Thursday, June 11, 2015
Social Media and Trolls...as explained by a couple of ten-year-olds
It’s a late night tonight for the middle of the week. I’m sitting up watching my boys and a friend playing Minecraft on their tablets.
So when one turns to the other and says, “I hate trolls,” it catches my attention. Not because I’ve never heard this term before but because I saw an opportunity to explain something new to them. So I asked, “What is a troll?” Without missing a beat, the youngest says, “There’s this really cool world we want to build in and this guy keeps trying to destroy everything.”
As the evening goes on, they keep trying to make him go away, but acknowledging his obnoxious behavior only further feeds his obnoxious behavior. He keeps destroying the virtual buildings and treasures my kids spent hours building and then they realize that if they ignore him, he will go away on his own.
I am immediately reminded of the same sage advice shared with adults...“Never feed the troll.” That always makes it worse. If you leave them alone, they will go away on their own, without anyone’s platform to grab hold of.
At ten and twelve, my boys have figured out what companies spend big time budgets on in social media to protect their own treasures…little things like brands and reputations, owned assets with great followings and good conversation. Take it from a couple of kids, who know how to play Minecraft in “survival mode.” Much like kids with Minecraft, we are all "living" and trying to survive in the same world, trying to build it up and make it better. Social media is one more tool to help enable all of us to make a bigger difference. Don't feed the trolls and "don't mine at night!"