Many of our socialMedia platforms have been hijacked by trolls. “What do we do about it“? is the practical & necessary challenge.
A Brief Recap:
troll a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community
- #trumpTrollery is identifiable by its behavioral tactics based on fear, resentment, and extreme partisanship.
- #trumpTrollery reflects a conscious strategy to destabilize, distract, and de-legitimize.
- #trumpTrollery sometimes takes the form of invasive trollishness (an individual disrupts an ongoing thread), but is more often institutional trollery (a highly organized group publishes – and supports – its own disinformation)
#trumpTrolls did not invent this manipulative agenda. They merely utilize it.
Active measures (Russian: активные мероприятия) is a Soviet term for the actions of political warfare conducted by the Soviet and Russian security services to influence the course of world events. Active measures range “from media manipulations to special actions involving various degrees of violence”. — Wikipedia
Russia’s interference on FaceBook and organized, institutional trumpTrollery on other socialNets are a couple of recent & obvious examples of active measures. So – Let’s turn the term around: I prefer to believe that the public can take ‘active measures’ against the trollery which besets us. Okay … how?
Sadly, LinkedIn doesn’t allow us to downvote an article or comment, which makes it difficult to address the bad behavior of trumpTrolls directly. Your only real option is to place your opinion in a Comment. There’s risk in that action, of course. Nonetheless, there is real value in standing up – particularly for issues of consequence. Often it’s simply to establish boundaries for acceptable behavior. This is particularly necessary when dealing with #trumpTrolls.
But the risk is real: trumpTrolls – particularly when in agitated Swarm Mode – are prone to really nasty behaviors. Dealing with someone who’s calling you names is unnecessary overhead and a serious barrier to any possible communication.
I’ve arranged the Active Measures in order of involvement & risk:
- This is the simplest and least painful response: “This is who you are.” When you encounter bad behavior by partisan trolls, just name it for what it it is in a Comment. I suggest the concise hashtag #trumpTrollery
- This is a little more engaging – and can even be fun. I’ve identified a range of the most egregious trumpTroll Tactics in another article. Simply cut’n’paste the appropriate behaviors into your Comment. “This is what you do.” For example:
[ x ] partisan news source
[ x ] simplistic and unproven claims
[ x ] name-calling
This technique alerts other readers to what’s going on, but can’t be viewed as ‘an attack’. At least not by most sane people.
- Now we’re getting into the goodStuff. A little mirror-like reflection: “Why are you doing this?” It’s a softer pushback – and may even include some fact- and reality-checking in your Comment.
- Re-frame reality may take the form of “This is not true.” or “Your behavior is not acceptable.” This means that you’re actually calling them out in your Comment. If you’re willing to risk it – Bless you.
TrumpTrolls are an annoyance. They’re everywhere. The socialNets have proven themselves incapable of dealing with the situation. So it’s up to us. I hope you’ll support those who dare to Do the Right Thing. And maybe even Dare a Little yourself.
- Sometimes (it’s like dealing with little kids – or bullies), you just have to laugh at their silly antics. They will try to provoke you. They will call you names. They will say some crazy shit. Stand your ground and chuckle. Be prepared to tumble, if need be.
- Let’s try to not-wallow in shallow behavior. Name-calling and ad hominem attacks are petty. I know it’s tempting. Especially because Trump has set the bar so low, we all are so frustrated, and the trumpTrolls themselves really insist on name-calling. As a very-smart-Lady said, “When they go low, we go high.” Laughing makes it all worthwhile.
Spread the Word
- I’ve captured some of the relevant info in several postings here on my blog. I believe that it’s accurate, insightful, helpful, readable, and to-the-point. If you think so, too, then please point to the articles as you travel the Web:
and – above all …
Don’t get stuck to the TrumpTroll TarBaby
It is true, as others point out, that #trumpTrollery wants to provoke a reaction. “Feeding the beast” only perpetuates the problem. Yet it is a problem which must be addressed.
Remember that the trumpTrolls aren’t interested in engagement, discussion, or meaningful debate. They just want to waste your time and suck your energy. Keep it simple. Expose their behavior for what it is. Then ignore their insults and attempts to drag you down to their level.
Reasoned debate is worthwhile. Getting stuck to the trumpTroll TarBaby isn’t.
Trollery is all part of a larger whole: It is an understandable-but-nasty byproduct of the socialNet environment.
© The Communication Studio LLC