It still is now.

The hard part now is with 64,300 followers and that rising by 50+ a day, there are a lot of people weighing in and there's a lot of noise. As someone who appreciates the good that comes with Twitter, I'm unfortunately left dealing with the bad on a daily basis, and some of it's very bad.

This is why I don't have a problem blocking you. I don't do it that often, but I've got a pretty basic set of guidelines that get you blocked: Tweet insults at me and goodbye.

The thing I've learned after more than six years on Twitter is that a very small group of people ruin it for everyone. It's only a couple hundred of true miscreants that are driving other members of the media away from their mentions entirely, and it's a real shame.

Inevitable but a shame.

So blocking is cut and dry. I've got no problem if you want to disagree with me or debate something I've written. I do that every day. Have for 10 years if you look through the comments here. It's only the petty attacks and garbage that are auto-bans and frankly there's probably not a lot of reasoning with most of the people that do it.

Idiots going to idiot.

But this year I've had a lot of people email me to get unblocked and that's fair enough. Last season was pretty crazy with all of the regression talk around the Leafs, some fans lost their heads and, yes, I will unblock if you can obey that pretty simple rule above.

Now, a separate issue is the mute button. Muting is different than blocking. One of the things that facilitates me not losing my mind while spending hours on Twitter each week is I mute the most nuisance followers, and there are a lot more of these than the insulters.

Endless nitpicking, terrible jokes, repeated goading about things like analytics or things I wrote years ago -- you end up seeing it all, often on a daily basis.

In the end, between blocking and muting, we're still talking about a very small group of people. Maybe 500. Maybe more. If you're reading this it's probably not you. But it might be.

I'm writing this because I do want to keep an open line of communication with everyone -- even as the followers grow and grow -- and more and more I'm having to silence some of the silliness.

Let's have a debate. Let's be civil. We all like hockey. We all like being on Twitter. There's a way it can work.

That's it. Thanks.


At 10:10 AM, November 27, 2014, Blogger chelch said...

I hope I'm not muted. You're awesome and I like the odd reply.

At 12:36 PM, November 27, 2014, Blogger Charlene Fairchild said...

Right on! Appreciate your tweets even when I might disagree.

At 12:51 PM, November 27, 2014, Blogger autotriger 1 said...

And by "muted" you mean CRITICISM right James?

At 12:52 PM, November 27, 2014, Blogger James Mirtle said...

If I did that, it'd be a whole lot more than 500 people.

At 2:38 PM, April 14, 2015, Blogger David Jcobs said...

I hope I'm not muted. You're awesome and I like the odd reply


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