Phil Friedman

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On the Limits of Free Expression

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On the Limits of Free Expression

WE MAY ALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO FREELY EXPRESS IDEAS AND OPINIONS BUT IS ANYONE OBLIGATED TO LISTEN, LET ALONE ANSWER ...


The issue of what is and what isn't acceptable expression on social media comes up frequently, particularly on platforms such as LinkedIn and beBee, each of which exhibits its own brand of aversion to contentious discussion. contentious discussion. beBee, each of which exhibits its own brand of aversion to contentious discussion. beBee, each of which exhibits its own brand of aversion to contentious discussion. contentious discussion. beBee, each of which exhibits its own brand of aversion to contentious discussion.

LinkedIn, styles itself as a vehicle for "professional" networking and engagement. And as such, discourages dissent and argument as being essentially counter-productive to the building of a strong "personal brand."


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Please keep professional

In contrast, BeBee encourages engagement on a much broader range of fronts — colloquially referred to as "passions" —  and tolerates a much broader range of styles and voices, from the very academic and straight-laced business types to the creative and street-wise, almost hip hop jive of musicians, artists, and writers. However, beBee nevertheless officially pushes "positivity" as a predominating network value.

Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are often criticized for their tolerance of "nasty" comments and "ugly" criticisms of people and the posts and updates they publish — and of late for their tolerance of all manner of "fake" news. The problem has grown to such proportions that many people are "gun shy" and react with horror to even the mildest form of dissenting comment. 


The result is that the lines have been blurred between legitimate dissent and disagreement, and bona fide "troll" attacks...

The Dark Side of the Web

There is no doubt that bona fide troll attacks have troubled and upset large numbers of social media users, in fact, driven some from various platforms. For many of these attacks have been targeted at individuals and repeated to such a degree as to cross the line into outright bullying and stalking.


However, at the same time, some users have employed unfounded claims of trolling and bullying as a tool to silence those with whom they simply disagree and those who simply disagree with them...

In the final analysis, it is not the statements and comments which we like to read and hear that test our commitment to free speech. It is the comments and opinions we abhor, and our tolerance for that with which we disagree, which hold our feet to the fire in the issue of Freedom of Expression.


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POLITICALLY
INCORRECT ZONE

ALL ENTERING HERE WILL ENCOUNTER SPEECH THEY
DON'T NECESSARILY LIKE OR AGREE WITH ... TOUGH!


Freedom of Expression is a basic human right memorialized under Article 19 of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights...

We read and hear a lot about the question of how far freedom of speech and expression extends.

In the United States, for example, freedom of speech is constitutionally guaranteed and is pretty free-ranging, especially when it comes to the expression of political ideas and opinions.  Indeed, by virtue the nation's Constitution and legal precedents developed in the decisions of the Courts, you can in the U.S. say with impunity just about anything you want concerning a public political figure, irrespective of whether or not what you say is libelous.

To be sure, the Courts in the U.S. have agreed that even free expression has its limits. In Schenck v. United States  (1919), the U.S. Supreme Court held that it was a violation of Anti-Espionage legislation for Schenk to distribute pamphlets opposing conscription. It was in the majority opinion for this case that Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the famous line that the right of free speech does not justify "...falsely shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater."


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Then, in 1969, the Schenck decision was later overturned in Brandenburg v. Ohio which limited the scope of banned expression to what would be intended and likely to incite imminent lawless action, for example,  a riot. This, in effect, broadened and strengthened further the U.S. constitutional protection of free expression.

Yet, with all the socio-political discussion of, and argument over free expression — something that itself would not be possible without the original Constitutional guarantees I have never once read or heard anyone question whether there is a right to be heard or listened to.

I guess that's because most people will probably think the question is asinine. I know I do.


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I'm IGNORING you.

..


For to my mind, it is a self-evident truth that everyone has the right to speak, but that ... nobody is under any obligation to listen or reply...

I've been on social media as a writer and blogger for more than a decade, now. And I have to admit, it took me almost that entire length of time to realize the futility of engaging in verbal fisticuffs with most of those who mount ad hominem attacks on my posts, or inject blatant non-sequiturs, or insist on arguing against straw-man reconstructions of what I've written.

Because what most of those who post such remarks want is attention. They want to use my (your) posts as a vehicle to reach members of my audience, my connections and followers, and those who may be drawn to reading my posts. And what I finally came to realize is that responding to them — however amusing it may be to me — only gives them precisely what they want. Namely, it helps to draw attention to, and distribute their remarks to an audience which they would not otherwise reach.

Understand that I am not speaking of those who disagree with my ideas and opinions. As the gods know full well, if I refused to engage with those who legitimately disagree with me, I wouldn't be conversing much with anybody — including members of my immediate family, bless their little Venusian hearts! No, the fact is, on-point discussion of ideas and opinions is something I live for, especially online.


Whether consciously or otherwise, social media trolls employ the same strategy as Disruption Marketers...

A savvy disruption marketer, such as Candice 🐝 Galek, seeks attention for that which she or he is marketing by provoking both positive and negative reaction. For even the posting of a negative comment on a post works to distribute that post further afield, throughout the networks of those who express exception to the post involved.

Of course, to really make that work in the commercial sector, a disruptive marketer has to engage with the responses, as does Candice, with a high level of charm and humor, so that the ensuing argumentative engagement becomes a fun event for most, if not all who follow it. But that is to digress.

My point is that trolls don't really care about what you say. For them, an exchange is only an opportunity for them to tell your readers about themselves — what they prefer, what they like, what they think ... even when what they think has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand.

So, early in 2016, I made it a personal policy not to respond to aggressive off-point commenters, especially repeaters, on my posts. In the comment threads of my own posts, I always engage with genuine, on-point disagreement, even if it is heated.  And people who misunderstand or misconstrue what I am saying still get a thank you for reading and commenting if their remarks are reasonably civil. But I have trained myself — and yes, "trained" is exactly the right word — to ignore the repeatedly pushy, self-impressed, and strictly-self promotional trolls whose remarks are invariably off-point or off-topic.


learn2engage

Before Writing Comes Thinking

Of course, fair is fair.  So with my new policy of ignoring trolls who comment on my posts, I also began a parallel policy of not making critical or disagreeing comments on the posts of others, unless 1) the author has invited me via a tag or otherwise to do so, or 2) is someone with whom I regular exchange opinions, or 3) is someone who I am sure has a thick enough skin not to be "injured" by my expression of disagreement.

Well mostly, that is. There are a few rare times when I simply cannot contain myself. As when I see some self-declared expert giving out some piece of advice that from my own training and experience I know to be false and potentially harmful. Such times are growing more rare day by day, though, not because there are fewer instances, but because my self-discipline is improving.


So, you would think I've now got it all pretty well sorted out ... NOT!

Lately, I've run into a new phenomenon. Aggressive, off-point and off-topic commenters who accuse me of committing some sort of social media faux pas by not taking their bait to debate. Like they have an inalienable right to intrude into the comments thread of one of my posts are a somehow harmed by me when I choose not to respond to their bull chip remark(s).

Actually, considered from an ethically neutral vantage point, it's an almost brilliant tactic. Much like that of the Tar Baby in The Story of Bre'r Rabbit.  The logic of it is so convoluted, that to attempt to muster arguments against it would only ensnare one hopelessly in endless back-and-forths — which again would be to play into the hands of those who avail themselves of such absurdities.

Consequently, here's what I am resolved to do going forward when such assertions come up. (And you are welcome to use my suggestion when and how you wish.) I am simply going to exercise my prerogative as a "bee" and tell such people politely to "buzzz off."  — Phil Friedman


Afterword:  If you haven't guessed by now, although based on factual information and experiences, this piece is written at least partly tongue in cheek. It is not directed at anyone in particular, and if you are moved to take it that way, well ... you might just ask yourself why that is the case. For if the shoe doesn't fit, why in the world would you insist on wearing it?   —  PLF


Author's Notes: If you found this post interesting and worthwhile, and would like to receive notifications of my writings on a regular basis, click the [FOLLOW] button on my beBee profile. Better yet, elect there to follow my blog by email. As a writer-friend of mine says, you can always change your mind later.

Should you be curious about some of my other writings on social media, you're invited to take a look at the following:


"The Ethical and Functional Bankruptcy of Influencer Marketing"

"Time to Break All Connections On Social Media"

"Reflections on Social Media"

"Building Engagement on Social Media"


As well, feel free to "like" and "share" this post and my other articles — whether on beBee, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, provided only that you credit me properly as the author, and include a live link to my original post.

About me, Phil FriedmanWith 30 some years background in the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I am also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation.

In a previous life, I was formally trained as an academic philosopher and taught logic and philosophy at university.

 

Before writing comes thinking.  ( The optional-to-read pitch) :  

As a professional writer, editor, university educator, and speaker, with more than 1,000 print and digital publications, I've recently launched an online program for enhancing your expository writing: learn2engage — With Confidence. My mission is to help writers and would-be writers improve their thought and writing, master the logic of discussion, and strengthen their ability to deal with disagreement... all of which I have found to be natural precursors to improved writing.

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For more information, click on the image immediately above. And to schedule an appointment for a free 1/2-hour consult email: info@learn2engage.org. I look forward to speaking with you soon.


Text Copyright © 2016 by Phil Friedman  —  All Rights Reserved
Image Credits: Phil Friedman, Google Images, and FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Comments

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #59

#86
Thank you, Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee for sharing this piece.

Just shared the post because it makes lots of sense.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #57

#81
What was that you said, Jim Saelzler?

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #56

#81
What was that you said, Jim Saelzer?

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #55

#80
Excellent simile, Pascal. It's where I've finally arrived after several years. 1) On MY posts I speak my mind. If you come onto my post to comment, then expect that I will respond. If you don't want that, don't come to the comments on MY posts. And let's drop the "Phil's a meany and started it all when he hit me back." 2) I am making an extra effort to respect the sensitivities of others these days by not making critical comments on the posts of others unless a) I've been invited to comment by a tag or a shout out, or b) I have an established relationship with the author of the post and know he or she will accept the critical comment for what it is. 3) I leave it to management to eject rowdy, obnoxious fellow-customers — although I personally prefer that management exercise that prerogative sparingly. Thanks for joining the conversation. You make a lot of sense, as usual.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #54

I was thinking in very practical terms that social media is you do what you want in your own house, you respect other users in a public park and the management reserves the right to admission to the restaurant providing you comply with basic rules of engagement otherwise you can be escorted out thru the exit door... :-)

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #53

#76
Donna-Luisa, you are, I think, correct. There is always a tension between a desire for intellectual engagement and the need to protect oneself from emotional predators. To my mind, "trolls" almost always fall into the latter category. For they literally draw sustenance from the negative emotional energy they elicit. And in some cases, it becomes a game of King of the Hill -- which is why it is so distressing to them to be ignored. As true bullies, they've learned as well that making people uncomfortable frequently gets the what they want, in a recreation of buy-the-bully-off, otherwise known as the Stockholm Syndrome. As always, thank you for you insight and thoughtful comments. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #52

#75
Mohammed, thank you for reading and commenting. I understand your concern and the moral imperative which you recommend. And I have sometimes been able to act in accord with it -- in several instances using tolerance and playfulness to draw out a supposed troll into communicating openly without a hidden agenda, and becoming part of the community. In some few cases it works, and is gratifying But most times it doesn't. Because, I 've concluded, such people usually do not want to join a community. For they truly lack empathy and see others as objects to be used. And are most times, are best ignored.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #51

#73
Thank you, Federico, for keeping us all up to date on that. Cheers.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #50

#71
Thanks, Franci, for reading and joining the conversation. For the most part, I agree with your summary. I am moved, however, to caution everyone about the too-free use of sanctions. In the matter of freedom of expression, I think it is always better on social media to err on the side of being too liberal, and use official sanctions only when it is obvious that the issue cannot be cleared up by the free reigning interactions of the community. Cheers and best wishes to you for the new year 2017.

Thank you for your professional approach to freedom of expression, Phil. Perhaps, a fragile subject but one worthy of being addressed. We can agree and we can disagree (not referencing you and me, per se), and that's fine because if we didn't we would be complacent and drab souls. If we don't test the waters, then we don't know which way the river flows. IMO, your post is more about freedom of speech than trolls. And it is about writers: those who use written words in various styles and techniques to communicate their ideas. And it is about listeners(commenters) and their freedom of expression. Both the writer and listener(commenter) should be respected and show respect, as well. With that said, relating specifically to beBee we have a gift at our fingertips where we can meet, greet, engage, discuss and have freedom of expression and freedom of listening(commenting). I feel it ours to use, but not abuse and not let anyone else abuse it, as well. Javier \ud83d\udc1d beBee has proven that abuse will not be tolerated, which is one of the reasons I'm proud to be a bee. To sum up, my rambling, IMO, it boils down to respect. Buzz on and be the best you can bee.

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #48

#66
Phil Friedman, This is the one of the key aspects necessary for sustainable development of any social network. Unpleasant experiences and unrealistically high expectations and hopes, in contact with other people on social media, should not cause disappointment and loss of faith in humanity, kindness and the importance of helpfulness.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #47

#62
Tetyana, thank you for commenting. I cannot speak to the charge that there are paid professional trolls on social media, who are agents of various governments, and that such agents use complaints and reporting functions to silence critics of their masters. But I can see that it is definitely a danger. Which is why it is so important to protect the rights of the minority to speak freely against any possible tyranny of the majority. And to make sure that the reporting function is not used unfairly as a tool of repression. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #46

#57
#61 Milos and David, in the main, I agree with both of you. David makes an important point: It is critical to avoid allowing the reporting functions from being used as tools of retaliation and vendetta. The only way to accomplish that is to assure that every complaint is properly investigated before action is taken against the user being reported. As well, I think it important to understand that simply not liking or being made uncomfortable by what somebody says is NOT, nor should it be sufficient for having that person's account closed down. Freedom of expression has primarily to do with protecting the rights of the minority (or less powerful in the situation) from the overbearing power of the majority (or the more powerful in the situation). I think it should also be recognized that some bees might be upset by what some users say, but that in itself is not sufficient to squelch the speaker's free expression. I was aghast recently by reading a comment by a beBee user that lauded some of Hitler's ideas. And so I muted that bee, and when the block function goes live, I will block that person as well. However, I would not want that person's account closed down simply because I found the remark offensive and unacceptable. For that would itself do more damage to free expression than the objectionable remark itself. I think Milos lays out some useful criteria in intention, form, and function. And I believe further that a balanced objectivity must be maintained. That said, I for one trust @Javier beBee and the beBee administration to act with care and good judgment, as has been amply evidenced to date. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #45

"Philanthropy" "1. The effort or inclination to increase the well-being of humankind, as by charitable aid or donations. 2. Love of humankind in general. 3. Something, such as an activity or institution, intended to promote human welfare." - From thefreedictionary.com (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Philantropy)

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #44

#57
#61 Milos and David, in the main, I agree with both of you. David makes an important point: It is critical to avoid allowing the reporting functions from being used as tools of retaliation and vendetta. The only way to accomplish that is to assure that every complaint is properly investigated before action is taken against the user being reported. As well, I think it important to understand that simply not liking or being made uncomfortable by what somebody says is NOT, nor should it be sufficient for having that person's account closed down. Freedom of expression has primarily to do with protecting the rights of the minority (or less powerful in the situation) from the overbearing power of the majority (or the more powerful in the situation). I think it should also be recognized that some bees might be upset by what some users say, but that in itself is not sufficient to squelch the speaker's free expression. I was aghast recently by reading a comment by a beBee user that lauded some of Hitler's ideas. And so I muted that bee, and when the block function goes live, I will block that person as well. However, I would not want that person's account closed down simply because I found the remark offensive and unacceptable. For that would itself do more damage to the environmession than the objectionable remark itself. I think Milos lays out some useful criteria in intention, form, and function. And I believe further that a balanced objectivity must be maintained. . That said, I for one trust @Javier beBee and the beBee administration to act with care and good judgment, as has been amply evidenced to date. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #43

#54
Phil Friedman, Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun and the power of C-butterflies (fractal or not) :) Ugly Fractal Troll Bird

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #42

"My intention is to discuss with all of you, respected LI members, what are the criteria (intention, form and function) that may be considered as socially acceptable during conversation on social media. How to find your proper voice, having in mind that the essence is in the conversations? There is only one extreme and that is to give only positive comments on other people's writing. This is a fairly common practice, here on LI. This is certainly not what we want. On the other hand, critical or negative comments, made by some members, may cause some degree of discomfort on both sides. In order to avoid indifference, which is undesirable, we need to provide highly emotional engagement of an audience. In this case, both emotions: “love” (admiration - respect) and “anger” (disappointment - discourage) may occur at the same time. Fortunately, “anger” can easily be turned into “love” if handled appropriately. My experience suggests that the effects of tactful critiques are often highly undervalued. I think that criticism is useful for everyone, but social media criticism modeling, that will have fruitful effects (stretch and grow), is a special kind of art. There are some wonderful people here, who are not prepared to "survive" battles without serious consequences. We must be careful." - from "Leadership and Successful Human Conversations", LinkedIn long-form post published on March 1, 2015 and featured in: Leadership & Management (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leadership-successful-human-conversations-milos-djukic?trk=mp-reader-card)

Javier 🐝 CR

4 years ago #41

#58
Phil Friedman everyone has a right to speak while is not disturbing our bees. I will personally remove those accounts. Anyone who want to disturb , please go to twitter or different platforms. beBee will remain cool, and only for enjoying. I just removed an account that was disturbing a lot of bees.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #40

#55
David, thank you for reading and for your usual astute and balanced comments. With you, I believe that the "conversation" on a social media platform has to be interesting across a broad range of topics and user preferences if that platform is to be successful. For I believe that most people eventually appear on social media because they are tired of talking to themselves. I also stand with you in believing that a balance has to be struck between freedom or expression and the creation of an environment that drowns out civil engagement. I suspect that we have the means for self-management of the situation if we stick to the proposition that everyone has a right to speak, but nobody has an obligation to listen or respond. For if we follow that maxim, I am confident that the "market" will eventually self-adjust and bring the best to the foreground. My best to you for the coming new year 2017, may it prove to be a healthy, happy, and prosperous one for you and yours.

David B. Grinberg

4 years ago #39

#45
Ian Weinberg, I would further note that some trolls on LinkedIn have the gall to engage you with the sole purpose of causing you to make inappropriate comments for which they will then report in an attempt to have your account temporarily suspended. Thanks for keeping us in mind. You are way too intelligent to fall prey to these haters and naysayers who are completely unworthy of our time and attention.

David B. Grinberg

4 years ago #38

Phil, I appreciate your sharing such astute analysis and valuable views about this critically important issue. Moreover, I likewise agree that dissent and differing opinions are absolutely essential to free expression both online and off. Further, as you note, the US Supreme Court has consistently provided broad coverage and interpretation of what constitutes free speech and expression. Therefore, I would just add that at a time when social media users are being increasingly turned off by "tit for tat" negativity, fake news, trolling, and otherwise, it's important to draw the appropriate line regarding civil discourse on social media to maintain and foster professionalism of any new and emerging platform. I like your approach of not responding to so-called haters and trolls with any comments whatsoever. Even even acknowledging such miscreants with the comment of "buzz off" is still playing into their hands, in my humble opinion. Beyond that, I trust that the Executive leadership and management of BB will continue to handle highly inappropriate comments and trolls in a manner fitting of a platform dedicated to promoting personal branding and professionalism. cc: Javier \ud83d\udc1d beBee

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #37

#53
Yes, Aurorasa, sounds like the makings of a reality TV program, "Troll Bait". Phil Friedman stands in a cage in the middle of the foliage-thick Social Media Jungle, waiting for the intellect-eating trolls to emerge and clamp themselves, saliva dripping from their mouths, vicious evil hatred in their brain-dead eyes, fetid breath despoiling the ambient air. Will the cage hold? Will he survive? Oh wait, here comes a horde of Fractal C-butterflies to rescue our poor, beset Hero... Sounds like a sure winner, don't you think?

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#47
Hi Phil: Phil Friedman, you are a good friend here that I have had the pleasure of meeting & have similar views in life. Best wishes & continues success for you & your family for 2017, (PS: I only use honey when I have a sore throat 7 put the honey in my black tea-1-2 a year ) regards, Bill Stankieiwcz

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #34

#46
Thank you, Candice \ud83d\udc1d Galek, for reading and for the kind words. Your candor and good humor are genuinely appreciated and among the numerous reasons I was one of your many nominators for your inclusion in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list -- for which I extend my sincere congratulations. Another reason for my tagging you in the post is that I know you yourself have of late been plagued by trolls on LinkedIn, to the extent that you've posted at least one open invitation to LI to do something about growing a set and doing something about it. As I understand it, the commenters involved are people who flood your threads with multiple aggressive and inane remarks completely lacking in any wit or humor. And I have to tell you that I feel your pain. Several of my followers have PM'd me to say they are staying away from my posts, not because they don't like them, but because, for whatever reason, I attract mean-spirited commenters, who upset them. My answer, of course, is to read the post, but not the comments. Unfortunately, that is not an answer either because often some of the best discussion occurs in the comment threads of the articles. Cheers and best wishes for the new year 2017! Thanks again for stopping by.

Ian Weinberg

4 years ago #33

#48
Thanks Phil Friedman Best wishes to you too.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #32

#45
Nobody, Ian Weinberg, is perfect. As surprising as you might find it, even I am not. Every so often, one runs into some poster or commenter who is so full of it that it rattles you to your professional core, and you cannot help but speak out — especially when you see that harm is potentially being done. I recently felt that way when I read some incredibly facile remarks about Depression and how to deal with it, remarks that betrayed a complete ignorance of the now well established medical facts about the malady. However, I reiterate (mostly for my own benefit) two maxims of intellectual exchange: 1) Do not go onto the posts of others to criticize their views, unless you either a) are invited to do so, or b) know from prior contact and experience that they deal in authentic exchange well. 2) When aggressive, belligerent people come onto your posts to make off-topic and off-point, self-serving comments, do not reply, but instead ignore them. Even if they accuse you of doing them social "harm" by ignoring them. For although they are in this society free to speak, they do not have a right to expect to be listened to or answered. And eventually, like Rumple Stiltskin, they will stomp their feet until the explode through the floor and disappear. You simply must be patient and focused. My very best to you for a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year in 2017. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #31

#43
I agree, Bill, that many stable, long-term business relationships were born from the referral of a bit of business to someone by someone else who had no dog in the hunt -- to use an expression that you guys in Savannah will understand. Among my longest lasting business colleagues and friends, we've at various times over the years directed business to one another, completely without any "finder's fees" or reciprocity score card. Generosity of spirit doesn't always pay off, but it does often enough for me to believe in some form of Karma. And, BTW, thank you for noting that I am actually a friend and staunch supporter of beBee, notwithstanding that I am genetically allergic to honey. Cheers!

Candice 🐝 Galek

4 years ago #30

Hey Phil Friedman thank you for the inclusion! You nailed it negative or positive as long as you do it in an objective way. Which I try to do by always asking things in the form of a question you can invoke engagement and interaction. The lifeblood of the internet and social media. Instead of getting upset, I have fun with the fact that people think I am just some bikini bimbo and lead them down the garden path. People who know me know. People who don't quickly realize, and those that can't figure that much out usually stick around to add fuel to the fire.

Ian Weinberg

4 years ago #29

Phil Friedman Pure synchronicity that I happened upon your buzz at this time. I've been engaging in the media for a while now. I've also been engaging with the full cross-section of society in my professional life. And yes, there are the borderline types that we've learned to manage. But I have a confession: With all that experience behind me, I've just become a victim! Took the bait on Linkedin and got sucked into the murky troll world. For the last 24 hours my blood pressure has been just below stroke levels. How the hell did this happen? Remorse, regret even a poke at my self-esteem. Yes, the bait dangled for a while and yes, I new this was one of 'those'. But suddenly my amygdala roared into action and took over. My internal dialogue morphed from that befitting a respected professional to 'who the f*ck does this pr*ck think he is?? ' And yes, after 24 hours of all out warfare, I've achieved nothing. There's been no discernable growth and my arteries are all worn. So it's back to the drawing board and hopefully, to implement some new life-saving strategies.

Ian Weinberg

4 years ago #28

Phil Friedman Pure synchronicity that I happened upon your buzz at this time. I've been engaging in the media for a while now. I've also been engaging with the full cross-section of society in my professional life. And yes, there are the borderline types that we've learned to manage. But I have a confession: With all that experience behind me, I've just become a victim! Took the bait on Linkedin and got sucked into the murky troll world. For the last 24 hours my blood pressure has been just below stroke levels. How the hell did this happen? Remorse, regret even a poke at my self-esteem. Yes, the bait dangled for a while and yes, I new this was one of 'those'. But suddenly my amygdala roared into action and took over. My internal dialogue morphed from that befitting a respected professional to 'who the f*ck does this pr*ck think he is?? ' And yes, after 24 hours of all out warfare, I've achieved nothing. There's been no discernable growth and my arteries are all worn. So it's back to the drawing board and hopefully implement some new life-saving strategies.

@Phil Friedman, thanks for your feedback & I agree with your one point that "business relationships are built on the firm foundation of service, substance, and credibility". I would add that I have found also that one way to build long lasting relationships too is by giving a piece of business to someone with no material gain to oneself & that person will always remember you & you get rewards in many other ways. Food for Thought & thank you for being a great bee friend here.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #26

#27
Thank you, Joseph, for illustrating one of my key points. As to self-policing, your contention that to expect it to work is childish, is wrong. And the best way to deal with childish temper tantrums is still to ignore them. Which is what I am pointing out here by calling attention to the fact that we are not under any obligation to respond to any comment. And multiplying the posting of a given comment by a factor of 10 or 100 does not change that.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #25

#28
Thank you, Bill, for reading and commenting. I think you and I agree in the main. I believe we diverge, however, over the means when it comes to building a worthy SM platform. My read of "history" (if you can call it that) is that authentic free exchange of ideas and opinions is primary. And that those who are attracted by honey alone will be here only until something "sweeter" comes along. I have always found that stable business relationships are built on the firm foundation of service, substance, and credibility -- not on the shifting muck of sweet talk and back patting. IMHO. But you know that as well as I do. You just need to recognize that the same is true for SM relationships as well. Cheers and best wishes for 2017.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #24

#25
Thanks, Todd, for commenting and sharing this post. And by the way for coming over from LinkedIn to beBee. I am sure that Javier \ud83d\udc1d beBee appreciates the support. As I said, it took me the better part of a decade to see that the common wisdom for dealing with disruptive commenters is correct. I am now, however, concerned with @Harvey Lloyd that too often all forms of questioning and dissent are labeled disruptive, when in fact genuine conversation and engagement are actually the lifeblood of building a stable social media platform. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #23

Cheers

Jim Murray

4 years ago #22

Part 2 Phil Friedman I admire our body of work because you have never really stayed from your strategy of being honest and authentic. And you really can't argue with the correctness of that. All you have to do is look at the numbers and engagement you create. I like to think I have done that too, to a lesser extent. which is probably why we have been about to write over 20 columns together and, aside from typo fixing, never edit each other. It's called respect. This, to me, is the essence of what social media is about as a medium. And In my experience to date, beBee is the closest thing to Valhalla for writers that exists out there. All trolls are dealt with and the vast majority of opinions put forth here are honest and authentic. When John White, MBA invited us to come here, he knew he wasn't talking to a bunch of sychophants. He was talking to professional writers who knew what they were doing. Who wanted to inform and educate and entertain. And who were, on occasion, going to tweak a nerve or two. But he also knew that this kind of work is what attracts people to the site. In that sense he was very perceptive. As I have told you in our private conversations...just keep on being Phil. Everythng else will fall in line behind that, amigo.

Jim Murray

4 years ago #21

Phil Friedman As you and I both know from personal experience, trolls are at first upsetting, mainly because you don't know what they are. Then when you figure it out, the natural instinct to engage them and smack them around a bit kicks in. But then you end up getting bored, because you're here for intelligent conversation not the ravings of some asshole who seems to think you're one too. But the solution is not, and is never, to let them or anybody's agenda, dictate what you should write about and what voice you should use to get that message across. I firmly believe that what makes a social media site successful is the plethora of voices all being true to their own ideals. There is no doubt that beBee wants to project a positive persona. You can see it clearly in Javier's comments. But the simple fact is that life is not always that way. And that is reflected in the posts we see here. Because, hey, a whole range of emotions is a lot more interesting than a bunch of smiley faces spouting what eventually gets seen as insipidity. This has actually every little to do with trolls because trolls are really a very minor irritant. It has more to do with the overall perceived persona of a social media site. The broader that perception, the more people you will attract. Because believe it our not, that's exactly how the real world is structured. Cont

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #20

Challenging topic and i enjoyed your perspective. I have bumped into folks here and other online venues who when confronted with dissent offer no support for their position but rather place you in some cauldron of social pariah. Almost as if you have taken the bait. There is no defense when dealing with this either. I do agree these folks just need to be left alone and move on.

#1
we'll put Javier!!!🐝🐝👍👍

Great post Phil and I do agree with you on many points here. Hateful posts, negatively towards folks I do not endorse, I do not need "drama" in my life. I love ❤️ helping people in any way and as the saying goes, I get to meet more Bee's with using honey 🍯 than with using vinegar. 🐝🐝🐝👍👍👍, best regards, Bill Stankiewicz, Savannahsupplychain.com

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #17

#23
Thank youagain, Devesh, for seeing that clearly ... and for saying so. Cheers!

Devesh 🐝 Bhatt

4 years ago #16

#21
what I've experienced, it is very relieving to have no obligations on social media, offline it can be a handful obligation, arguing ones way out of things and also keeping composure, here it's certainly easier for now. But you have many readers, huge load, this requires a lot of time, effort and focus and you will take out time to question whether it is an obligation. That's about enough to understand it is a two way street and the feedback is being read by the writer.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #15

#20
Thank you, Aurorasa, for clarifying that. Your EQ is higher than mine, also your concern for those who have low EQ. My best to you. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #14

#19
Thank you, Devesh, for seeing that and taking the time to say so. I've always felt that engagement is a two way street. If you take the time to formulate a pertinent comment, I feel obliged to respond. But if someone fires off a non-sequitur or a strictly sel-promotional comment, I believe I have the right to ignore it. And that doing so does not interfere with the commenters right to express him- or herself. After all, is one abligated to share his restaurant table with whoever walks up and sits down? Cheers!

Devesh 🐝 Bhatt

4 years ago #13

You give a lot of attention to your readers and a lot of attention to self discipline. Enjoyed reading your post..Again. I am motivated to be a regular.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #12

#15
Thank you for reading and commenting. I understand what you are saying, I think, but I stand by my assertion that there is no social -- or moral -- rule that requires me to engage with everyone who chooses to comment, particularly if the comments involved are not on-topic. Just as I am not required to buy from the sales person who comes knocking on my door, no matter how persistent they are. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #11

#12
Thank you, Pascal, for reading ... and for saying so. Cheers!

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #10

Practical view points on everyday digital life always on the money Phil Friedman not a topic we can park or ignore :-)

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #9

#10
Thank you, Don, for reading and joining the conversation. I understand and empathize with your particular consternation over this topic. You are correct, of course, this piece is not just about trolls. Perhaps, to avoid confusion I should have avoided the use of that specific term. You are also correct that my intent here was to raise the question of how a community convened for the purpose of sharing information and knowledge polices itself in order to filter out the BS. The answer is by means of vigorous questioning and exchange. And, I would add, by exercising its prerogative to not validate such BS by engaging with it and thereby spreading it. The exercise of that prerogative does NOT interfere with the free expression of ideas or opinions. It simply amounts to each of us freely exercising our respective personal and individual rights not to listen or respond. I know of no law or social more that requires me to buy from a particular merchant. And so it is with ideas and opinions. Everyone had the right to offer their wares for sale. But none of us is under the obligation to buy. Cheers, my friend!

don kerr

4 years ago #8

"Lately, I've run into a new phenomenon. Aggressive, off-point and off-topic commenters who accuse me of committing some sort of social media faux pas by not taking their bait to debate. Like they have an inalienable right to intrude into the comments thread of one of my posts are a somehow harmed by me when I choose not to respond to their bull chip remark(s)." Phil Friedman if you can avoid getting sucked into this tar pit you will have even more admiration from this corner of the universe my friend. This pice is well beyond the issue of trolls and speaks to a more important issue of civil and productive axchange which contributes to real learning. Not simply and passively concurring with objectionable commentary simply to avoid the potential of offending some tender lane or worse, a predatory manipulator of fact. Well done sir.

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #7

#8
Thank you for the interesting and thought provoking article Phil Friedman, my friend.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #6

#5
Milos, I agree that one doesn't necessarily need to fight for the "rights" of the majority. Protection of freedom of expression involves making sure that the majority, or at least those who wield the power of the majority, respects the right of the minority to express itself. My main point here is, however, that nobody is obligated to listen or respond. Which is why, for example, I have always been loathe to use the "report" function to remove comments on my posts. Indeed, I've made it a personal policy to leave such comments stand. I just don't see that I have to answer. Thank you, my friend, as always, for joining the conversation with your wisdom and integrity. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #5

#4
I agree, Campbell. It took me nearly a decade on social media to really understand that, but now that I do, I assiduously try to live by that understanding. Thank you for reading and and joining the conversation.

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #4

The struggle for freedom in self-expression should not be exclusively focused towards self-promotion and marketing. It is a thin line. The fight for the freedom of the majority is usually something else and not so obvious and noticeable. When we "fight" for others and equality, that is the most valuable engagement.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #3

Yes, Javier \ud83d\udc1d beBee as a savvy marketer and entrepreneur — which is one reason I mentioned her in this piece. The other reason is the battle she had to wage to protect her own right to free expression, when LinkedIn management attempted to interfere with her posts, and even shut down her activities on the platform. So, not only is she an extremely savvy business person, she has proven de facto to be a courageous champion of free expression on social media. Thank you for reading and commenting. That you do, in itself, speaks very highly for beBee potential as a broad-based forum and a contender to become the premiere international social media platform. My best to you and beBee for the 2017 New Year. Cheers!

Javier 🐝 CR

4 years ago #2

By the way, Candice \ud83d\udc1d Galek is always refreshing and a great marketeer and entrepreneur. I FULLY agree.

Javier 🐝 CR

4 years ago #1

Phil Friedman to be honest I don't think talking again and again about trolls is good idea. Let's concentrate on sharing nice stories ..can be professional ones ..can be personal ones.... don't worry anymore about trolls. BeBee will give you the tools to tailor and filter your feed. Thanks !!!

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