Twitter can be an incredible PR tool, getting the word out on products, events, companies, celebrities, and anything else you can think of is a Twitter specialty. In fact, Twitter is one of the few places where you can easily contact a group of journalists, bloggers, and the like with hashtags such as #HARO, #journoresearch, and #bloggerresearch. You can also use sites to locate Twitter accounts for specific writers and contact them directly through Twitter.
Unfortunately, whenever you get something that amazing, there seems to be an equally negative issue to deal with as well – call it another example of life balance …. For those using Twitter, you probably won’t need to be told about the negative …. Trolls!
Over time, Twitter has developed a harsh reputation because of trolls swarming about under low internet bridges waiting – not at all patiently – to jump out and scream their vilest comments, or whisper them in a gravelly ultra-creepy tone. They use foul language, spew hate language, cyberbully, and even offer death threats simply because they’ve found someone with different views, or who seems an easy target.
More than one person has found themselves without a job because they said something for which others took offense and then turned it into a booming chant applying pressure for the miscreant to be fired.
If you have an account on Twitter, be careful what you say, how you say it, and what you joke about. Remembering always, there are those out there taking malicious delight in the opportunity to show their troll teeth before sinking them firmly into any exposed comment.
At various times, Twitter and its CEO have promised they intend to take the trolling problems seriously, and cracking down, but so far, despite what they’ve said, nothing changes. Here is their existing policy:
We review all reported content against our rules, which prohibit targeted abuse and violent threats.
Until Twitter actually follows through on their promises to take action against trolls, check, double-check, triple-check everything you say online and be prepared, even then, to face down an advancing army of the troll hordes.
But for other platforms and media sites looking for a way to deal with the trolls, we like what Arianna Huffington decided to do at the Huffington Post – requiring that people no longer be allowed to leave anonymous comments. Almost overnight their troll issue disappeared. She said, “Freedom of expression is given to people who stand up for what they’re saying and who are not hiding behind anonymity.”
How do you think Twitter should deal with trolls – or do you think they should continue as they have done so far?