You’ve Been Trolled

(Troll (v.): to say something with the aim of provoking an angry reaction which benefits you.)

On , an American company called Honey Maid (company slogan: “This is Wholesome”) released a new commercial. It features a number of families and children in a very positive light, including a family of two men. Here’s the video:

Soon after came the calls for a boycott.

A few days later, a Facebook friend linked to this video, which you absolutely should watch in full:

So, if you were someone who called for or joined this protest, what did you achieve here? Let’s consider. You got to look angry and intolerant – even if you didn’t use language like that depicted in the video, everyone will assume that you did. You got to look weak – it’s now clear that even companies whose core market is supposed to be the All-American family with traditional values have no problem taking an explicit stand for same-sex marriage, because they think it’ll be a net win for their sales figures. And you got to look fearful and patronised – what they did is the approximate equivalent of patting you on the head and saying “There, there, dear, don’t be scared, it’ll all be alright in the end.” You gave the company a ton of free publicity, and they got to look enlightened and forward-looking.

And the crowning achievement of the trolling, the pièce de résistance, was the fact that there was a shot of a mixed-race family somewhat later in the original, and they included that in the “bits people didn’t like” section of the follow-up video, right after showing the gay couple. So you all look racist, too – even if none of you had any issues with the promotion of that type of family.

I’m pretty sure they didn’t think of this after the commercial was published; it was set up in advance. They knew this was going to happen, and you played right into their hands. As bits of marketing go, I have to say “well played”.

So, here’s my advice. Public expressions of outrage (something you picked up from the other side’s playbook anyway) clearly don’t work any more, if they ever did. When a company like Honey Maid can troll you to get a quite predictable reaction and lots of free publicity, here’s the lesson: you need new tactics. This isn’t working.

7 thoughts on “You’ve Been Trolled

  1. I agree with your analysis. The wrath of men does not produce not God’s righteousness. We should be the ones with a level head, and providing thoughtful responses to things, not flying off the handle every time we get goaded. Yet, how do you recommend Christians (in high tech or elsewhere) respond to current issues? If silence or surrender (in the sense of denying Christ and his word) are not options, what /do/ we do? There are plenty of trolls on both sides of any given controversy, but how do we respond with the opposition who are not just trolling? Any advice there?

  2. I wholeheartedly agree most of the time these reactions make Christians look bad. One could argue that the reaction to Chick Filet and Duck Dynasty was productive in that it showed an overwhelming support for traditional marriage. Social media has enabled the gay community to mobilize like never before and with immediate results. And of course the media reports negative comments made by Christians but not the negative comments made by the gay community. I have heard of the gay community makes death threats to those who take a stand for traditional marriage and their families, continual intense harassment, even flooding fax machines with obscene homosexual pornography. The purpose of these attacks is to silence opposition to their agenda. You don’t hear the media report these gay tactics very often. The harassment suffered by Mr. Eich must have been incredibly intense but I have never heard a media report on the specifics of the harassment.

    My personal opinion is that we need to let it be known that we are against those beliefs. The gay community is gaining so much ground and acceptance because they flood social media outlet with their beliefs. The tactic is effective. If we don’t speak up then other Christians may not know there are others holding onto their faith and lose faith themselves. I often get an overwhelming sense of despair when I read all the pro-gay stories in the media and the attacks on Christians who stand against it. I am encouraged by others who express traditional family beliefs. We don’t have to express our disagreement with homosexual beliefs with anger.

    In addition to expressing our disagreement with the gay life style, we can pray for the gay community. Satan has blinded their eyes and much of societies with lies about homosexuality. We can pray God exposes Satan’s lies for what they are and opens their understanding to the truth of God’s love for them as well as the death that living a erroneous life brings. We can pray they accept Jesus as their savior and decide to follow Him with their lives. I believe this is what Jesus himself would want. After all, He died for their sins, out of love for them, just as He died for ours.

    You said someone needed to write a book so I just gave it my best effort.

  3. I’m glad you’ve decided to remove hatred from your intolerance. It will make your life so much easier when you lose this battle, which you will.
    Sincerely,
    A Heterosexual Who Shared That Video

  4. God cannot tolerate sin according to His word. And I read the last chapter of His book, He wins and nothing can prevent that.

    • All very true; do you have a comment on the particular subject of this blog post? :-)