Don’t Feed the Troll

How to make criminals and other egregious egos famous: feed the troll.

If we severed the nerve of communications that made malicious, malevolent, violent, narcissistic and deranged criminals famous (before, during or after their crime) by way of their visibility on Twitter, Facebook, and XYZ network news soundbites, that silence would go a long way to ending the fame and notoriety of saying and doing reprehensible things.

You silence the troll by starving it of attention, not by feeding it.

Dave Winer says it works for so-called politicians too.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. So true about politicians. The media has corrupted the entire political process. Like cigarette ads, political ads should be banned from television. This would: (1) remove the need for politicians to raise huge sums of money for TV ads, thereby freeing them to actually spend time on the jobs for which they were elected; (2) dissipate the influence of wealthy individual donors and special interest groups/lobbyists; (3) require candidates for office to actually meet voters in person and look them in the eye as they talk and shake hands, rather than broadcasting their poll-driven, scripted messages via studio sound bites; and (4) make room on the airways for healthier, more enjoyable programming.

  2. It’s all about getting and keeping attention–take the attention off and the behavior goes away. As for Twitter and Facebook, it’s a shame you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube!