Trolling and the rise of political trolls ‘on the rise’
Latest research shows that politicians all over the world are becoming active on social media by the day and many are signing up on Twitter, Facebook and Google plus to air their ideologies to the members of the public while would be politicians are selling their visions to potential voters. However, from what I have observed politicians engaging in social media should be extra careful and must be more than ever before ready to embrace change otherwise they will end up looking “Internet buffoons”. Social media platform are used by people interested in political issues with their main aim is to engage their politicians by praising them where they deserve and taking them to task on their failures or lack of actions. I strongly believe that politicians should set up accounts on social media networks with complete profile and keep them updated otherwise they are of no value to the intended audience. For example, a developing world head of state whose identity I cannot mention opened a Twitter account early this year and has not updated it since then. Interestingly, Twitter has verified his account and has more than 100,000 followers and he’s only following his wife. One thing that it is important for politicians to understand is that social media platforms are for them to interact with their voters and non-voters as well as other members of the public. What annoys is that politicians who have opened accounts, they don’t know or interact with their followers and are less concerned. In a constant stream of posts and tweets written under pseudonyms have become the majority of online users who make comments that are explicit and insulting, abusive and even way beyond the outer limits of what sane people would think was in acceptable taste.
Some use the excuse of “busy schedules” that are always characterized with aloof and out of touch political class. Members of the public should be informed whether a president or politician is busy or not and schedule should not be an excuse. Some followers like me want to see who these politicians are behind their officialdom. In social media unlike mainstream media, you can tweet about the soccer or Basketball team you support, or even Television programs that you never miss. For example together with Miami based friend we have given a female friend of ours First Lady of Heat Nation because of her unrivalled passion for the reigning National Basketball Association champions Miami Heat. Relevance is important and vital for politicians both aspiring and seasoned ones because times are changing fast and news cycle on social media is much shorter than on mainstream print and electronic media. My advise to the political class is that they should learn to choose their battles on social media where cowards and half hearted rarely survives. Unless politicians avoid being trolls, Social Media outlets could herald the end of their political career. Unfortunately, some have ended up on that path of self-destruction by posting or commenting stupidly to queries from members of the public and should learn how to be proactive online. Most of those who use social media have the mental strength to be able to deal with trolling, even when it gets nasty.It is probably impossible to impose new regulation on the social media using members of the public including politicians but as public figures they should restraint themselves from reacting like high school teenagers in responding to criticism.