When it comes to internet trolls, and we might define “the Donald” as one of them, I keep wondering why we continue to pay attention to them. They use their outrageous statements to get a “rise’ out of people and sadly, it so often succeeds. I ran across a funny story yesterday regarding the temporary disappearance of a certain twitter account and I could not help but be amazed by our addiction to the tweet stream.
I tend to avoid most news media these days (except in carefully measured doses, to be an informed citizen). I do not follow the daily tweets of the president. To me, giving any attention at all to his declarations is the way we give our power away. What if we ignored what he had to say, and just focused on solving problems that need our collective attention?
My prediction is that, by ignoring the troll and not feeding him with attention, his power will wither eventually and die. Paradoxically, regular public outcry over his Twitter feed is what allows it to gain momentum. That seems exactly the wrong strategy to me. My suggestion is that people resist being drawn into that vortex. It is not a dialogue, it is merely declarative in nature, and it only serves one purpose: to upset people and to gain attention.
Instead let us engage in planning for the midterm elections and finding leaders that can speak for us, that can represent us. Let us engage in active dialogue about the values that matter to us, and in creative pursuit of how to achieve those goals. Let us turn away from the perpetual distraction of these inflammatory remarks, and go back to the more productive work of following leaders who actually make a difference. We may need to do more research on these folks.
They are the ones doing the diligent work of making change in the world, and not always tooting their own horns, and bragging about their achievements. But they are out there, and though they may not actively use Twitter to broadcast their every thought, they are among us. I gave it up Twitter years ago when I realized it distracted this already ADD-oid person far too much, and would interrupt my work unnecessarily. In some ways I wonder: why is Twitter still a thing? Why have we not outgrown it? Some of us have, I suppose, but the attention span we cultivate in this culture is the one of 140 characters, sadly. I do not actually believe we are this small, as a culture.
Here is my suggestion and maybe a challenge to you: notice what happens when you ignore the latest tweet by a notable person. Here’s what I notice: absolutely nothing. There is peace, there is tranquility, there is energy for me to pursue the things that matter to me. May you, my dear readers, ignore the internet Trolls, live your lives and spend your time in ways that nourish and sustain you.