Who Belongs To The Block List?

When someone is “talking to”, there’s a sender and a receiver. The sender wants to influence the receiver with a message—often by interrupting; the sender speaks, and the receiver is forced to listen. There’s no genuine listening. But when someone is “talking with”, things are different: there’s no sender or receiver; there are two humans having a conversation—both talk, both listen.

No one likes to be “talked to”. Here’s one evidence: no one likes unsolicited advice, which is a form of “talk to”.

Ads on TV is “talk to”; heart-to-heart conversation with a friend is “talk with”. Spam email that sells pills is “talk to”, but email from the newsletter you want to hear from is not.

TV ads annoy people by “talking to” them. Pre-internet, it worked because people had no choice—they ate what they were served. But now, there’s this magical button called the block button—it’s free to use, it’s one click away—and with this button, internet consumers can instantly banish annoying people—or companies—that “talk to” them.

P.S. If you’re curious, you can check the list of people you’ve blocked. They’re probably there because they annoyed you by “talking to” you.