The Beauty of the Block

Audrey Watters, Personal Blog, Feb 01, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I blocked and unfriended someone yesterday for warmongering. He was only the latest of dozens - maybe hundreds - of people I've blocked in the last few months. I was like Audrey Watters: "I didn’t used to block. I’d unfollow. I’d ignore." But now I block because I don't want this in my life. And I don't block because it's simply unpleasant. I block to keep the images out of my mind. They are damaging and can sometimes hurt. Repeat something over and over enough, loudly enough, persistently enough, and people come to believe it (even if they know it's not true). That's how propaganda works. Wonder why we're raising a generation of misogynists? Look at the news, sports and other media they watch every day. And don't worry about having created a "filter bubble." As Watters says, "My blocking trolls doesn’t damage civic discourse; indeed, it helps me be able to be a part of it." Loudspeakers blaring lies at you over and over again isn't part of civil discourse. We can afford to block them, whether they are actual loudspeakers or social media trolls.

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