Monday, 12 September 2011

Why having a locked account doesn’t make you dick

I hate having a locked Twitter account. It is intensely irritating that I can’t reply to people in my timeline who don’t follow me back, if I reply to a mention which includes non-followers they don’t see it and probably think I’m ignoring them, people often assume having a locked account means I’m up my own arse and full of my own self-importance. I am passionate about sharing information and I’m a right bloody chatterbox so being behind a locked door doesn’t sit well with me at all.

I have to protect my tweets because I am being harassed by someone who appears to only understand Twitter as a means with which to make me life hell. This began back in January, I wrote my first blog post about it. All went quiet for some time and I began to put my life back together. At the beginning of the summer I hit a major depressive episode and had time off work with it. I began to recover and went back to work to be told that The Person had written again, this time using any tweets that referred to me leaving the house, drinking and socialising as evidence that I was in fact faking depression and asking my employers to investigate the claim. I still don’t know how The Person knew I was signed off with depression as I never explicitly said it on Twitter. Creepy, eh? I know depression is an often misunderstood condition, so I blogged about it in a bid to explain that being sociable and being depressed aren’t mutually exclusive.

Knowing your every move is being tracked by someone with a grudge against you is unnerving in the extreme. I share a lot, that’s the way I am so what could I do? Delete another account, not tweet anything relating to my personal life or say fuck The Person and continue to tweet openly and publically? Much as I wanted to do the latter I just couldn’t - this is my mental health and career we’re talking about here, not a crusade for open comms - so I locked my account and went through my 570 or so followers, forensically checking them to see if I could identify The Person. I couldn’t so I blocked 226 of them and felt like the biggest bitch going.

Obviously the police are involved although given that their main response has been essentially “dur, leave Twitter stoopid” I don’t hold out much hope of them being particularly useful. My employer is indeed investigating the claim that I have been faking depression – you can imagine how helpful that is in terms of making a full recovery from a major mental health episode – and I still have a locked Twitter account and will probably have to continue to have one for the foreseeable future; until either The Person gets bored, I stop being such an open person or, as currently seems most likely, I have a complete mental breakdown and get carted away to the nearest psychiatric unit.

So if you’re one of those people who feels the need to take the piss out of people with locked accounts, or smugly refuses to follow people back because their account is protected, remember there is a real person behind the avatar, with real reasons for locking themselves behind the door of Twitter and perhaps give them a chance.


  1. Sending you love and hugs for your bravery.

    Don't give up babe. There are plenty of supportive people on Twitter as well as the bastards x x

  2. With regards to the "Oh, you're going out, therefore you don't have depression" bullshit, can your doctor not back you up on this? I am also currently signed off work with depression and am on doctors orders to go out as much as possible (not the drinking part so much as I am up the duff) and generally try and socialise more than I was doing.

    Sorry you're going through all this. I also have a locked account due to work people being twits and I also hate it, have been following you for a while now and your posts always make me smile or empathise strongly with you. Much love and I hope your work see that their investigation is a load of tosh.

  3. Well done for highlighting this problem hun. I would protect my account if I had to. I never think any bad thoughts about ppl who have locked their accounts. I know there must always be a reason. Good luck with everything sweetie. Oh and btw. I'm glad you allowed me to follow you ! Xx R

  4. I think we all protect ourselves one way or another. I don't use my real name on Twitter or on my blog, since I like to be able to write what I want to whom I want and after the Baskers Twitter thing I'm reluctant to be open about who I am, since I work in the public sector.

    The person who is doing this to you is a very strange person. I guess he/ she must have an empty life and a lot of time on his/ her hands to spend the amount of energy he/ she does poking around in your life... Keep on keeping on!

  5. I don't follow you on twitter, however I know about depression, being a sufferer myself and a friend of mine has been stalked on twitter.

    I wish you well and hope that the first option (said idiot gets bored and leaves you alone) happens and soon, and you can unprotect your account and be yourself without fear or worry.

    Chris (@cjmillsnun)

  6. For all my funny/ranty/wryly observational/laugh-a-minute/sweariness I too am a depressive. And occasionally, just very, very occasionally, succumb to a teeny tiny bout of paranoia. I do understand your position. And empathise with the past situation you've outlined. We deal with these things in the way that is the most appropriate - for us.

    You seem to be coping well, and your logic is sound. Just be consistent with yourself because you're your own best friend. You know this though. My coping mechanism is to throw open all the doors and windows in my life. It's bizarre but it works for me.

    But why would someone follow someone else on Twitter, yet not let that person in to their protected zone? Just wondering. I got here via Ali, so you can blame her for my annoying presence. All her fault. Yep. *nods*

  7. you do what's right for you and that's all that matters. i suffer with depression - i'm on a 'high' at the moment and it's amazing but down the line i'll be on a 'low' again - i'm not on medication as i find it zombifies me. i'm also not big on small talk so i can come across as weird i suppose but i'm not i'm just not well but dont feel the need to let all my work 'mates' ahem know. i think who's reported you is being malicious and i wouldnt worry about it too much - you've got right on your side. best wishes (merseyanne)

  8. You lot are all bloody lovely, thank you xx

  9. ((hugs)) having been twitter stalked and changed my user name and locked my account for privacy for a while, I sympathise hugely. You're doing so well though - just keep going xx

  10. Goodness, people are nasty on the old internet aren't they? It would never occur to me to slag someone because they chose to have a private account. Like you say, people should remember that behind the avatars, behind the articles, tweets and blog posts, there is a real person, and being a decent human being is just as important in cyberia as it is in the real world. Ignore them, they're just dicks.

  11. Hi Bear Faced Lady

    I understand that depression is such a major thing in itself, but to have to put up with the harassment and people thinking you are faking it (because they don't understand) is horrible.

    I really hope you find out who is stalking you - I can't imagine what it's like.

    I also hope that those people who don't understand depression make an effort to find out what it's all about, so they can at least offer you some kind of genuine support.

    Take care of yourself. :-)


  12. So sorry to read that this is why your account is locked. I searched for you because I realised your tweets were missing from my timeline and I liked them. What a horrible thing to have done to you, let alone being ill at the same time. I hope things get better and maybe one say we'll see you back in the open again! x (@Lizimina, I don't have a blog account)