When trolls attack...! (Eek.)

Well this is fascinating guys... A young man (his profile says he's waiting to go to college), made a belittling/rude comment on one of my posts. Immediately the Google+ community schooled him, and said they valued my participation here. Within seconds, he'd edited his post to not look like a jerk. But then he couldn't help himself and made more snarky comments. Eventually the community moderator ased him to pipe down. (I deleted the post to protect his identity.)

He's a teenager. It's OK. But what will happen when teenagers, trolls, and the open invite happens here? Will users will 1,000s of followers still want to be posting here? With the current tools available, probably not. Blocking a user doesn't wipe out the blocked users old content. Even if you don't want to block someone permanently, you can't even delete their post. And trolls just can't help being trolls. In part, this is why Twitter has flourished for "celebs" -- because they can talk and even though people answer back, you don't really see all the nasty stuff people are saying to them unless you go hunting for it. It's not smack dab in the middle of their profile/post. Most Facebook "fan Pages" have employed an intern/moderator to delete the spam and trolling that occurs there. I hope Google+ finds a way to make it possible for people like +Gina Trapani +Markus Persson +Robert Scoble or +Taylor Swift to continue to get value out of being here. (It'd start with a simple delete comment option, and a more robust block: hint, hint!)

In person, I've literally met 1000s of people who just walk up to me on the street and thank me for MySpace. People who married someone they met on MySpace, bands that got a fanbase, and even people who say it was just the funnest couple years of their life when the community actually was still vibrant. I can remember the one and only time I got a negative reaction in person. I was at BBQ and a mother of a friend looked at me in horror when she found out who I was. This was in 2006-2007 when a collection of attorney generals and journalists had demonized MySpace and scared the be-Jesus out of the American mother. (For you older folks, think Beatles records burning parties. It was nuts.)

On the Internet, usually it's the opposite. I get 90% negative trolling vs. 10% positive interaction. Right now Google+ is in this other-wordly zone where users are behaving like they would in real life. So far I've had some great online discussions about topics that really interest me. (Obvious!) But I've also privately connected with tech CEOs that I had never interacted with. I've also been invited to visit their companies, go to a baseball game, grab a drink, etc. I've found some old MySpacers, and some up and coming entrepreneurs. I've started to connect with people in Las Vegas where I'm spending a lot of time, but don't yet know a lot of people in the local community there. This is the power of technology. I even got to meet a MySpace China employee who I'd never talked to while we were both at MySpace. And Chrome/Google+ was translating the conversation. I was reading the posts in Chinese! This is approaching science fiction (well, not quite.. haha)!

So here's to block and delete, Google+! :) (Third hint)

My rule of thumb for posting online: I treat people as if they were standing in front of me. I'm consciously polite. I assume their intentions are good. I remind myself I'm lucky to be alive, and grateful to be in the presence of others.

Though I'm sure I've wavered from this philosophy on occasion, I'm not proud of those moments, and try to get better.
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