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Watch Out Trolls Are About

Updated on July 31, 2018
ethel smith profile image

With a keen interest in British politics this writer is never afraid to share her opinion

Social Media Can Be Fun But Not Always

Social media is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.

It can be fun, time consuming, entertaining, informative and much more including dangerous.

Dangerous you ask, yes dangerous

Consider your social media activity in relation to these questions

  1. Are you self aware on social media at all times?
  2. Do you really know who the people you interact with are?
  3. Do you accept all friends and followers requests?
  4. Is your time-line fairly open or protected?
  5. Do you spend too much time online?
  6. Are you a member of lots of groups on Facebook, too many to keep an eye on

Are You Self Aware On Social Media?

Self awareness is important in the real word as well as in our virtual one.

It can be all too easy to respond to an Internet troll who is trying to get a rise out of you.

If you respond badly deleting your response may be too late even if you act quickly.

There are websites available such as waybackmachine that may still contain your deleted response.

The latest threareader ap can unroll long conversations highlighting every person who commented or liked.

But also remember a troll may have quickly grabbed a screenshot of your comment and tucked it safely in a file for future use.

Who Are These People?

If you are active on social media you may already have hundreds if not thousands of followers and or so-called friends but who are these people?

If you take a look at these people on social media you are bound to find some fake accounts, the odd troll and people who you added a long time ago.

Time moves on and so do you

People who were active on your social media account may no longer be or may now have nothing in common with you.

Have a look now to see what I mean.

Not All Trolls Fit This Description

Be Selective

Do you really want to accept every friend or follower request on social media?

It is easy to be trusting or love the idea that you have thousands of people on your social media account.

As I said above who are these people?

Remember old adages such as quality not quantity and less is more.

Open Or Locked Down?

Is your timeline fairly open or protected?

See results

Do You Spend Too Much Time Line?

Guilty as charged on this one sadly.

As a political activist and blogged in the United Kingdom the Internet and social media offer great ways to network, interact and campaign but activism has its problems.

Spending too much time online is not good for physical or mental health.

When you are tired, irritable, cross or unwell your self awareness online takes a hit.

Limiting your social media activity is a great idea and for many reasons.

Never forget there is a big wide real world out there.

Social Media Groups And Forums

Social media groups and forums can be great fun and informative but they or rather the members can also be intrusive, abusive, annoying and so much more.

Just as it is all too easy to gather to many friends and followers online it is all too easy to become a me er of too many groups.

Over time a group may change direction and become a bad place to be; a place you really never want to be associated with.

Will Your Social Media Activity Come Back To Haunt You?

In the United Kingdom political trolls are a real threat.

Some are just individuals with an axe to grind or time to waste while others have a real political agenda.

A Facebook friend, note not a real person, asked for advice re social media as she embarks on what she hopes will be the start of a career in local politics.

Having used social media for a few years now, and witnessed abuse this the advice I offered based on my experience online

  1. Make sure your tweets are protected
  2. Never engage with trolls
  3. Check your friends list on Facebook and other social media websites and ensure the members are all who they claim to be or seem
  4. Ditch those in doubt
  5. Regularly check your list of friends and followers
  6. Check your list of groups and which you have joined
  7. Look out for groups you have been added to without your knowledge
  8. Open groups can be dangerous places where your comments and interactions are easily grabbed by those with malicious intent
  9. Leave any groups which have been targeted over recent months, or longer, by trolls as they are not safe
  10. If the admin of such groups has not been able to address trolling issues after some time they never will
  11. Huge groups may be less safe as they are difficult for administrators to control
  12. Bear in mind some trolls use software and or a thread reader to see what you have liked, commented and shared over a long period of time
  13. Screen shots from a long time ago can and will be shared
  14. If in doubt close your account and start again
  15. Alternatively temporarily deactivate your account
  16. Keep your personal account just that
  17. Set up a political campaign account and monitor closely
  18. Protect your tweets and lock down your social media account for the ultimate safe environment but remember even this is not 100% secure

The above list is not exhaustive but offers ideas for you to consider.

In the U.K. various political careers are falling at the first hurdle and in too many cases the reason is careless commenting or interactions on social media.

Make sure that does not happen to you.

The Long Road

Already people are being caught by something silly they liked or commented years ago.

Imagine your Internet and social media activity 10 years, 20 years or even 40 years on.

The key is self awareness at all times.

If you say something online you would never say to a person’s face ask yourself why?

© 2018 Ethel Smith


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    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      17 months ago from UK

      Not being a Twitter user, I'm probably safe at the moment, but you give very good advice.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      17 months ago from UK

      As I have studiously avoided Twitter so far,I think I am probably safe.But that's a great tip for all Twitter users.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ethel,

      Thanks for the information regarding Twitter. I made a note and will check that out soon. I am aware that your Labour Party is facing challenges right now. People are going to have to be smart about how they use social media.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      18 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Peggy and Liz

      To,protect your tweets go into your settings. It means people cannot retweet your tweet adding a comment. And they cannot see your threads on twitter unless you are friends

      Right now the Laour Party in particular is facing a huge storm and in many cases it involves use of social media and sometimes from a long time ago

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      This is in the forefront of people's minds here in the U.S. due to the upcoming elections. We are well aware that some election meddling happened in the past and hope to avoid more of it in the future. You are right in advising people not to put in print what they would not say in person to someone. It could definitely come back to haunt them in the future. What is a "protected" tweet?

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      18 months ago from UK

      This is a very topical article. Several times people in public life have been forced to resign due to ill-advised social media posts in their past.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      18 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Dolores


      In the UK there is political turmoil with some candidates finding social media nonsense coming back to haunt. Always best to take extra care, as you would walking outdoors

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      18 months ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Ethel - it can be so easy to get caught up in those groups. I recently joined one that was supposed to be for our neighborhood. It turned into several people hogging the space with nasty political and racial rants and fights. Then I began to think that the whole thing was dangerous. After all, they had my name, knew the general area where I lived, and what I thought. It's easy to find an address. Was I being paranoid to leave? The way things are these days, who knows if there was some dangerous nut in the group shopping for people to harass, rob, or worse?


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