Dealing with Twitter Tw*ts – How to be popular on Twitter without getting abused

John Hartson quit Twitter in 2012 because of all the abuse he was receiving. The more famous one is the harder it is to deal with the flame trollers, or Snerts as they often are, who post abusive messages, and damage the trust between celebrities and their fans. This article gives some tips, which should help nip-in-the-bud any serious flame trolling episodes.

If a new poster posts an obvious flame out of nowhere, such as someone who attacks you for a post you made assuming bad faith, or as you can see here with @DisgruntledLady, attacking me for a debate I’m having with someone else, don’t respond to them, but go to their profile by clicking on their username (e.g. DisgruntledLady). As you can see in the picture below, you can then select from the drop-down list and,  “Block @DisgruntledLady” for example to block future posts from them. This will mean they can no longer contact you. Unfortunately this does not delete their old posts.

DisgruntledLady is a classic Snert – Young and resentful

If you are engaging in a debate with someone and it gets out of hand the last thing you should do is immediately block them or delete their post. This turns them into ‘E-Vengers’ as they will feel wronged and will get even more abusive to you in more fora beyond Twitter. What you should do instead is give them advance warnings that if they continue their abuse you will be blocking them and deleting their posts. After ‘three-strikes’ you could declare them ‘out’. Until social networks have a ‘sin-bin’ this is the only thing that can be done to effectively manage the problem.

The benefit of Twitter to celebs is that they can get close to their fans. But as with any online community, as was said by both Jenny Preece and Amy Jo Kim in their respective books published on the subject in 2000 staffing is a big issue.

I have always run niche online communities. Not only because bandwidth costs are lower, but they need less people to run them and often I can do it on my own. I know that without good staff a community will fail. Celebs often have people who handle their public relations, so it may be that they can hire people to deal with all the unwanted content so that it is easier for them to maintain their link and trust with their genuine fans and supporters. They should see Twitter as part of their public relations rather than part of their personal life.

An example of where this has not happened was in the case of Tom Daley. As spoken about in the above Interview of Trolling Academy founder, Jonathan Bishop, Daley called a Twitter user an “idiot” following him posting a message saying that his father would be “let down” by him. As Adrian Goldberg says in this video, Daley’s best response might have been to block the 17-year-old that trolled him, providing, as I say, he hadn’t been following him for a long time.

Twitter has already become a graveyard of prematurely terminated careers due to greater significance being given to tweets which are prone to misinterpretation due to the character constraints – so the celebs need to take this on board in addition to the above suggestions for dealing with day-to-day flame trolling.

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