The analysis of #trumpTrollery builds on and resonates with what I’ve seen in other socialMedia environments.  Some of the best insights were made during my year-long evaluation of an affinity-oriented socialNet.

I believe that we all started to get a little uneasy a few years ago, as we realized the addictive and manipulative qualities of socialMedia environments (affinity-as-the-echo-chamber).

A few years ago I started analyzing and commenting-on my own preferred socialMedia platforms.  LinkedIn was the initial focus, because it was my primary ‘valued source’ – and I was concerned that it was being diluted, as LI management made a concerted effort to de-value the most powerful aspect of the arena:  Groups.

After a couple of years of frustration with that effort, I opted for the-new-socialNet-kid-on-the-block beBee, which – though far less professional – at least seemed a little more self-aware and creative.  Well … sort of, but not really.

Within a year of getting involved with beBee, I realized that it offered an excellent opportunity to look ‘under the hood’ at …

the Dynamics of Affinity Engineering

Here are some of the ways it works:

I thought I saw things on a socialNet.  So I decided to do a reality check on my assumptions.

Once a month, over the course of 6 months, I reviewed  and mapped the most recent 100 posts on the public dashboard of a socialNet  and looked for patterns.  I found them.  Here they are.

Priming the Pump 

rs031-11An attempt to level the playing field for this popular topic in a socialNet’s self-marketing.

The evolution of “the Promotionalist

  • Buzz: The Confluence of Influence Marketing and Stealth
  • Subsidy : You get what you pay for
  • Useful Metrics an analysis of the dynamics of self-promotion on the socialNet

The Magic Marker Exercise

Want to get a sense of what types of info are on a socialNet feed? And who’s doing the talking?

Just grab a magic marker…

  • See the Pattern.
  • Map the Pattern.



1-employee-brand-ambassadors1The Full Disclosure Ambassador

The role and profile of a subsidized / partisan spokesperson in the socialNet environment.

  •  Let’s explore some ethics.


Gaming the System

Whether it’s Like’s or View’s or Buzz, socialMedia is fundamentally a numbers game.

  • Create the illusion of popularity and inflated metrics on a socialNet.



These are some of the patterns underlying the Affinity Game.  There’s more, of course.

Trollery is all part of a larger whole:  It is an understandable-but-nasty byproduct of the socialNet environment.

for example: How to do it right

 Looking for a credible alternative for relatively intelligent discussion of important issues in a socialNet-like environment?  Check out Quora.  Not perfect – but worth a look. (my stuff is at

Here’s a response by Quora mediators to a particularly offensive trumpTroll:

“The OP (original poster), currently blocked for multiple Quora policy violations, is frequently rude, inarticulate and shouty in their questions and comments. The consensus is that it is those qualities, not an inherent political stance, which is causing the OP to have challenges integrating with interacting with other Quorans.”

  • Note that the troll’s partisanship is specifically addressed as ‘not an issue’.



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