When it comes to social networking, the block feature is a pretty important tool. Being able to lock out stalkers, jerks, and other trolls is pretty key to keeping your social media accounts something worth bothering with. And Twitter almost managed to completely botch it, although, to their credit, they also promptly repaired it.
How? Well, for a few hours last night, they disabled the “block” function altogether. Twitter argued that basically if you plug your ears and yell really loudly, you can achieve the same effect. Naturally, users revolted, and some went to the length of making their accounts private.
It seems odd that Twitter would make such a blatant gaffe. It’s true that Twitter isn’t exactly a social network built on being a shy little flower, but by the same token there are real concerns about stalking and trolling that a robust block feature effectively addresses. Removing it can be crippling to your network.
So, why would Twitter do this? Short answer: To make their invented in-house metric look good. Twitter has an invented metric called “average revenue per timeline view,” or ARPTV. Blocked users who can’t see your feed lower ARPTV. In other words, Twitter users got briefly screwed because the company wanted to look better on paper for stockholders. But let’s give credit where due: when they took note of the backlash, they reversed course. Facebook would have been all, “Sucks for you…deal with it!”
(Image courtesy of Danedler on Flickr)