In A Dirtshell: Crimefollow

People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word.

Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death.

(George Orwell, 1984)

George Orwell’s dystopian vision of a world of near-total surveillance describes crimethink as a thought that was unacceptable to the ruling party. Following this definition, this reporter proposes the following new word.

Crimefollow: the act of following someone on Twitter whom someone else finds unacceptable.

Two notable cases which SkepDirt has covered in the past are Melody Hensley vs. ElevatorGATE and Surly Amy vs. Sharon Hill*. Amy got mad at Sharon because Sharon was following Angry Skepchick, and Melody got so mad at all 300+ followers of ElevatorGATE that she blocked them all – even thew ones who weren’t following her – and later had to protect her account because of all the flak she was getting.

Why It’s Stupid

That’s not how Twitter works. Blocking doesn’t keep the blocked person from seeing the blocker’s Tweets; it prevents the blocker from seeing the blocked person’s Tweets. It’s like trying to avoid someone by putting a blindfold on yourself. Unless a Tweeter protects her account through the “Protect my Tweets” setting, anyone can still see any Tweet of theirs simply by logging out of Twitter and looking someone up by username.

Making the assumption that following is the same as agreeing is also stupid. This reporter will not explain this obvious conclusion here.

It also doesn’t make tactical sense. Michael Corleone said, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer,” and he was right. If the blocker doesn’t see what her adversaries are saying, especially about her, then she will be blindsided by every move her adversary makes.

What’s Smarter

If blocking people you hate is stupid, what’s the smart thing to do?

The exact opposite, of course: follow the people the person you hate follows.

The person you hate has probably blocked you, because she is stupid, but the people she follows probably don’t know much about you. Follow them. Get the same information your adversary is getting. You can then predict what your adversary is thinking, and that gives you a huge advantage.

This might be a huge number of people. Try to trim it down to people you are already familiar with.

* In those articles, this reporter used the word “followcrime” instead of “crimefollow.” In the context of the book 1984, “thoughtcrime” is a noun and “crimethink” is a verb, so to stay true to the source the word this reporter should have used is “crimefollow”.

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