So confused right now

So, I’m not even sure if this is worth a blog post, but I am just so confused by a baffling series of event on Twitter today, I wanted to share it and get feedback.  There is an author I greatly respect and admire, I follow her on Twitter. Today she posted this:

“Think I can feel a bout of focus coming on. Fingers crossed. #adhd”

Just in case you don’t know ADHD refers to Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which is a disorder that, among other things, can make it difficult for a person to focus on a task. I responded thusly:

“I think getting off Twitter would help you focus! : ) looking forward to your next book!”

Now, in the world of great humour, that joke is not going to go down as a classic. You know, take away the distraction of Twitter to help you focus. Funny, right? I mean, not hilarious, just a small observation from a fan. And to make sure that the nature of the Tweet was clear, I put in the funny little emoticon, and then mentioned that I was looking forward to her next book. Just a harmless little burst of nothing, like so much on Twitter.

Hours went by, and then I received this reply:

“@drewbeatty Please don’t presume to give me medical advice. Thank you.”

Wow. Presume. Getting off Twitter as medical advice. I was, frankly, surprised.  But hey, at least she said thank you, that’s polite, right? So, in an attempt to clarify, I sent this:

“Sorry, it was only intended as a slight joke, not medical advice. No harm intended.”

See, I even admitted that is was just a slight joke. But then came the real shocker.

I had been blocked by this user.

It might be the first time I have ever been blocked before. I have had lots of users unfollow me, usually spammers that I didn’t follow back, but I don’t know of anyone blocking me. Until today.

So, to recap, I sent a slightly funny Tweet to a favourite author, intending to be supportive, and then  an apology, and she blocked me.

I have to wonder if she was really offended by my joke, as though I was making light of ADHD, but I do not feel the text of my original Tweet has that connotation. Or if she is easily offended about it, then why Tweet about it with a hashtag?

But let’s look at what I lost.

1. Some respect for an author I like. I probably will not read her other books, not out of some childish spite, but more because in the back of my mind it will niggle at me. “She block me for that Tweet!” I will be thinking, and that will take me out of the story. And it’s not like there isn’t a HUGE backlog of other books I would like to read.

2. A Twitter follower. Wait, she never followed me anyhow. So I lost access to her Tweets.

Let’s look at what she lost.

1. An avid fan. I have bought or borrowed most of her books. I have discussed and recommend her work with friends. I have blogged about her readings, I have mentioned her as an inspiration for Lost Gods. So, she was never going to retire on what I could do for her, but it’s not like she is making Stephanie Meyer book sales.

2. A customer. Now I know I have already talked about her books, but this is bigger. Along with being a writer, she also mentors writers. For $2000.00. I was seriously considering trying to scrape the money together to do this, not this year, and probably not next, but in the future. I really, really won’t be doing that now.

So, here are all the facts as I know them. What say you? Was my first Tweet rude or insensitive? Was I playing god by telling someone to get off Twitter? Leave your responses in the comments, please. I’m really curious.

  • It was just a joke. She may have had a bout of focus coming on, but what she really needed was a bout of get the stick out of her ass.

  • Matt

    “So, to recap, I sent a slightly funny Tweet to a favourite author, intending to be supportive, and then an apology, and she blocked me.”

    Should that be “I sent a slightly funny Tweet to a favourite author, intending to be supportive, she snarked about it and blocked me, and then I sent an an apology which never made it because I was blocked.”

    It does seem to matter a little whether the apology was post-blockage and thus didn't actually get to the author.

    Maybe you pushed a button that's already raw? I over-react to some comments not because they are inherently harsh, but because people make them frequently.

  • I'm surprised she ever made it as a successful author with skin that thin, frankly. I can understand her ADHD might be something she's a bit touchy about, but then why tweet about it at all if that's the case? If you do, you're opening yourself up for comments – good or bad. And to react to a fan with that level of rudeness right off the bat… well, she better be a hell of a writer. Word tends to get around when you're a jerk to the people who support you. You might be nice enough not to mention by name this person who was unreasonably rude to you, but it's a pretty safe bet she'll do it to someone else and they won't be.

  • First, I'm gonna do some following of you, 'cause I should have done that a while ago.

    Second… while I can see how someone could be defensive about a singular comment, to block someone like that is a bit ridiculous. As a teacher and academic advisor, I'd recommend turning off any messaging device in order to get work done. It's not medical advice but rather behavioral advice. Sooo… yeah. Thumbs up to your recommendation, sir. I support it.

    Third, I think you illustrate a good point. You can't ostracize fans through social media, especially if you are running workshops and expecting fans to pay you. It's said that you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat those in service around them. I think we can translate that to social media, too.

  • I'm with Cornmeal. It does sound like you touched a nerve which wasn't your intent and, any grown person should be able to recognize that and not be all pissy. So yeah, stick removal recommended.

  • Thanks for all of your comments, people. I appreciate the feedback.

  • davidsobkowiak

    No good deed goes unpunished. Maybe she has ADHD, maybe she's just a b!7(#, but either way it's her loss. Many people have problems with humor delivered in a txt format, whether email, tweet, IM, etc but that doesn't mean that people shouldn't try to look at it from that POV first, before over reacting to a situation. It's easier to over react to a perceived slight, than it is to clean up the mess your over reaction causes. I hope some day I can get a humorous tweet from you, just so I can respond with thanks!

  • Most people just don't have a keen sense of humor. Oh yeah, and lacking basic social skills. I blame it on that.

  • WOW! Drew that is insane. Medical advice? There's a part of me that wants to punch people all the time when they say they have no time to do anything… on Twitter. Get off Twitter, for flip's sake! Close your Internet browser and do something. I think people just look for reasons to be offended, and I don't think you're out of line at all.