They See Me Trollin’, They Hatin’, They Tryin’ To Catch Me Writin’ Dirty
With the ever-changing social media world, media sources are trying extremely hard to compete for your attention. It’s a constant battle for your like, comment, share, or retweet. While some engage their audiences with creative content, some decide to engage in the form of trolling. We’re all too familiar with internet trolls, famous for twisted-insulting comments that often defy any form of rational thought.
But what happens when the news media adopt this method of attention-seeking? When I see media sources get desperate and troll for your comments through click-bait headlines and post introductions that end in question marks or irrelevant content, it crosses a line that will be hard to pull back from if left unchecked. This kind of behavior is careless, lazy, and the cheapest form of interaction that any genuine “news” organization should shun.
I recently called out a news source for trolling as their behavior was becoming increasingly obvious and common. This particular news source was sharing an unquestionably positive story about an award won within the community, yet, the post was led with a question asking if it was “deserving” of the accolade. The needlessly editorialized post was clearly advocating for negative responses to create a back and forth and vitriol for the sake of more posts and visibility for the page.
I decided to chime in and call them out for their blatant trolling demeanor. Upon being called out for their cynicism and lack of journalistic integrity, a funny thing happened on the way to the interwebz. I rallied support and others agreed and began to pile on with other comments noting how their trolling had no place from a news source.
To my surprise I received a response from the network. Their response: “We apologize that the phrasing of our original post was perceived as negative. It was not intended to be. We are thrilled that an establishment in our area has received such a great distinction.” To boot, they even changed the original content. Win for America!
The point is that this is happening throughout social media and we should expect more from our news sources. There are enough trolls; the last thing we need is the very source of our information to join the club. Media must be held accountable to ensure they’re engaging audiences in a constructive way. 24-Hour cable news has already rotted the news media to its core; now we’re going to give up on integrity for online sources and content, too? I certainly hope not.
While my result was unusual, I think we, as the internet community, need to call out this kind of trolling practice more often. News media must be held accountable and policed by the people they serve.
As a social media manager, you’re responsible for the voice and tone of your company. Don’t settle for a feeble attempt to garner comments via online animosity. And while not everyone can be expected to reach for the higher standard, there’s no question that it’s unethical for our news media to join the circus. The next time you see a news source trolling rather than genuinely engaging its audience through quality content, remind them that you expect more.