Stop Saying “If You Don’t Like What I Write, Block Me”

It’s a constant adage in social media.

Don’t like what I write? Block me.

This simple sentiment is the founding principle of the echo-chamber culture of the modern media. What you’re essentially saying is, “unless you’re going to praise what I have shared, kindly ignore me.” When you say this what you’ve effectively done is said you are not open to debate or discussion. Your ideas are to be agreed with or ignored.

If you post your thoughts and ideas on a public platform, then you are hopefully looking for meaningful engagement around your ideas. That will mean both agreement and disagreement.

Vigorous debate and acceptance of facts is how we become better at defending our positions. It’s a skill we are rapidly losing in our culture.

Do we need the block button? Of course. There are certain people I simply don’t want to read or see. Not because I disagree with them, but because they have chosen to promote something offensive or we’ve had a personal disagreement that is irreparable.

But that’s different than using the block feature as a filter. As it is, every algorithm on social media is already trying to make sure we more like ourselves, showing us more of the stuff we already like and shielding us from things we might find unpleasant. We can’t further do that to ourselves.