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Don’t Let the Trolls Get You Down
Tired of the bad actors on Twitter? Learn how to manage your feed and use it your advantage.
Bloomberg, January 19, 2018

 

 

 

I began sharing my work online two decades ago as one of the early financial bloggers. I started on Yahoo Geocities in the 1990s, Typepad in 2003, and finally on WordPress at my own domain in 2008. That is where the Big Picture still resides.

In those days, blogs had robust comment communities. They were a terrific source of discussion and intellectual exchange. I even wrote the first draft of “Bailout Nation” with about 1,000 co-writers: the blog commenters who suggested ideas, links and breaking news. It was truly a collaborative process.

Alas, a classic case of the tragedy of the commons struck, rendering comments mostly worthless as they were overrun with spam advertising and trolls. Managing them was a giant time suck, with no effective technology solution. It was with some reluctance that I finally decided to close down my blog comments. For the same reasons, you will not find a comment section below my Bloomberg View columns.

The parallels to Twitter are readily apparent. Anonymity was a factor in the worst comment behaviors (racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, etc.), and we have seen similar behavior on Twitter. Arguably, blog comments were where the modern forms of “fake news” and FUD 1  blossomed before they invaded social media. I have previouslyargued that “unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter hasn’t found a foolproof way to deal with its jerk factor.”

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive officer, seems to be making some progress in the company’s response as it begins cleaning up its act and banning some of the most egregious offenders. It has also given users more tools to help them avoid the worst of the trolls. This is good news for those of us in the financial community, as Twitter is a tremendous resource.

Reading discussions between a few law professors about their Twitter usage (see thisand this) reminded me of this. Because I find Twitter to be enormously helpful, I want you to also take advantage of its resources. Here are a few ideas that can help you, too:

 

 

Continues at: Don’t Let the Trolls Get You Down