Just over 7 years ago, I introduced Flipboard to the visitors of this blog. In essence, it’s a news aggregator of stories from all over the world. It’s comprised of blog posts, newspaper and TV articles and videos on almost any topic imaginable.
physically bigger than trolls, but less dangerous 🙂
I’ve been a fan of Flipboard for all these years, and I’ve spent many nights and early mornings laying in bed flipping through all sorts of stories and such, although this year I’ve been going through a lot of political and societal issues in the United States. This has led me to learn more about Flipboard trolls, how to identify them, how to deal with them, and when to decide not to respond to them. That’s what I’m sharing with you today.
Even though it’s not quite a social media platform, Flipboard has turned into one in its own way. The major problem with social media platforms is that they don’t perform due diligence when it comes to verifying whether someone is serious about using the platform for what it’s giving you, or whether these bodies are real or not. In many ways, it’s amazing how technology has grown and allowed people to set up bots to look for certain words to comment on, while at the same time deciding to ruin the experience for others.
Sometimes I can be quite naive. It wasn’t until late last year when I first noticed the trolls on the site. It never occurred to me that there would be bad actors who didn’t care what the topic was or how serious it was; their objective was to instigate and get people riled up, even if they weren’t around to see it. Of course, there are some real people who do the same thing, but I’ll get to both of these.
I share a lot of what I see on the site, as well as some articles I come across offsite. When I’m on Flipboard and I’m thinking about whether or not to not only share an article but leave a comment, I first take a look at the comments that are already there. I don’t expect everyone to believe in the same things I do because that would be pollyanna of me, but if someone disagrees I’m at least hoping the point they’re making is somewhat cogent, even if I don’t agree with it.
What I mainly see are talking points that have nothing to do with the topic, one liners that I know are there to rile people’s sensibilities. Sometimes there are long form comments that do the same type of thing, which still irks me but at least I know it’s a real person.
Either way, whenever I come across a comment that feels inappropriate, what I do is look at that person’s profile by clicking on their name… which is usually a fake name without an image. I check to see if they’ve ever done anything with the account. You’ll see how many flips there are (that’s what it’s called when you share something under a category), how m any magazines they’ve created (I have over 20), how many likes they’ve shared (if you don’t want to flip anything, you can always like something by clicking on a “heart”; I rarely do this) and how many people or topics you’re following (I’m following fewer than 10 people, but I’m following 40 or so topics).
If the account isn’t showing much or any other activity, or doesn’t have an image of any type, I pretty much determine that account belongs to a troll. True, not everyone has an image like I do, but after a while you start getting a feeling that either it’s a bot or someone whose trying to irritate people. Either way, I’m not in the mood to deal with a lot of nonsense, so my next move is to click on the 3 vertical buttons on the upper right (that seems to be the standard place to go on social media sites lol) where you have 3 specific choices: mute user, block the person or report the account.
Basically, the only thing you get out of it is a bit of satisfaction that you’ll never have to deal with that person if you decide to share something in a magazine, or if you comment on an article whether you share it or not. Actually, if you share something they never get access to it through you, though they could still show up if someone else flips it… but you won’t see their content, which is still pretty cool.
What I do differently on social media sites as opposed to my blogs is that I’ve never responded to anything anyone has commented on, whether it’s a flip of mine or someone else’s flip. The best thing you can do is ignore trolls everywhere; why get yourself into it since you don’t know who they are, and, as I’m sure everyone on social media has already been told…
I know it can be hard not to engage with people who disagree with you, or whose only purpose is to make others angry. Don’t fall for the trap; ignore, block, and move on with your life. If you’re interested, check out my video below where I talk about dealing with trolls in general terms; peace, out!