Are you new to Facebook? Well Hello from Planet Earth! As you may have found out, Facebook is a place where you can see what your friends are thinking and doing. It is just like a real-life gathering of buddies, except that it involves all your friends, talking at the same time, all the time. You could also think of it as a fish market, which is filled with people you know, and the noise that comes out is more in a digital sense. Well enough about your friends, who are anyway guaranteed to fall in number once you discover deep ideological differences through their updates and/or their obsession with sending Candy Crush requests.
Facebook is no more about just individuals and their social relationships (or the lack of it). No company can hope to maintain a relevant market presence without having a Facebook/Twitter account. (For purposes of this lesson, we will leave out Twitter). All said, Facebook is such a large, all-encompassing entity that closing it down tomorrow will cause half the world to run out to the streets and riot.
The huge complex jungle that is Facebook holds many trails. I seek to address just one of them. The simple yet complex, annoying yet gratifying world of Facebook Comments (alternatively known as the World of Troll, but be careful because the trolls don’t like being called so)!
Now, what is the big deal about commenting on stuff, you ask? Perhaps you are already an establish Facebook Commenter? If not, I would suggest you open up any Facebook page, preferably one posting regularly on controversial topics, for a rich exposure to the wide range of commentary that is born out of completely rational, deep, well-informed human intelligence.
This lesson is divided into seven parts, each of which will touch upon topics and techniques related to trol… um, writing comments in Facebook.
Before we learn the tips and techniques, let me first introduce you to four basic concepts any troll (ah, ok what the heck let me say it!… if only for the reason of not having to type the long text ‘Facebook commenter’ every time) should know:
1. Polarization: Using divisive language to start a comment war. Polarization may be done on different lines of division. The line of Polarization is mostly finalized based on the chosen target’s community, religion or region. Though other divisions may also be used, for purposes of trolling, Polarizing on a personal identity factor gives best results
2. Generalization: Making instant judgements about someone based on their political affiliation, community, religion, etc. Most arguments by trolls contain one or more of these. We will look at examples of this in later chapters
3. Wordplay: Employing words in a certain manner to deviate and distort arguments. This technique is intellectually more taxing than others
4. Labeling: Related to Generalization, labeling is mainly used to deviate the argument from being about an opinion to being about a person. The number of labels included in a single comment may range from 1 to 20.
In the next part of the lesson, we will see how Polarization can be used for effective trolling.
Note: Most of the materials in this lesson will be related to Indian users only, because –
1. The Indian troll scene is as rich and colourful as anywhere in the world, and
2. I’m too lazy to draw material from more than that one Indian News website I follow
This entire attempt is meant for fun only. I do not condone/oppose any political view or ideological orientation. If certain kinds of comments/behaviour seem to be targeted more than the others, it is simply because I find them to be more prominent in social media discussions than others, and me using them does not indicate any personal opinion. Infact, I do agree to quite a few of the popular views trolls claim to hold, but I try to defend them in a much calmer respectful manner, and with an open mind. Also, I have enormous respect for people who are able to express opinions respectfully and have healthy conversations without degrading/attacking those who think differently. This entire satire is not to target views as such but rather the behaviour of Internet trolls