• "I'm not following you any more!!!"

    Haven't posted here for ages, so I thought I'd share this (hopefully) amusing Twitter exchange.

    I'm kind of fascinated by Twitter etiquette – and to be honest on this occasion, I thought I'd have a bit of fun by deliberately staying terribly polite. It started with these two tweets from me:

    Good luck @LouiseMensch as she steps down as an MP. I rarely agreed with her policies, but always found her courteous and sincere in debate.

    Not sure that will be one of my more popular tweets! I'm not a Tory supporter, but enjoyed debating with Louise on a number of occasions.

    I suppose I was seeing if anyone would bite, challenge me on my view of Mensch – one way or the other – but mostly they didn't. I suppose it's not really all that controversial. For the most part I loathe Louise Mensch's politics, but it is true that we had exchanged a few tweets in the past, and she had always been courteous in replying. To wish her 'good luck' was probably just too boring for most people. Anyway, I had this one tweet in reply:

    sorry, was an unfollow from me... #JustBeingHonest

    Not a particularly rude response – and fair enough if they want to unfollow me. But I always wonder why people feel they have to tell you that they're doing it. It's something that's happened to me on a small number of occasions, but since I've never known that that particular person was following me in the first place, it just seems a little bit odd. A bit like turning up at a party that you gatecrashed, and when no-one notices you're there, loudly shouting that you're leaving and you WON'T BE BACK! Or shouting through a letterbox that you don't want to talk to someone. (Although I prefer the party analogy.)

    I wonder, why do they want to tell me? What are they expecting here? Does the person want me to beg them to stay? Admit that I've got it wrong, and I can change? In this case, I was particularly curious – a quick glance at the tweeter's other recent tweets told me that they weren't a fan of Louise Mensch's politics (something we had in common, I suppose). And so I asked him about his 'Unfollow' message, and this was the conversation that followed:

    Not sure why you feel the need to tell me that.

    then I'm not sure why you felt the need to respond if you're not sure why I felt the need to tell you!

    Oh, hello. Just curious. If you'll indulge me, a) Why did you tell me? b) Why did my initial tweet make you want to unfollow?

    a) this is Twitter, are comments on the popularity of your tweets not invited or allowed? Why make an issue of my reply?

    Not at all. As I said, I'm just curious, and thought you might indulge me with a reply. If you'd rather not, that's fine too.

    b) you're entitled to your opinion and Tweets. Some I don't agree with so shy should I read about them in my timeline?

    Out of interest then – and again, if you'll indulge me – which tweet didn't you agree with?

    No, let me ask you. Why make such an issue out of it and Tweet it to your 10,500 followers when you knew it may be unpopular?

    I mostly disagree with Louise Mensch, but wanted to wish her well. That's all. What has my follower count got to do with it?

    "How lovely" "I find it a bit sad" "I find it baffling" comments like that invite trolling and harassment

    [NB: Here, the Tweeter is referring to the fact that I had briefly discussed my bemusement with two of my other followers. He is quoting accurately – I had tweeted to others that I find it peculiar that someone wants to unfollow because I wished someone 'good luck'.]

    I'm not inviting any harrassment or trolling. I only wish you well, the same as I wish Mensch, and anyone else for that matter.

    I apologise for letting you know I unfollowed you.

    Well, thank you. I'm not upset, I was genuinely a bit perplexed, but thanks for answering my questions.

    I then logged out of Twitter, as it was lunchtime. It had been a slightly peculiar exchange, but not particularly unpleasant. When I returned, a few hours later, I wondered if I'd received any further messages, but instead found that the tweeter had blocked me. Intrigued, I logged out of Twitter (in order to see if he had tweeted further on the subject – something I couldn't otherwise do given the block). And this was what I saw on this chap's timeline...

    @TomSpilsbury I unfollowed you because your Tweets are tedious, dull and inane and pandering to Louise Mensch was the last straw.

    @TomSpilsbury I blocked you because your Tweets to me were bordering on harassment.

    @TomSpilsbury Your ego has clearly taken a knock by the fact that I was impertinent enough to tell you that I'd unfollowed you but you...

    @TomSpilsbury seriously need to get over it now and stop crying out for attention to your remaining followers. It's really getting sad now.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you @TomSpilsbury. Ego bashed Twitter Troll hiding behind his editorship of Doctor Who magazine... #SadMan

    man needs to get over the fact I unfollowed him an stop crying about it... Pathetic!!

    someone DM'd me and told me he was still Tweeting about me after I blocked him... Nutter!!!

    and after what was such a lovely morning

    how the hell he knew I'd blocked him? He must have been looking at my profile, probably to give me more abuse...

    And... well, you get the idea. I must admit, my curiousity had got the better of me – I'm guilty of that – but I really don't give a stuff whether this particular chap follows me or not, and certainly wasn't 'crying'. I was just intrigued, and on reflection found it all quite funny. To be fair, I had asked him a few questions in the first place – I genuinely thought "I'll try being polite to this guy, and see what happens." Well, now I know!

    I've blogged about it here purely for your entertainment and amusement. I hope you found it as funny as I did – well, you have to laugh, don't you? That's the great thing about Twitter, all of life is there. I wonder what will happen next...?!

    [NB: I deliberately haven't included this guy's Twitter username, I certainly don't want anyone sending him genuine abuse on my behalf. And given that he seems to have a funny idea what constitutes 'abuse', 'harrassment' and 'trolling', I'm not sure he'd be able to take it.]

    1 Comment

    • 1. Aug 6 2012 8:17PM by Anne

      Dear Tom, you probably gave that person the shock of his life, replying to him. Well done and thanks for writing about this, it's hilarious!

      Cheers, Anne


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My name is Tom Spilsbury. I am the editor of Doctor Who Magazine. This is a blog where I might occasionally post things which amuse, perplex, or irritate me.

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