insight, social media

The Curious Case Of Dr. Pro And Mr. Troll

Four months into a company that’s heavy on social media, and there’s one thing I’ve discovered that I never expected:

All of us here have split personalities.

Without realising it, we’ve all been acting as two people with the accounts whose social media profiles we manage.

Personality 1: Dr. Pro. The nice guy is the one who handles the Facebook Page or Twitter profile. Who creates engaging, nice, rather paavam content. Puts it up dutifully. Carries on conversations. And just generally generates the numbers that keep clients happy.

Personality 2: Mr. Troll. Between posts, our social media man turns into the social media troll. Tweeting out to the brands his fellow content writers manage, joking with them, even criticising them to some extent.

It’s interesting how quickly, easily and often I’ve seen this change in behaviour online. Not just in others, but in myself too.

It’s rather natural, actually. One, all of us who dabble in social media are expected to be influencers. We all use our personal networks to promote our brands. And we all try to be funny on Twitter so that we get more followers – just to say we’re this much closer to Lady Gaga.

Two, when we’re not posting, or thinking about posting, we’re just being ourselves. As people, we have every right to express ourselves, even if it means cracking a joke or two at our brands.

And three, we also tend to talk to brands hoping for a response. So that a few of the thousands of followers of the brand will also follow us after being drawn into the conversation. That’s my conspiracy theory, anyway.

The catalyst to write this post was a Twitter conversation I had with one of our brands.

This is hardly a conversation that should bother me. It was a joke, meant without malice, just getting cheeky with a boy band signed on to the record label.

The question is: at what point do we draw a line?

Let’s not consider defamation and vulgarity. Any digital professional who defames or gets vulgar with his brand deserves to lose the account.

But are we allowed to criticise when we believe we’re justified? Are we allowed to laugh at our brands when they say something stupid (through the keyboards of our fellow creatives)? How far can those boundaries be pushed? Do those boundaries change from client to client?

Do we get to play audience or do we have to stick with being admin? Am I allowed to tell a brand on social media – in an individual capacity – that I do not like its product, even though I may be directly or indirectly managing that account in a professional capacity?

I suspect there isn’t a right answer to this question. And I’d love to discuss this. Do leave a comment, and let’s carry on this conversation.


5 thoughts on “The Curious Case Of Dr. Pro And Mr. Troll

  1. I think the simple answer to this is to be aggressive with the people who handle brands at the client's end and see how best we can get them to change. Maybe even engineer some stuff so that these guys wake up and make a change. I did this successfully recently by making a parody video of an ad and sent it out thru a friend who handled the brand. Got the desired response 🙂 May not always work, but it did for me. The key point is to keep trying new ways to get a response


  2. Not to accept more creativity, but to push clients to change and be better. Rather than go public right away, could you do private one-to-ones, give them the benefit of doubt to begin with. As a person who earns his bonuses from clients you have the right to complain in private before you go public. Is my middle path.


  3. Speaking not-so-good-stuff as an audience about the brand you manage, can be a little too risky IMHO. The reason being that the most of the clients are skeptical when it comes to accept it in a right spirit. Losing an account is losing too much for expressing your opinion. A client might listen to your individual suggestions offline but the equation changes over the online space. It might not go down well with them to see you taking a different path with respect to their brand.


  4. I like your post and all you share with us is up to date and quite informative, i would like to bookmark this post so i can come here again to read you, as you have done a wonderful job.


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