With its relatively liberal policies on nudity, twitter stands alone as the most popular nudist-friendly social media platform out there these days. You can post nude photos, you can talk about nudity and nudism, and you can interact with other nudists openly.
Any of those things could see your posts removed and even your account banned on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and most other social media sites. There are a few social media sites, like MeWe, that are open to nudist content, but they tend to have far fewer users.
Twitter stands alone as a destination for nudists. But a recent trend there has started to make it a less warm and welcoming place for nudists - and puts a serious damper on our connecting and socializing together.
That trend: blocking people.
There are plenty of good reasons to block people on twitter; it can be a toxic place.
Women - especially nudist women - are often (if not constantly) harassed, criticized, propositioned, judged, and vilified, and receive numerous creepy DMs and sexually-laden replies to every tweet. Many of my female nudist friends have reported on twitter blocking literally dozens of other users daily.
There are also people who come in to give unwanted and useless opinions. I myself don’t need to see more than one “Y’all are crazy” or “You’re going to hell for immodesty” comment before I hit the block button.
There are also users who will misuse others’ photos - reposting them without attributing them and without permission, often from accounts that are just roundups of nude photos with a single theme. I always block them too.
Finally, there are those with whom I disagree with so fundamentally that I don’t want to have anything to do with them - people who post racist and sexist “jokes” fall into this category. They probably don’t even know I’ve blocked them, but I don’t care - I want no association between my account and theirs.
In general, though, unless a twitter user is being actively harmful, I don’t block them. They might have a feed full of extremely sexually explicit images and videos; they might have political views that are diametrically opposed to my own. But I won’t block them.
I also won’t follow them. Despite being a twitter account primarily about nudism, there are very few nude photos as I scroll down my feed. Most of the photos that appear are the header images for articles and blog posts, too. I just don’t follow photo-centric accounts.
At one time I was much more liberal than I am now. If someone followed me, I followed them back. If someone had an account that seemed connected with nudism, I followed them. But as time went on I’ve become more discerning, and I’ve even gone through my list of follows from time to time and pruned them.
So my policy is: block people who are actively problematic; follow people who are active and positive about nudism; and more or less ignore everyone else.
Not everyone shares my policy approach - which is their right, of course.
Numerous accounts have text in their bio to the effect that “anyone posting, following, or liking porn will be blocked”. It’s nice of them to give a warning! I don’t typically worry about these warnings, because my intentions on twitter are clear. I’m about nudism, not porn.
Something does bother me about this, though: it seems like a purity test for nudism. It’s not that I condone the sexualization of nudity. But it does seem to require that a person - who might have a lot of different reasons for being on twitter - have no impure, non-nudist content in their feed.
That approach also tends to be less inclusive. If you demand that everyone who follows you is well-versed in the principles of nudism, you aren’t going to convince anyone who isn’t already a nudist to give it a try.
One other possibility - what if someone follows an adult performer, erotic photographer, nude model, or exotic dancer specifically to support and empower them? To block the artist’s followers so severely is unfair and judgemental. It can be very difficult to know why anyone follows anyone else.
Not everyone is trying to attract new nudists, of course. But there’s one area where blocking is legitimately concerning: when the blocker is a naturist organization or destination.
This is what made me first start to think about this topic: an AANR regional account blocked me. This came as a surprise: I didn’t know of anything in my twitter history that offended anyone, especially a nudist organization. To make matters worse, they were quite active on twitter, and I would often find replies and retweets in my feed that I couldn’t access.
Eventually I sought out the person who ran the account, and asked why I was blocked; after a brief back-and-forth, I was unblocked. But that person noted that I followed an account that was deemed inappropriate.
I looked up the account, and yes, it wasn’t the kind of account that I normally follow! I unfollowed it immediately, for my own sake, not for AANR’s. (It was probably one of those accounts I followed early on, because they followed me first.) But it left me wondering, why had I been scrutinized so closely and judged too harshly to even follow an AANR account - an organization I’m actually a member of?
I don’t blame the organization, either. They made the judgement they felt they needed to, at that time. The problem is that there’s no public set of rules, no policy, that gives their criteria for followers. In a way, those “Porn followers will be BLOCKED!” accounts are doing a better job of stating their policies.
Two solutions are needed here.
The first is that organizations and businesses need to spend time considering, and writing down, their policies. Social media grew quickly; the preparation and thinking that used to go into communications and messaging were neglected in the rush to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, and the like. But it’s a permanent fixture for many organizations, including naturist organizations, so it’s time to incorporate the social media stance of an organization into its policies.
(Some organization executives might feel they don’t have the knowledge to do this; here’s a great opportunity to involve some younger members, don’t you think?)
The second is that naturists who are interested in bringing new people into the fold - whether they are organizations, businesses, or just private enthusiasts like me - need to have an as-open-as-possible approach to their communications. They don’t need to tolerate abuse and negativity, of course. But the approach of blocking followers because they don’t quite meet one’s high standards has to end.
Social media presents an astounding opportunity for naturists, who once had to hide in heavily-treed lots far from civilization just to enjoy being nude together.
Closing doors and excluding people does not help our movement grow, especially among younger people - the demographic that most naturists recognize as the most important one for our future. Let’s unblock, and join the conversation.
Are you active on social media? Who do you block, and who blocks you? What’s your approach? Tell me in the comments!
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I saw this blog post retweeted by someone, then I read the responses on your post. I am not the type to comment on this kind of tweet on twitter. I don't want that kind of attention. I think most of your commenters are men. My gut tells me the male perspective of blocking is different than a woman's. Men see the bodies and react in male ways. Yes, they'll block if the things reach a certain height on the scale of "yuck". My gut says a woman blocks quicker because "yuck" happens much lower on the scale. So, what… Read more »
Clara, thank you so much for your comment! You're absolutely right that my post (and indeed many of the responses on twitter) are from a masculine point of view. That does skew the responses - and it does miss an important perspective. Of course, ensuring your own twitter experience is a primary concern, especially when the environment can become toxic and abusive very quickly. I don't at all blame people who are more vulnerable (women, LGBTQ+ people, persons of colour) to have the same standards that other, more privileged persons (like myself) might have, and they would want to curate… Read more »
Thank you for this response.
As my account is not private, anyone can follow me. It used to concern me when their views did not align with mine.
I used to block them but I realized that this would probably be a daily occurrence and simply not follow back.
Yes, places like twitter certainly can be relentless. For me, too, worrying about followers just isn't worth it.
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I'm a recent convert to Twitter: I've stayed off, largely because of what's seemed to me of an abuse of the medium by the current occupant of the Oval Office (soon to be RIP, DT -- "Delirium Tremens"). I'll admit, I was lured into it primarily because I had heard that they didn't object to postings about naked life, including photos of people who enjoyed being naked at least as much as I am. And it's really been encouraging to find the number of people on Twitter how are about "normalizing nudity", and advocating for the "normalization of nudity". I… Read more »
Thank you for your thoughts, Allen! I'm in a very similar spot - I am very impressed with the naturist community on twitter, and that the platform is as lenient as it is with (most of) us. And I have no need for content like that on my feed either. However, it's one thing not to follow them, and it's another thing to block them. But what still mystifies me somewhat is people who block other people who follow porn accounts. Why would anyone (especially a nudist organization) care so much that their followers remain pure? That just seems like… Read more »
I enjoy being nude and visiting resorts and nude beaches. I am also interested in photography. After a European trip where I visited several museums and saw paintings of nudes, many from the 1500s or so, I became interested in photographing nudes and started following several photographers. I have never retweeted nor "liked" any pictures, but I was banned from a naturist organization because they apparently didn't like someone I followed. I still don't know who. I don't care about porn, but it doesn't offend me. If I see any, I just ignore it. I've never had to block anyone… Read more »
That's exactly the situation I'm thinking of, David. Following a nude photographer definitely doesn't mean you're a porn-focused account - and surely naturist organizations should understand that! I think organizations really have to rethink their policies.
We do consider ourselves active and we used to go through all of the followers and see if they mainly promote porn in thier feeds or likes etc. To be honest, I think the main reason at the beginning was considering ourselves naturist, and a couple, you don't want the female to feel sexualized so you block. For many males it is very different although there are some that of course feel this also. This can happen with all genders. After a while you begin to accept that if we are going to post photos of ourselves out to the… Read more »
Yes, this is a really good point that I didn't consider when writing this piece - openly nudist women on twitter, no matter what, will largely be sexualized, and blocking is one of the few defences you have. I'm glad you brought it up - thank you!
To each their own, I guess. It is why I don't associate with clubs or organizations very much. I don't even think of myself as a nudist or naturist. I'm a nudie. Clubs and large organizations tend to be on the prudish side. Inherited that from the bad old days when the police were looking for the slightest excuse to raid a place and ordinary people thought nudists were perverts.They will insist that "real" nudists are damned close to asexual. You could exclude just as easily with political preference, economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sexual preference, etc. One… Read more »
So true that clubs and orgs have a certain point of view - I'm not sure it's useful in the modern age though. They really need to learn to modernize and connect with the next generations of naturists, and their current approach isn't working, in my view.
At first, same as you, I used to follow back everyone that followed me. Now I place closer attention before I follow someone back. Make sure that we have something in common or to learn different perspectives that I find interesting. I am one of those who advice that porn account will be blocked. My account is an open account and I do not review all of my new followers, the ones that I do check and see that they just post porn I will block. Many other that just like to repost nude pictures I will not block but… Read more »
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! That's really interesting, that so many unfollows are suspended or restricted accounts. I agree - nudist accounts do attract a lot of unwanted attention on twitter (even more if they are female or couples). But twitter is also one of the places where we nudists can connect. It doesn't make sense for us to be too eager to block each other.
This is really a great post on a topic a lot of us have struggled with. I used to spend time every week combing through new Twitter followers, trying to second guess by the name (or simply the lack of profile) as to what their intentions were in following my feed, but that's pretty much a bottomless pit! (And I hate that you actually have to click through to the Twitter user to find out what they're posting on their feed. Manipulative!) That said, I'm quite picky about who I follow. BUT STILL, I might follow someone who starts out… Read more »
Thank you so much for your thoughts, Dan! I think for many of us it's a lot less effort to just ignore what we don't want to see on twitter, and I wish others would do the same. A stringent blocking policy isn't always worth the effort. Maybe one day nudity on twitter will be normalized enough that women nudists will be completely unremarkable!
Hmm... I've been giving your last point a lot of thought lately, and how that all intersects with the unrelenting campaign to make it appear naturists are asexual beings, or that in fact, there is "nothing inherently sexual about nudity" - when in fact, that would be like saying there is nothing inherently sexual about humans. I find people attractive all the time, clothed or naked, online or in real life. The matter at hand is how I respond t that impulse. Not trying to hi-jack this thread, except to say that I simply can't imagine a day when images… Read more »
Thanks Matt! A very thoughtful discussion that asks us to consider 2nd and 3rd order effects of blocking. Balanced with not accepting inappropriate behavior towards us...which varies from person to person. Such a complex topic, but well timed as we push through this year where many more people look to platforms to safely connect.
That blocking phenomenon is something that I can on one hand understand, at least some of the reasons some argue in favor, but on the other hand it seems so childish (to say it somehow). To me is just like the old time TV, you don't like what's going on? press the button and change the channel, as easy as that. No reason to live offended by others that don't even know you're there. And I also find it so pretentious, that "I'm the holder of the absolute real truth" attitude of many. What in the hell do you shoud… Read more »