You can't see the person; you can't speak to them, in person or otherwise. Even looking at pictures of the person, or remembering events with them, all you see is the gray figure. One character said it was like having your memories vandalized. It's a world that encourages impulsive reactions to others, and those impulsive reactions have lasting consequences.
The current episode I'm watching, Nosedive, explores how people establish their self-worth through social media. In this world, people rate each other - their posts and their interactions. Even total strangers have the ability to rate a person who makes them smile or pisses them off. Your overall rating establishes your place in society, and impacts where you live, what job you can hold, and what medical treatment you can receive. As we follow the main character, Lacie, who is trying to raise her rating so she can get the apartment she wants, she encounters a string of bad luck causing her rating to plummet and everyone around her to shun her. It's much like the block, except now people look at your rating to decide if they're worth your time. They see you, but not really.
Either way, if you're blocked or down-rated, you're nobody. It reminded me of a poem by my favorite poet, Emily Dickinson:
The message is clear: It's time to stop basing our self-worth on people who don't value us. That may mean accepting that you're nobody to someone. But in the end, what makes the character - and us - happiest are real interactions that aren't based on a momentary up/down judgment.I'm nobody! Who are you?Are you nobody, too?Then there's a pair of us -- don't tell!They'd banish us -- you know!How dreary to be somebody!How public like a frogTo tell one's name the livelong dayTo an admiring bog!