James Blunt ''enjoys'' being abused online.

The 'Bonfire Heart' hitmaker insists he doesn't mind getting nasty messages on Twitter and likes using the social networking website to engage in jokey humour with his critics.

He said: ''I used to tweet a lot more because I was being abused and I rather enjoy being abused, because I'm a sado-masochist.

''I was in the army and I was abused much more there! It's only words but I can understand why young people can feel bullied by that kind of thing, but for an adult like myself, it's not abuse, I enjoy it. And I really enjoy writing back and having a laugh with them. I don't think we should take Twitter that seriously.''

The 37-year-old singer knows it is easy for his fans to turn on his detractors, so has come up with a way to help keep things friendly.

He explained: ''Normally people are very friendly when they realise you're a human being and what I do if I think I've done something a bit punchy, where my followers might get a little abusive back, I follow the person - so they'll spit that - and I write them a personal message just saying, 'This is all to be taken in good humour, if anyone gives you any grief just say we're mates.' ''