It’s long been whispered in dark green corners of Twitter that CSN’s Reuben Frank, ostensibly one of the best reporters on Earth covering the day-to-day goings on of the Philadelphia Eagles, has a strange habit of blocking people for little more than a mild disagreement… or his tastes in music.
I tweeted this morning to see if anyone had encountered this specific, slow-sports-time-of-year problem, and these were the responses I got in just under an hour:
I can attest that people are ASSHOLES on Twitter, so I completely understand the impulse to block someone (it’s not like I’ve never blocked anybody). But the hate comes with the territory when doing this sort of thing for a living – or any sort of thing that deals directly with the public as a large portion of the job – and you become sort of immune to most things* and pay no attention to the nastiness after a while. Look at the responses to Tweets, Instagram or Facebook posts from any of your favorite celebrities, musicians, writers, or other assorted and varied accomplished people– you’ll find the same thing: no matter how good the person is at what they do, some subset of people will think they suck. But the oddity is that most of the people here report that they were blocked by Roob over fairly inane comments and responses. I recognize many of these little faces – have even met a few – and can confirm that exchanges have been mostly reasonable.
Sports writing, blogging, punditry, whatever lends itself to “debate” more than just about anything this side of politics. So talk about being overly sensitive. And dumb. Blocking people over trivial shit is dumb, too.
When you block someone, they can’t see what you Tweet (at least not easily), which means, for a writer, they’re not gonna click on your stories. Which means less page views. Which means less advertising revenue. Sure, it’s only dozens (hundreds?) of people, and it makes no difference to Comcast, Roob’s employer. But blocking the people are who obviously most interested in what you do is the opposite of intelligent. It’s basically a reporter’s job in 2015 to tweet and converse with readers on social media. Blocking those with divergent views is just weird.
*After a while, it’s hard to detect sarcasm because you become conditioned to assume people are being dicks. I’ve shot back at well meaning readers more than once before realizing they were joking. Personally, I don’t give a shit if you don’t like me or think I suck, but I still get pissed off when people are just wrong in their criticism. Something like “You only wrote this post because you’re friends with [name]” or “You stole this from [site, usually Deadspin],” when it’s completely inaccurate, sends me into a blind rage, because it’s usually baseless.
UPDATE: Les, too!
I’m blocking you! is the new I’m telling on you!