Blocking Blockheads


One of the questions I’ve been asked on several occasions is:

“What’s your personal policy on blocking people?”

Ah, good ol’ blocking. It’s like the ultimate insult on social media. It says, “Not only do I not want to be connected to you but I don’t want you to see, hear, or be a part of anything that has to do with me. EVER.”


Let me answer the question in three parts.

1. Yes, I do block people. There are times when I simply don’t want people to have access to me or my timeline. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a wild man when it comes to blocking. I rarely block anyone. Still, there are times…. I also understand that I am going to be blocked by others. It happens.

2. So what criteria do I use for blocking accounts?

~ Spam accounts get blocked as soon as I see them. I don’t care about my follower count dropping – if you’re trying to sell followers or products chances are I’m gonna block you if I see it.

~ People who are jerks. This category is obviously subjective, but it’s my account so I get to set my own rules. If you engage with me and are rude, discourteous, or aggressively abrasive right off the bat, don’t be surprised if you find yourself blocked. There is another group within the jerk category: people who think they are being funny/jokers but just come off as being rude. I like teasing people. I like being teased. But here’s the thing: permission to tease people usually comes with having some semblance of a relationship (even if it’s a digital relationship). There are a handful of people on social media that I welcome teasing from because of the friendship we have developed. If you just meet me and launch into teasing or making fun of me you’re gonna shut me down pretty quickly. So a word of advice: take time to develop rapport with people before you rip into them.

3. Finally, remember that your social media account is just that – YOURS! Follow whomever you will. Block whomever you will. Don’t feel bad about the way you run your account. Because people get tweaked about getting blocked they might complain publicly. WHO CARES?!? In the words of the inestimable Elsa, Queen of Arendelle:

Let It Go

How about you? What is your criteria for blocking people?

How to Write a Good Subtweet

Before we begin, you gotta know what a subtweet is. The word is a shortened form of “subliminal tweet.” Simply put, it’s tweeting about someone without using their name. Subtweets are behind-your-back-but-in-your-face comments. A bad subtweet will leave no one guessing what you’re talking about. A REALLY good subtweet will have multiple people wondering if you’re talking about them.

Then you need to understand that the subtweet genre is really geared towards tearing people down behind the veil of obscurity. When you think that so-and-so is being a total dipwad you might tweet about his behavior attitude without using his name. Then if you’re ever questioned on it you can always fall back on, “I TOTALLY wasn’t talking about you!”
Anons often use subtweets to deliver satire and sarcasm. I myself use irony, sarcasm, & ridicule to laugh at myself and people of like-minded faith. I don’t subtweet to be mean. I do it (usually) to make a point. That being said I think there are some elements to writing a good subtweet.

1. Purpose. A bad subtweet exists only to destroy someone – to vent your animosity without having to admit you’re upset. A good subtweet exists to drive home a point, a joke, or a moral.

2. Timing. A bad subtweet will follow IMMEDIATELY on the heels of the person you’re talking about. There’s nothing “sub” about that. If you’re going to take that route you might as well address the person directly. The best subtweets leave a little bit of gap between the original tweeter and your own follow-up. It makes the intended recipient a bit more vague. Now it could be anyone.

3. Content. We’ve all seen some subtweets that get VERY specific. “You think XXXXX but you’re a dummy because XXXX.” Not very smooth. The best and funniest subtweets are those that can stand alone as real tweets. What I mean is this: if someone who didn’t know you well read your subtweet would they think it’s directed at someone specific or would they think it’s merely your own content? The best subtweets are those that are often mistaken for regular tweets. I’m tickled when I subtweet someone and others favorite and retweet it. The subtweet takes on a life of its own. It is no longer about me and the person.

4. Examples: Here are some of my recent subtweets:


There you have it – the good and the bad. The bad subtweets bring people down. The good subtweets make people laugh and/or think. And, while many of us have probably had a combination of both, we can always strive to do better.

How to Overcome Tweeter’s Block

Have you ever just stared at your screen and drawn a total blank as to what you should tweet? That, my friends, is Tweeter’s Block.

Oh, it’s real.

Well, let me clarify. It’s more real for Anons, comedians, and people who use Twitter as a platform for their message.

For people who use Twitter solely for social interaction Tweeter’s Block doesn’t exist. You can always revert to tweeting about your lunch, your commute, your garden, your best friend who you don’t think is going to be your best friend much longer if she keeps treating you the way she is….

There’s no judgment here if you’re a social user. It’s just different than those of us who are trying – my wife ALWAYS tells me I try too hard – to put out a different type of content.

There comes a point when we feel a loss. We simply have nothing to say. What do we do in that moment?

There is a way to overcome Tweeter’s Block. Here’s how:

1. Go read the tweets of people that make you laugh out loud – the literal kind of laughing out loud, not the social media polite response of LOL meaning I find you amusing. Who makes you laugh out loud when you’re reading silently to yourself? Who makes you draw strange looks from people around you? Go read their tweets. Retweet some of their material. I have found that reading and retweeting other funny material can spark my own creativity and get my writing juices flowing again.

2. Schedule tweets in advance. I’ve talked about this before, but it’s true. I’ve become a HootSuite fan. I schedule tweets throughout the day so that the funny keeps coming in regular intervals. This is not to say you can’t do spontaneous, situational comedy. I love reading funny tweets that inspire you in the moment. But a good joke is a good joke at any time of the day. Consider writing down the joke and scheduling to go out later. I use my phone’s notepad app to scribble down tweet ideas. Then I can go schedule them without having to worry about tweeting it out immediately.

3. Revisit your sources of inspiration. We all draw from somewhere. What sources give you good material? Go back to them. Revel in them. Look for the funny in those sources: kids, job, church, family, politics, whatever. You’ll find your funny again.

4. Say nothing. Yup. Really. Our social media culture gives us the message that if we’re not being vocal we’ll be forgotten. We don’t need to fear silence. Use it. Take the silence to work up some really good material. If you don’t you face the danger of forcing yourself to put out unfunny material (trust – I’m not speaking hypothetically. I’ve deleted my fair share of tweets that I never should have put out there). So embrace the nothingness. Use it to think, work, and develop new material.

There you have it. What do you do to break on through?

Related posts:
–          10 Rules for Twitter Anons

Why I Hate #FF

Recently someone asked me why I hate #FF (Follow Friday). That’s EVERY Friday when the Twitterverse explodes with people telling you to go follow so-and-so.

I don’t hate it. Not really. STRONG dislike might be more appropriate.

I understand the thought behind it. You follow someone and want to tell your own followers it might be worthwhile for them to follow this fantastic person as well. Part of my dislike is that #FF has simply become a numbers game for many.

Instead of saying, “I think this person is worth following because…” many send out a #FF to boost another person’s follower count. It quickly stops being about the quality of their content and does become that numbers game.

I saw a conversation a while back (I think it was between Snooty Seminarian and Fair IC Baptist.  They argued (convincingly) that #FF was not as effective as RTs (retweets) for gaining followers. The logic behind it is this:

a)      if someone follows you because of a #FF they will soon come to a decision that they do or don’t like your account. When they don’t like it they’ll bail.

b)      if someone follows you because of RTs it means they like your content and style. They are more likely to “stick” as followers and not bail.

I decided that I wasn’t going to put out #FFs that people would just ignore – I would try to RT content that I really liked and could get behind. So I made a game out of it.

On Thursday I put out the 4×4 tweet – the first 4 to retweet it win the 4×4 game. I give each of those people 4 RTs on Friday. It’s not about begging for RTs for myself. It’s a simple and amusing way I can “bless” others with RTs.

The real problem is finding good, original content to RT 😉 Some people who play love to converse on Twitter but don’t put out a whole lot of content of their own. So…if you’re gonna play, put out some original material Wed-Fri. I’d love to retweet you.

But then I was asked, “Your game is fun, but if you give everyone the opportunity to play how do we know who you really would suggest to follow?”

That’s a great question…


When Anons Get Serious

Someone recently said to us:

“I follow Anons because you’re funny and (mostly) stay away from painful issues that divide us. Have you lost your collective minds?”

No. We haven’t.

While many of us are on here to be funny, some of us are here to make you think. But honestly, why can’t we do both? Some of the best comedians use social commentary as their material.Serious-Man

It’s not different from Xian Anons who use a comedic platform to get people to think seriously about faith, spirituality, the Church, ethics, and morality.

Many of us love the Church and love Jesus. Our hearts break when we see the Church and Xians doing stupid things that work to divide us rather than unite us. They break when we see Xians acting more like the world than like Jesus.

For that reason I will try to make you laugh. I will try to make you think.

If you are only here for the funny – that’s okay. The cool thing about social media, whether it be Twitter, FB, or blogs, is that you can consume the content you want and ignore the content that steps on your toes.

If you don’t want your Anons to talk about serious issues, don’t read those blogs and Tweets. You won’t hurt our feelings.

But maybe…just maybe…we might be able to add to the conversation a perspective that brings a breath of fresh air to Xianity.

We’d love to hear your voice: How do you feel when Anons are more pointed than funny?


10 Rules for Twitter Anons

There are all sorts of Xian Anons out there. I follow hundreds of them. Each one has his or her (or it?) own slant on how to do things. And while each one approaches Twitter differently, there are some things that you should understand if you’re in the Xian Anon game (or thinking about getting into it).

1. There are no rules: This is the most important to understand. What?!? How can you write about the rules for running an Anon account and then say that there are no rules? It really comes down to this: These rules are things I wish people had told me from my first day of tweeting. I have been fortunate to have some very intelligent and savvy people come alongside me and offer me some pointers, but there’s no manual to consult from the beginning.

So remember this: these are good ideas, but not written in stone. I’ve seen Anons that do not do these but have THOUSANDS of followers. I’ve seen Anons do these and never get more than 100-200 followers. There’s no magic formula. So take these for what you will. Some things that I believe about running my Anon account.

2. People with catchy names & sexy pics will get more followers and retweets than all of your incredibly witty & deep tweets. It doesn’t really matter how clever you are – you’re going to be limited by your avi and handle. I’ve seen people with a funny name and sexy avi get followers without having any substantial content. It sucks, but that’s life. Sometimes a theme or character will really help (like Snooty Seminarian or Back Row Baptist) – it gives people something to get behind rather than a vague generality (like The Xian Satirist) 😉

3. An avi, a bio, and some original tweets are more likely to motivate me to follow you back. If you don’t have these things the odds are that people won’t follow you. You’re an unknown quantity. Fill out these things and give people something to latch onto. People will identify you by your avi. It’s one reason we get so confused when some of our favorite accounts change their images (Church Judge, FairICBaptist, I’m lookin’ at you two)!

4. You have a greater chance of Tweets resonating with others if you Tweet things that resonate with you. I know everyone does it, but I really don’t want to read about your dinner. When you tweet something that really strikes home with you (either a joke or a serious tweet) you have a greater chance that it will resonate with the rest of us. Practically speaking that will give you more favorites and retweets.

5. Unless you’re a celebrity with a bajillion followers you should be interacting with people. I understand that some people are on Twitter only to promote their message, but I prefer to see people interact. I’m always impressed by those who have 10,000-100,000 followers still interacting with their followers. That’s pretty cool. It’s social media – why come you being anti-social?

Warning – I do know that some people will unfollow you if you’re filling up their timeline with conversations. They only want to see the 140 character zingers, not an ongoing conversation. You really have to determine what kind of account you want to run and find a balance between your original material, retweets, and conversation.

6. If everything on your TimeLine is a retweet I may unfollow. Show me some original thought besides what you find from others. Plain and simple. I like retweets, but I want people I follow to give me good original thought. If you put out good material I’ll retweet you myself.  🙂

7. A great concept, handle, and avi are wasted if you don’t tweet regularly and consistently. When I first started my account I was told by one of the popular kids, “I really like your account. I hope you stick around and don’t fade away like many Anons do.” If you put out good content people will want to stick around. Having a great account is a terrible waste if you’re not consistent and regular in tweeting. I’m not even advocating daily tweets, but find a balance that works for your life to be a regular part of Twitter and I’ll hang around to see what you’ve got.

8. You don’t HAVE to follow back everyone who follows you. It’s your account – handle it how you want. Seriously. I’ve seen a lot of people get upset about how a twitterer handles follows, follow-backs, and unfollows. BUT IT’S YOUR ACCOUNT! Do what you like. Follow, unfollow, and block people at your own discretion. You’re not a bad person because of it – you’re taking care of your own account. You may upset some people and they might unfollow you, but it’s.just.Twitter.

9. Don’t rejoice over every follow. Don’t fret over every unfollow. Too much anxiety on Twitter over numbers. I know. I’ve done it. I stopped sweating it only about a month ago and realized that I’m just gonna have people unfollow me every day. Twitter is like a small-town parade. As it goes by you’re gonna have people jump in and walk with you. You’re gonna have people jump out and leave. You can’t control any of that, so don’t sweat it.

10. There’s a fine line between trying and trying too hard. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Just be as authentically you (or your character) as you can be. It’s obvious when we try too hard (my wife always calls me out on it) and is less attractive. Just try to be you and you’ll do fine.

Well, that’s it. What would you add?