Social Capital Trolls


A Troll is a member of a race of fearsome creatures from Norse mythology. Troll mythology is, in fact fairly complex but seems to resolve to common images of Neanderthal type people living under bridges who extort money from passersby, steal babies, and fear God.

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion [Wikipedia].

In the Intellectual Property world, a troll is an individual or business that holds patent or copyrights with no intention of developing the IP and every intention to enforce against infringement by those who do develop ideas.

Naturally, we seek to anticipate the future usage of the term Troll in a context of Social Capitalism. We can say that someone who was in a position to constrain Social Capitalism has the potential to engage in troll behavior.

The troll does benefit from the eventual success of traveler passing through the constraint; however, they create an unnecessary or non productive friction in a market. This can kill many business plans as troll fees and uncertainties need to be factored into the risks of doing business.

I am reminded of a legal system that facilitates litigation over education, negotiation, and cooperation. Social media has an inherent self-policing aspect that may threaten “regulators” in law and government who seek to hold exclusive vetting privilege over a social market.

I am reminded of advertisers who put lipstick on the pig by pretending to play up the whuffie, trust agent or engagement vibe, but instead lay Astroturf and buy up social media outlets. Spam is spam is spam.

I am reminded of Internet service providers that purposely slow down a connection and charge for speed that costs them less to keep open than to slow down. I am reminded of the demise of unlimited data packages for mobile Internet – now that the user is an addict, pull back the dosing in exchange for compliance.

In short, a social capital troll is any person or organization that seeks to CHANGE the online behavior of an individual and their community rather than EMPOWER the individual and their community to do what they would have done in the absence of the troll.

Fell free to add more for future posts on this subject……..

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