When someone’s annoying you on Twitter, you have a few options for dealing with them:
- Block, which prevents them seeing your tweets (…unless they log out, use another account or just an incognito window. It’s not the best)
- Mute, which stops you seeing their tweets and replies to you (unless you follow them, in which case you’ll see replies but not tweets… this stuff is complex)
- Soft block – force them to unfollow you.
This last one isn’t very well known, partly because it’s not an official feature. But it is pretty handy for getting rid of limpets – I’ve used it on someone who keeps following all my profiles despite me telling him to leave me alone, and someone who’s very good friends with a person I’ve cut out of my life and kept telling them things I was doing.
In either case, a block would have been justifiable, but because Twitter tells people when you’ve blocked them (it has to), blocking people can make them angry and cause you even more problems. People don’t know when you’ve muted them, but that stops you from seeing their stuff, not the other way around. They can still see everything you say. Hence the usefulness of the soft block.
How to soft block someone on Twitter
It’s a pretty quick process – we’re using web Twitter but it works the same way on mobile:
1. Go to their profile and block them
2. Unblock them again
Notice how it no longer says “follows you” beside Alex’s name? That’s because he was forced to unfollow me when I blocked him, and undoing the block doesn’t bring back the follow. Ta-daa, the force unfollow is complete.
Assuming the person doesn’t suddenly notice you’re not coming up in their feed anymore, you’re safe. And if they do, you can always do it again 😉
Go forth and soft block with impunity.
With thanks to Scientits, who you should all follow because she’s awesome.
Main image © iStockphoto/Ahmadmahmood