To Troll or Not To Troll

We write about all manner of communications on this blog. So why not trolling? (To be clear, I’m talking about funny/pranky trolling, a’la this, not true trolling.)

Former President Barack Obama (the one who made my name pronounceable in the US, so thank you (but also unspellable, so never mind.)) talked about trolling recently.

He said, “If I Tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right … then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself … you see how woke I was, I called you out …. That’s not activism, that’s not bringing about change … if all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far.”

But what if you are casting stones, in a clever, attention-getting way (and we all know how hard AF it is to get attention) and you have the activism chops to back it up?

If you’re not trolling just for trolling’s sake. But you’re smart about it and have steps B, C, and D already worked out— I say go for it.

Sometimes trolling can be a good way to get attention for your broader, deeper message—which just needs a bit of a viral-marketing boost.

Here are two recent, clever, attention-getting trolls. And they’re backed up by the-real-deal activism.

Giffords.org Adopts Highway by NRA
Giffords.org, the gun safety organization co-founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, announced plans to adopt a highway outside the NRA’s Northern Virginia headquarters. I can’t wait to see sign  by the side of the road.


Politician Reads Bedtime Story To His “Existential Threats”

Israel has about a 20% Arab minority (a mix of Muslims and Christians, BTW). And there are several Arab political parties in a coalition called the Joint List.

In the last elections, the Joint List did well. This despite (or perhaps because of ) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu campaigning hard against the Arab minority in Israel.

The election effectively remains undecided (that’s an oversimplification, but this post is about trolling as a form of communication), so Netanyahu is riling things up again. He’s calling Israeli Arabs (BTW, some like to call themselves Palestinians… Google it, it’s complicated) an “existential threat.” 

Ayman Odeh is the popular head of the Joint List—and clearly a spot-on troller. His beautiful Netanyahu troll, translated, says “At the end of the day, I need to get these existential threats to off bed.”

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