Subscribe to Bourne's Blog Grab My Feed!Subscribe to Bourne's Blog Subscribe to Comments

Twitter Tolerance, and a Column I Think You’ll Like



New Puck DaddyOn the many ways players get told they’re being traded.


My cousin Adam is on twitter (he’s a good follow, aside from his shiiiiiitty taste is sports teams. @Hnatty92. Really, Dolphins, Senators and Rangers? Have some pride.), and had a friend tweet a pretty funny joke, which he promptly retweeted for Darren Dreger to read…. who promptly blocked him. 

It was when Dreger introduced his new blog, The Dreger Report.  Making a play on the fact that the infamous hockey “insider” “Eklund” just bites everything Dreger tweets, says or sings and claims it as his own information, the oh-so-scandalous tweet was: “Looking forward to the introduction of The Dreklund Report tomorrow.”

Of all things to block someone over…..

Given the BS Dreger probably gets from the public, I don't blame him for being quick on the block gun.

Anyway, it got me thinking about Twitter tolerance: how much should we have?  Not only do I want to block, ohhh, 5% of my followers, but I want to punch about 4% of them.  I don’t, because….whatever.  How hard is it for me to simply ignore their messages and just forget they’re reading mine?

So as of this moment, I’ve only blocked one person, and it wasn’t for any one tweet that really irked me.  It was just a constant barrage of shitty, negative responses to everything I put out there that I didn’t want to deal with.  I had engaged said random person before and didn’t like their tone, and still resisted the block. 

But you know how sometimes you just have “one of those days?”  He said something minorly annoying when I was already annoyed, so I said eff it, and blocked him.

There’s a commenter on Puck Daddy who I don’t appreciate either (Benjimann or something, I dunno), not because the guy is mean and hateful, just…..why comment with one negative sentence on every post?  Piss off.

Anyway, there was an interesting story from Jeff Pearlman of CNN/SI who actually sought out a couple of his blatantly hateful commenters, tracked down their phone numbers and called them, only to find them apologetic, basically explaining a) it’s easier behind the walls of the internet and b) they didn’t think he’d be reading.

Point is, I am, in fact, reading your comments and replies, even if I don’t have time to respond because I have to work, or am simply not at my computer, but reading on the phone.

Those people he called probably got what they wanted – his attention – which sucks, but it goes to prove a point: Not many people are really as crappy as their hateful internet comments, so I’m calling out to all of us to be better from now on.  There’s nothing wrong with being a sarcastic dick, but the actul vicious, nippy stuff?  It’s unnecessary.

The internet isn’t new anymore, and it’s time we up the etiquette a little.  Not here on this blog, by the way, everyone here could stand to be a little more disagreeable, if anything.  But when you comment on other people’s work, or tweets, or videos….how about questions about the stuff you don’t like instead of leaving a line of hate and moving on to LOLcats without even realizes you soiled a moment of someone’s day?  Open the conversation up.

Go buy Bob's book.

I’m not the Almighty Polite or anything.  I’m not all free-love and we have to agree on everything, just look at my post yesterday that involved Adam Proteau.  It’s just healthy once in awhile to realize this new internet age is the death of the one-sided conversation you used to get from sportswriters like Rick Reilly, who by the way, are at the forefront of the blogs-are-stupid, what’s-this-tweeter-thing-I-keep-hearing-about resistance.

Nobody in the world has adjusted better than Bob McKenzie, who happily LOL’s his way through his @’s, making people realize he’s a person, not just some guy who spouts hockey info on TV all day long.  We know about his sons, his musical tastes, and more.  We feel like we know him, because he’s embraced the recent shifting of the plate tectonics under the sports media world, and we like him all the more for it.

Times have changed, so it’s time that we do too.


Follow me on Twitter


34 Responses to “Twitter Tolerance, and a Column I Think You’ll Like”
  1. Karina says:

    So you actively check your @Mentions on twitter? I can see the annoyance if that’s the case, I guess. I just ignore the people who piss me off the most and anyone I’m following who starts down the path of really pathetically nit picky sarcasm gets unfollowed. I don’t see the need for blocking on twitter, personally.

  2. talkendo says:

    You might be thinking of Jeff Pearlman’s piece over at CNN/SI:

    Otherwise, great article. I love the people who’ve adapted and are really buying Twitter as a way to be a PERSON. I want to get my sports news from someone who is a) real and b) a fan. And you’re on that list.

  3. jtbourne says:

    Karina – Actively would be an understatement. More like obsessively. I can generally gauge the quality of my day’s work through there, so even on days when I’m not responderrific, I read every single @.

    talkendo – that’s it! Thanks so much, I’ve edited that paragraph so it makes me look smarter. Thanks for the link.

  4. Derek says:

    Amen Bourne! You spoke directly to the part of the internet that makes me hate it sometimes. As a Canadian living in Las Vegas, I need to go to the internet to talk about hockey. Prior to moving here I hardly ever spent much time on the internet, as hockey was just a part of everyday life. However, I know like three people who know anything about hockey here, and they really don’t know the game like someone who grew up in it. So I head to the internet to talk hockey. Yet almost every hockey blog or forum is filled with assholes ready to attack every person who doesn’t agree with their every thought. Some days I get more frustration out of peoples behavior on the internet than I do enjoyment from reading about the sport I love. It’s why I always comment on your PD articles here. For whatever reason you seem to appeal to the most level-headed hockey fans on the internet. Keep up the good work and keep fighting the good fight!

    As for your PD article: good insight into players getting traded. I only played junior, but it reminds me a lot of players getting called up or sent down. I know I had a few nervewracking moments after being called into the GM’s office. I had just had a couple pretty poor games in a row, and didn’t even see the ice in the third period in the game the night before. I was fully expecting to get sent down, but instead was getting called up for a practice and maybe a game, as the big club was playing a big rival in two nights, who they had a series of line brawls against the previous game. They wanted another plug to throw into the bottom of the lineup to throw out there if the game got out of hand. I didn’t end up playing, but that sense of dread walking from the dressing room to the GM’s office in half your gear sounds similar to a guy about to get traded.

  5. @skennedy39 says:

    Why is there no etiquette – lack of accountability and immediacy. The same reason you give the finger to someone on the road when you are confident you will never see them again, but don’t say a thing to the guy one foot away with 50 items in the 10 items or less aisle at the grocery store.

  6. Jarick says:

    After many years of internetting, I try to live by one rule: if I wouldn’t say it to someone face to face, I won’t say it on the internet.

  7. Liviu Bird says:

    The dude you’re thinking of is Sports Illustrated blogger Jeff Pearlman, who wrote about it for CNN. Lots of confusing crossing of webpages there. But here’s the link:

  8. kkobers says:

    Great post. The immediacy of twitter/internet can get the best of all of us and I know that as well as anyone after getting into with Joe Yerdon on twitter over the Cooke hit. It’s so hard to not snap quickly or rush to judgement over something that’s said or written. We all can do a better job of remaining civil whether we agree with what is said or not. Differing opinions don’t give you the right to be a jerk

  9. Jarick says:

    On the finger thing, a friend of mine gave a guy the finger on the road riding in my passenger seat, and that guy followed us to our destination, started pounding on my car, and beat the hell out of my friend. Lesson learned.

  10. Jarick says:

    Ugh, shame I can’t consolidate these, but just to be the counterpoint to the A-holes, I’ve ready quite a bit of your stuff and practice it for my game JB. The shooting from the top of the circles was an eye opener. Put a marker at the top of the circles, and sure enough I was actually shooting from the hash marks and in and taking nearly a full second to get the shot off.

  11. Lizzie says:

    Was it Chris Anderson from Wired? I haven’t read the article itself, but just listened to an interview with him where he talked about something similar, realizing there are people on the other side of what you’re reading on the internet, and also, the entitlement and expectations people have for FREE content. Like, people seem to get more angry, or demand better quality, or a concession to their feelings/opinions, when they don’t like a blog post than they do when they don’t like content (books, etc) they actually paid for. Or maybe that’s just skewed becasue the internet offers the opportunity for direct, easy feedback. They can only curse and throw a book and maybe write a letter.

    (Anyway, this could have been in TIME; I don’t know if he was talking about a piece he wrote for his own magazine or elsewhere, or maybe even just talking about the topic with no related article! Just, it was a very similar conversation.)

  12. StoneDevil says:

    You are on the money sir, one of the reasons I rarely comment on anything I read is because I don’t like being trolled by the ignoramouses who think they’re better than everyone else, that and my sarcasm doesn’t always come off as such.

  13. yuhas says:

    Good stuff, I never understood the hurtful, nasty, negative shit. I understand people have differing opinions, but to be as nasty as some people are just blows my mind. What also baffles me is that its the same people over and over, if you really don’t like what you read, why do you continue to read the same peoples stuff? Makes me laugh, bourney…makes me laugh

  14. AndrewBHDL says:

    I would like to politely disagree. I don’t think there’s any need for us to politely disagree with each other……oh god…what have I done? *HEAD ASPLODE*

  15. paul says:

    I’m not really sure where you’re coming from Bourne, I only have 7 twitter followers, and I think my mom just follows me to be nice (that was a joke, btw.)

    I see where you are coming from though and I was bothered by the comments on your Deadspin debut. I totally get the Deadspin commenter landscape, but given its been about two solid years of following your evolution as a writer, I felt like a friend of mine was unjustly being attacked in some cases (sorry, I shy away from the Puckdaddy commenter zone).

    I’d love to comment on a lot of stuff be it on Twitter, FB, comment areas, etc. but 9 times out of 10, I worry about how it will be interpreted or its just flat out not funny. I also cling to the Louis CK reasoning that theres no real reason for me talk, it doesn’t exist, I have nothing to say. (yet here I am posting, whatever I’m tired)

    Although I think a lot of people missed out on one of better tweets in regards to the Mark Sanchez debacle, “What are they gonna do? Lock #marksanchez up for being awesome?”

  16. andy says:

    i dont know when or why it became acceptable to be a douche to people, but it seems that it has.

    it always amazes me how much abuse paul bissonnette takes on twitter.
    the man is doing nothing but opening up the game for ‘fans’. its a great thing, but the ‘fans’ see this as an invitation to hurl abuse. he can take it and does an excellent job handling it, but its so unnecessary.

    there was a time when i thought that people were basically good and could do the right thing, but im not really sure of that anymore. our culture is slowly spinning out of control.

  17. Ashley says:

    Like I told my 10th grade sociology teacher, just because you have an opinion, doesn’t mean I need to hear it or give a sh*t about it. yeah, she didn’t say much to me after that.

    Don’t be like the guy sitting to my left at the bar last night who, after a few bud lights, was very close to fighting whoever looked at him sideways. I finally had to tell him, twice, to just drink his beer and watch the boston-montreal game. Contrast that with the guy sitting to my right, who switched between saying (jokingly) that he was gonna fight me, and (seriously) trying to sell me the pretzel I was eating. Somehow the two of them eventually came to the conclusion that I was ‘manlier’ then pretzel boy. Could be that he was drinking cranberry and vodka, while I drank beer.

  18. Dignified77 says:

    Hey Bourne. I commend you for only blocking one person. I like following you on Twitter and reading your articles written from a hockey Players perspective. To be honest I think it takes a lot to shrug off comments but it only makes you come off as more mature. The last thing you need is to give comments to those spreading negativity. In general I try to be positive on twitter but every once in a while I might indulge in some fun.

    For example, I have been blocked by two hockey writers, Damien Cox and Bob McKenzie. Damien Cox I deserve, Bob McKenzie I’m surprised for reasons you have pointed out on twitter.

    Damien Cox blocked me one drunken night in October when I called him Leaf biased and a douche whilst watching Leaf game. Of course, I wasn’t being so kind to Cox, so being blocked is warranted. I was also drunk. Reading Cox’s bio on Twitter he states that he enjoys interacting with interesting people in the hockey world, “..The rest? Buh-Bye.” I guess I’m not interesting to Damien Cox. Boo hoo.

    Being blocked by Damien Cox is interesting in itself. When talking to fellow hockey nuts I bring up that he blocked me and tell them that it is because I called him Leaf biased and used a derogatory comment against him. Most people say they would do the same (and I live in the Greater Toronto Area)

    What surprised me was when Bob McKenzie blocked me. After the first night of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Elliot Freidman and Bob McKenzie were tweeting back and forth to each other at 2 AM in the morning. Being the goof that I am, I commented that Freidman and McKenzie were being “cutesy.” McKenzie tweeted back to me to “leave me alone!” I found this funny and favorited the tweet as I do when “people of interest” reply to me. It’s a small personal victory for the day.

    About a month later, I had noticed that I had not seen any of McKenzie’s tweets. I went to check his twitter page and Alas, I was blocked. I was sort of shocked to be blocked by McKenzie. I, as you have just written about, thought McKenzie had a sense of humor. I was unsure what was so offensive about the cutesy comment? Is he homophobic. I thought McKenzie was one to have a sense of humor and roll comments off. I guess not that day.

    Still I don’t take it too personally. I just call him A-hole when I see him on TSN. His tweets are actually quite informative. However there are so many other hockey writers retweeting him that I never miss out on anything. I’m glad to hear thought, for the most part, he’s has a sense of humor. I guess I’m just one of the few to have gotten to him. Another story to tell I suppose.

  19. ms.conduct says:

    The temptation is to just leave a “You suck, Bourne” comment was strong, but I’ll be a grown-up and resist.

    I’ve never gotten anything negative back on Twitter. But I suspect that if I did, my fuse would be pretty short. I’m on there for fun and if you’re making it unfun, then adios MFer.

    Then again, I don’t claim to be an expert at anything other than hot goalies and other stuff that isn’t particularly controversial, so there’s not much that would set off the haterade. That’s on purpose cuz I’m a delicate flower.

  20. andy says:

    Dignified77 ‘s comments illustrate partially why im not sold on social media (blogs, twitter, whatever comes next) as being useful tools. sure, everyone sees information and its ‘democratic’, but you have to wade through so much bullshit to get to it.

  21. potvinrocks says:

    That Pearlman article was awesome. I love how he took it upon himself to straighten out those “Internet Tough Guys”. Some people will freely type something that they never would say face to face. They feel free to vent some vicious alter-ego. I guess you writers have to have a sense of humor about it all. I know Wyshynski seems to have a good sense of humor about negative comments.
    I don’t imagine that Salinger, Kerouac or Hemingway would have liked to hear comments or tweets from people on what they thought about some of their early stories.

  22. Tapeleg says:

    I think you might be interested in this guy’s perspective: It’s a little extreme, but parts of it make sense.

    I tend to take a two strike rule: If you were a jerk to me once, you might again, but I will wait and see. If you are a jerk again, you will probably be again, and I have better things to do with my life. I will block the person, and not worry about how they feel about it, if they even notice. Chances are, unless you know them personally, they won’t.

    I’ve blocked people I generally enjoy in person, or talking to over the phone. There is something about the medium that dehumanizes the messages both ways. It’s hard to imply tone in a tweet, and most people think they do a better job of conveying what they mean than they actually do. People do forget that there is a person on the other end if the line. I’ve done it, and I try not to.

    Unfortunately, twitter doesn’t give us another option. ‘Block’ is a harsh way of putting it, when perhaps the message of ‘I don’t want to interact like this with you’ would be more appropriate. It’s the only tool we have. It would be nice to just have a ‘I don’t want to see any more tweets from this person, but they can read mine’ option. How about an ‘ignore’ button? That would be nice.

    I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you. You have put a lot of thought into it, which is more than a lot of people do. Twitter is an imperfect medium. We are just using it. :)

  23. Alix in SJ says:

    Gotta admit, I love following Bob McKenzie for the reason you cited.

    But *I*, at least, still don’t want to see him in lingerie. :)

  24. andy says:

    sorry, im going to be a comment section hog…

    i think we’ve been conditioned to think that our opinions are valuable and that we’re precious little stars.
    (they arent, and we arent either) twitter is, i think, making this worse. giving a voice to people who have no business talking…

    the problem with this lies in the fact that our opinions are generally not based in anything resembling fact.
    good writers, people who have opinions that are valued, research the shit out of what they write. they have contacts who can give them good information. they are connected. the public isnt.

    the problem with thinking that everyone can write (or tweet, or blog, etc.) is that not everyone can. not everyone is that bright, that good with language, or able to make informed judgments.
    we should expect that from our media outlets. i expect that, certainly.

    i went to art school. would you rather i fix your car or paint you a picture?

  25. The Franchise says:

    Dolphins and Senators …….shitty sports teams? Those words may get you blocked on twitter.

    Great read, I am just blown away that a journalist who makes their trade in gossiping about others would be so offended by a joke. I appreciate the time any ‘celebrity’ tweeters take to respond to tweets to them. I can also understand blocking the constant barrage of negative insults.

    Goooooooooooooo Senators, when can I get a Ladeskong jersey?

  26. Justin,
    It is a breath of fresh air to read your work. I look forward to your new stuff all the time. Yes, it is difficult having that one little thing get picked at, and even worse having that draining back and forth trying to explain to someone who does not want to get it anyways. Your passion for the game is what brings me back. Keep it up and Thank You.

  27. liverning says:

    The worlds (in general terms) love affair with immediately sharing on everything (including seemingly mundane subjects), baffles me. I have zero desire to share my opinions constantly/instantly/daily with people I don’t know (and most of those I do know). And yet I find myself commenting on your blog…!!??… Frequently! (Hi!… Um, Irony? Yeah, nice to meet ya…).

    The immediacy and veiled id capabilities of communicating today means that you are often going to get the ‘knee jerk’, visceral, negative reactions foremost. I visit some websites daily, and the negativity/mindless drivel of most commenters just means that I have stopped reading the comments. Good call on your part on asking ‘us’ to step up and be better… I hope it works.

    Good, thought provoking blog…

  28. Deirdre says:

    It’s funny,. You are the only person who I’ve never met but read their blog who I’ve taken to referring to as “a friend of mine said this.” Far too many people tune out when you say “I read on X blog,” but listen when it’s from a friend…and I like spreading your wisdom around.

    So if we ever do meet face to face I totally owe you a beer or 6, but for now I’ll keep on trying to send enough to cover a six pack every once in a while :-)

  29. runtymom says:

    I try to read and enjoy the blogs and twitter posts I follow without adding anything. Mainly because I believe what my mum told me years ago, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” And, for fear that what I have to say has been said and is simply meaningless. You know “It is better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” I believe was credited to Abraham Lincoln. Smart man he….

  30. Heather says:

    I’ve been on holiday and am just getting around to catching up on blogs, etc. I can’t even tell you just how much I love this post. It’s unbelievable what people will say on the internet just because it’s somewhat anonymous. I’m one of those whose online “personality” is the same as my real one. I don’t say anything online that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Ever. I really don’t get the online bullies and, in some ways, the even worse constantly negative commenters. Anyway, spot on with this post. SPOT. ON.


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Conor McKenna, blurr1974, John Kosak, Matt Labernik, Chad Forrest and others. Chad Forrest said: Well written! RT @jtbourne: I wrote a post about Twitter Tolerance on my personal blog. How much of it should we have? [...]

  2. [...] Ever left a nasty note on a blog? A news article? What about to someone on Twitter that you did not agree with? [...]

  3. [...]                       BB: Twitter takes tolerance. [...]

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!