I like to consider myself a strong woman. Throughout my communications career I have worked with many strong personalities and more than held my own. Yet, when it comes to social media I find myself holding back. Why is this? fear of trolls… Those anonymous voices that lurk on social media ready to tear about those they don’t agree with. I love a good argument, but trolls are different, their interest is not in having a constructive argument and tearing about a point of view but in personally attacking an individual.
I saw this when a woman I follow on Twitter dared criticize a well liked public figure on social media for an event he was attending. Suddenly the trolls came out of nowhere criticizing her twitter profile picture and resorting to name calling. She chose to ignore these off-sided remarks, most of which from accounts with less than 10 followers. Responding to these attacks only raises their profile and validates their attacks, but I am not sure if I have the teflon skin to deal with such backlash.
When you engage in social media you are to a certain extent opening up yourself to these attacks but my question is whether social media, in particular twitter is doing enough to stop trolls. Even if an account is blocked, it is easy for an individual to just create a new account and go back to launching personal attacks. Are there steps Twitter should be taking to verify an individual’s identity? What is the line when deciding whether a threat is serious enough to involve the police?