Posted by: peterhact | November 6, 2012

Block and Move on… Nothing to read here.

One of the things that has crept into the social media universe is the nasty side of human nature – the people who, for whatever reason, can’t just accept another person’s point of view – they have to pursue the poster across the Twitterverse, The Facebook conversations or other types of social media engagement. They gain the name troll, in itself not a nice way to describe a fellow community member in the particular social media environment, but this seems to have stuck as a warning to other members.

Many comments come out along the lines of “don’t “feed” the trolls” – a direct reference to not engaging with the person who is creating a dark aspect to the discussion.

Many years ago, on CB radios, the trolls were “breakers” – in the midst of a conversation, a call of “breaker, breaker” would be heard. “Come in the breaker” was the natural response, and someone else would be in the conversation. We didn’t know who they were, but the discussions were impacted by their presence. sometimes, people would try to ignore the breaker, but if they were particularly persistent, we would switch channels and leave them searching channels till they finally found us. It was annoying, most of the breakers were kids who had received a CB for christmas, and they did not understand the etiquette of the radio. screaming “breeaaker, breeaaker” over and over in a loud voice just got a short, sharp response from someone else. We never swore, there was a rumor that there was an RI (Radio Inspector) listening in to all conversations, so we kept it clean. There probably wasn’t, but parents took a dim view when hearing their little angel on the radio cursing like a trooper. It was safer to keep it clean.

In social media, the best way to deal with a troll, or a person making improper comments or threats is to block, report and move on. Bullies feed on acquiescence – if you listen to them and don’t think that it is a bad thing, they have access to your friends, they can comment on all things and if you are not interested in the vitriol that they are gushing, why let them control you? Every single user on the social media universe has an opinion. Their opinion may differ from yours, but if it bothers you, block them. remember, you are online by choice, but that does not mean you have to follow others blindly and accept every connection request.

This applies to every form of Social media. If you don’t like where someone is going in a conversation on twitter, block them. If the updates someone is posting on facebook are aimed at discrediting you, hurting you, hurting your family, report and block them. If you are receiving invitations on linkedin from people who can’t even be bothered to explain why connecting to them is a great idea, ignore them. You can also advise linkedin that you don’t know them.

Every different type of social media product has a way of protecting you. They don’t want you to suffer when using their products, as you won’t for long and they know it. There are safeguards to ensure that you can be left alone by people you don’t know, who are being rude, abusive or threatening. if all else fails, block and move on. You may end up with a smaller amount of content to read,  but at least it will be quality, not quantity.


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