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Nkem Ndem: 4 Types of Trolls on the Nigerian Social Media Scene

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dreamstime_l_50037845My plan was to take the higher road and ‘lerrit’ all go, but no… I am not strong enough. Not this time. I am going to talk about this. No, I am not the proper girl with all the right etiquette and manners after all… so, I might as well enjoy being ‘me’.

A few days ago, while working on a story for a client, a colleague buzzed me on Skype with the message: “Nkem, have you seen these tweets?” attaching a screen shot of superfluous tweets from an aggrieved media contact. My first response was: “who is that?” In all truth, the name did not ring a bell. Quickly, I searched for his handle via Google and his page came up. Apparently, the man – who is someone you think would have a lot on his plate and wouldn’t have enough time to rant unnecessarily on Twitter- had tweeted the same matter three consecutive times and some other people had actually retweeted. Amazing!

Again, I read the tweets – his complaints which featured my full name in every single sentence. This was obviously with malicious intent; he claimed that I had been relentless in sending him e-mails asking him to publish sponsored articles despite the fact that he had asked me to stop sending them.

First, I have several jobs that I have to juggle on a daily basis, I do not have the time to send incessant emails to any single person. Secondly, I do not recall receiving any e-mail from him, asking me to stop, or I’d have taken his address off the mailing list already. Thirdly, why he felt the need to make a public show of himself over something so trivial was beyond my comprehension. He could have ignored the mail or just blocked them. Seriously, why the cry for attention? Why troll me? Was he possibly baiting for a Twitter war or something?

To be honest, the prospect of starring in a Twitter war was slightly alluring as we all know it is on trend at the moment…but as I double tapped on our noble brother’s handle, I swear I heard Olamide’s voice minister to me in a chant: “Oya, don’t! Stop. Take it. Low now…” Hmm. I quickly closed the Twitter app, spent some time biting my lips trying to sing the entire song, then got on with earning a living.

It is said that you have to be tough skinned to survive the world called ‘social media’; and I agree to that… but then, this whole ‘trolling’ thing seems to be getting out of hand, especially on the Nigerian social media scene.
Basically, a social media troll is someone who deliberately roams around social media, provoking others online by raising negative conversations and making inflammatory, offensive, or provocative comments, with the intent to upset others or bait them into reacting. The annoying thing about these trolls on the Nigerian social Media scene is that they are no longer just confronting those in the limelight or entertainers; everyone is under attack as it is! After my recent experience, I took some time out to contemplate these trolls, considering others cases of trolling that I am aware of, and I have discovered four types of trolls that everyone in the country with a social media platform should be on the lookout for. Read on to discover them too – that way you can figure out what to do when they come a-knocking.

The know-it-all Troll
A classic case is the Linda Ikeji and Hermes Bag drama. These trolls think they know everything about everything, and they will argue about it until the end of time because they are never ever wrong. Can you believe that someone with a purpose in life, actually scheduled in time and probably even made calls to verify the authenticity of a bag posted on someone else’s page…just to prove a point? These troubled souls are the same ones that will scour your Internet history and dig up a conversation with you from years ago to remind you of a mistake you made or the time you did something embarrassing or unethical, all in an effort to show you they know better and they are right. No matter how amazing or popular your content is, they will find a way to prove to you -without a reasonable doubt- that you cannot please everyone. They are the masters of English and everything really else. They will correct all your typos, grammatical errors and teach you the right way to use #hashtags on social media. Their reality is based on social media postings, and they have every data saved. Basically, they need to damage your self-esteem in order to survive. Ignoring these trolls may not be the best resolve, you need to counter their assertions with facts… but you also have to be strong to take them on. They do not fight fair.

The Calling-out Trolls
These trolls are the most confident and self-righteous of all the trolls. Consider the troll that called out Jim Iyke for being boring, or even better, the Instagram follower who called Kate Henshaw the ugliest woman on earth, saying she is a shame to womanhood. Hian! The calling-out trolls are the ones that will not allow you to promote yourself on social media in peace. They are well aware that most people in Nigeria use their social media platforms to sell their talent, skill, business…and sometimes, even themselves. However, the moment their targets share any bit of information in attempt to allow others learn more about them and what they are all about, these trolls come out to play.

They won’t let even the hint of a self-promotional tweet float by without making a snide remark or throwing an insult. Sometimes, they take what you say out of context, warp it from your original message, and then respond to you with the kind of vehemence typically reserved for political debates. They simply do not care about your status or background as their main calling in life is to challenge you and disagree with everything you say, unwittingly posting comments that can have severe effects on you or your ‘market’. Their end game is to bait or inflame you into falling to their level. Funny thing is that sometimes, these trolls actually believe you owe them in some way and because they think they have your story, they have the authority to judge and criticize you. The best way to tackle these trolls is to ignore them and get on. Engaging them will burn you out. They will find a way to make everything you say horribly and personally offensive. They are in it for life and will never back down.

The Attention-seeking Troll
Niyola posted a bare face picture of herself on Instagram and next thing you know, some troll posts a comment advising her to quit the natural look and instead make efforts to always look ‘fly’ as she is an entertainer. Please…who asked for your opinion? Must you be noticed? The attention-seeking troll is the most common and most annoying of the trolls! They get a kick from single-handedly moving others to spend their time and emotional energy on them.They want to associate themselves with you by all means or get you to notice them, so they employ every tactic possible on social media. They seek you out online, follow you, like you picture and start to comment on all you posts, offering unsolicited advice or admonitions. Other times, they just want to get a measure of fame off of you, so they mention your name in negative or controversial posts that suggest that they are linked to you in some way.

A category of these trolls are contacts that put out private information concerning their target in public when it most certainly could have been tackled privately. They put you on the spot with hopes that you are forced to respond to them and give them the attention they need. An interesting case was the Nigerian fan that asked Wale to gift him N50, 000. The best way to tackle these trolls is to ignore them or deflect their plan with witty humor. Wale’s response was totally on point.

The Clueless Troll
There is a certain kind of rush that comes from being followed or having your content liked or reposted on social media. A lot of people understand that, and so, some in the bid to get in the good graces of others retweet, regrann and repost blindly. They do not bother with taking a pause to consider the message of the content or the impact it could have on their social sphere. The clueless trolls re-post other trolls, unconsciously joining in on the trolling. A very good instance is the case of Olamide and Don Jazzy, where tons of people on Twitter reposted Olamide, making Hastags and memes with the phrase “Leave trash for LAWMA”. They want to be associated with new trends so they just follow what or whom the majority is following and repost accordingly.

Let’s face it: nothing can be done about social media trolling really. Think about it, though their response may be offensive or inappropriate, they are merely exercising their right to free speech. Again, while these trolls are super annoying and irritating, you have to give them credit for actually making social media much more fun and exciting.

Have you had any experience with Trolls on social media? And do you think there should be more on the list? Let’s talk about it in the comment section.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Nkem Ndem is an energetic and highly accomplished Media Consultant who loves to help small businesses, especially women-led, grow their online presence using the right digital strategy or transition from traditional organizational boundaries. With years of experience in Copywriting and Editing, Content Branding and Strategy, Social media, and Digital Marketing, she is clearly obsessed with Digital Communications. She is the Head of Content and Lead Consultant at Black Ink Media - an Ideation and Content Agency that excels in providing fresh, creative digital services to content-centric businesses. Find out more about her at www.blackinkm.com or send her an e-mail at [email protected] Also follow her on IG: @nkemndemv, Twitter: @ndemv.

16 Comments

  1. kinda awkward

    March 16, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    Trolls do not exist and I do not believe in clap backs.

    • yes!

      March 16, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      My dear, it’s not about what you believe in, it I what it is. The trolling can be annoying. People can be very wicked. A couple of day ago, I saw Denrele’s post of someone saying they would rather have a million daughters than have one son like denrele. God is watching.

  2. Apples

    March 16, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Most trolls lack self esteem, and the best thing is to ignore them.

    • Corolla

      March 16, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      Exactly. The best way to deal with a troll is act like they do not exist. These people are looking for a fight and want to get a reaction out of you. Once you ignore them, you have taken away their power.

  3. Yes!

    March 16, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    @Kinda awkward, it’s not about what you believe, it is what it is. These trolls can be wicked. I saw a post where someone sai they would rather have a million daughters than have 1 son like denrele. Why? People can be mean. God is watching.

    • kinda awkward

      March 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      I have no regard or respect and I will definitely NOT acknowledge any animal, place or thing that chooses to attack me from the back of a screen. So yes, trolls do not exist.

  4. Miss Shee

    March 16, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Linda is grandmother of trolling, abeg let her also be trolled. Na her daily bread be that. Other types of trollers mentioned r keeping up wt d trend.

    • YAWN

      March 16, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      Who has she trolled? Abeg give examples cuz one thing about people who dislike Linda is they love to cook up BS about her to get their point across. She carries differnt news on her blog like Bella Naija, SDK, etc… are these people trolls too or just Linda cuz you no like her?

  5. Precious

    March 16, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    It’s getting out of hand… and the funniest thing is that the ignorance they spew is stupendous . For the Hermes bag issue … 95 percent of the ppl who were talking up and down can not even identify the original Hermes bag when seen . It’s pathetic and what hurts most ? they are mostly women , i am a woman and i am embarrassed for some of us . Another case was the lady with pigmentation …. Poor girl shared her bump pictures as a fashion blogger and idiots came out to troll calling her all sorts .. Some even called the child demonic baby I wanted to cry for her …. Till the lady had to clap back with anger and ppl took another angle and started saying all sorts again . I think I know what will solve the whole problem . Before anyone gets employed or any type of job , the employers should ask the individual for all their social media handles and check out their history to know what kind of individual the person is , heard one foot ball club has done that before . If not the stupidity will continue .

    • chichi

      March 16, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      I love your idea @precious. Honestly its just too much, trolls can drive you to drink and I talking about the things they say to others not even myself. It makes me so mad because the state of the human race is very worrying. But Unfortunaly more social media breeds more insecurity and envy. It just goes to show just how unhappy people are in the world that they need to take it out on people online.

  6. jsleek

    March 16, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    social media trolls are always on stand by. Seeking attention at all cost. Like u said you must have a tough skin to guide against any twitter war. It’s not easy!

  7. Mayo

    March 17, 2016 at 12:12 am

    Jez ignore. Lol. Nice one Viv.

  8. Mee

    March 17, 2016 at 7:27 am

    Thanks to the social media, people now have access to people they normally would have access to and they now feel they can say rubbish. Anyone who say crap to me, I give it back to them in good measure. KMT

  9. Riri

    March 18, 2016 at 12:55 am

    This sounds like Noble Igwe! I won’t be surprised if he does stuff like this. Always seeking attention by trolling.

  10. Chillz

    March 20, 2016 at 7:56 am

    I can’t believe I am just seeing this article. I’ve been looking out for the yellow picture all this time. Your articles are always captivating. Apparently, you can write quite as well on other topics that are not just about men. Can’t wait to read the next juicy story.

  11. Goranko

    August 30, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    I see them on Twitter and other social networks. They mostly talk about politics and attack politicians. I avoid them and they are not interested in my posts.

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