A tale of three trolls

twitter trolling bidnessetc dot com

[Photo source: bidnessetc.com]

You know, I’m generally a pretty agreeable guy, flexible, mostly polite, understanding, respectful. Not perfect, but also not an ugly guy, character-wise. This does not happen without a sense of self, and a discipline and dedication to being considerate.

Conversely, the one thing I really hate is being put in a box of someone else’s making. I detest labels being slapped on my forehead as if some other yahoo had the moral authority to re-define my whole life, and throw away all the effort and achievement.

People like that get their own label in my book:

Overbearing, arrogant, obnoxious moralizing twits.

During the presidential campaign, I received very few visits from trolls. Some character @zensei used to harass me on Twitter, and that taught me that resistance to a skilled troll is futile. I blocked him/her. While the “yellow apologists” were being badgered, the trolls pretty much left me alone. I attribute this to their believing that people like Jim Paredes or Leah Navarro have more followers and impact, and so deserved attention. Or else, they understood that I am not really a “yellow”, but an analyst who is in favor of the Philippines first, and political causes only if they build the nation.

But that recently changed.

AFTER the election, it changed.

I think it traces back to my having met Mar Roxas personally, and subsequently President Aquino, and the awareness set in that we here at The Society of Honor may talk to people of influence.

Now people arrive on my Twitter feed, or go to the trouble to “friend” me on Facebook, so they can offer up their unsolicited guidance. Ahahaha. “Guidance.”

My blog “We, the disenfranchised” brought three such bugs visitors out of the woodwork on Twitter, and I wanted to give them the attention they evidently demand, for the lessons we can learn from that.


Ivan Tech gravatar image

Ivan Tech

The incentive for the three uninvited visitors to pop into my timeline was a blog that basically said people of humanist character, who value human rights, represent a new disenfranchised class in the Philippines because we have no one in government actively speaking up for our values.

Ivan Tech, Twitter handle @Asian2266, sent me this tweet in response to the blog:

tweet asian2266

Here’s his profile on Twitter:

  • Tweets: 47,200+
  • Following: 818
  • Followers: 254
  • Likes: 159

Ivan Tech, @Aslan2266, joined June 2012

Boy howdy, that tweet irked me royally. The implication is that, by writing critically about extra-judicial killings, I am being disrespectful of the voters who gave President Duterte a sacred mandate. Sacred, sheesh, as if Duterte were a god and criticizing is irreverent. By inference from this tweet, I am being disrespectful of President Duterte. By inference, I should  “shut up”.

I wrote back that I found the tweet offensive, and blocked the guy.

I scrolled through his voluminous tweets and wondered what in the name of Duterte is this guy doing? And the answer is, making noise. For Duterte. Making noise, himself, with only 254 followers, most of whom presumably retweet the pro-Duterte noise he puts out.

He bounces off of others (like me) and moralizes and lectures, leveraging THEIR follower base if they respond. He works to generate the impression that President Duterte is “hands off” to critics because he has a mandate to do whatever the hell he wants to do. Praise the gods!

What part of democracy and freedom does this obnoxious, overbearing twit not understand?

Is that the view that is being fed to them by the new Communications Office of the President of the Philippines. Is that their marching order?

My, my, my, how that worm has turned. From an office dedicated to capturing knowledge and the history of the Philippines (MLQ3 under President Aquino) to an office peddling bullshit.

Well, it is apparent that the social media army that put President Duterte in place during his campaign is now hard at work trying to shape our world, to distort it, to project that President Duterte has the right to rule without criticism.

The President must run a very very very insecure operation. And perhaps incompetent, too, if he needs that much distortion to throw out there for cover.

Jennylyn Ong


Jennylyn Ong gravatar image

Jennylyn is much like Ivan in volume, but a bit more popular and resonant. She hit my timeline a couple of times by retweeting the postings of other Duterte trolls. It is the multiplier effect they strive for when they find a comment that they think has punch for Duterte or, in her cases on my timeline, taking pot-shots at “the enemy”. Me. Jim Paredes.

What part of genuine and original does this re-tweeting automaton not grasp?

Her gravatar photo is cute for such a nasty business., don’t you think?

I blocked the little cutie. Her messages are like plastic bags trashing the beach, serving no purpose but erosion of things that are good.

  • Tweets: 38,300
  • Following: 80
  • Followers: 550
  • Likes: 4,096

Jennylyn Ong, @jennylyn_ong, Joined April 2012


Jiros Navales gravatar image

Jiros Navales

Jiros Navales, Twitter handle @jirossthevirus, also sent a tweet regarding the “disenfranchised” blog to my attention. His message was part moralizing and part a put down of the Aquino Administration by reference to the Mamasapano event.

Tweet virus

Here is his profile on twitter:

  • Tweets: 1,903
  • Following: 280
  • Followers: 42
  • Likes: 104

Jiros Navales, @jirossthevirus, I’m a nomad, a vagrant, a wonderer, a weirdo and I’m a nurse, Davao City, facebook.com/jiros.navales, Joined October 2010

Well, I didn’t answer him and did not block him. To answer would be to legitimize his tweet and send it out to my 2,400 followers. To block him would be to disallow any further amusements from him in the future.

What part of intelligence does this self-confessed weirdo not understand?

Jiros seems to me to be a new recruit, just warming up to the task of being a twitter thug, wandering the jungles of the internet and popping off. Maybe he is a second or third or 20th iteration of the real troll’s overall effort, I dunno. Why do they put me with Jim Paredes, I wonder? Not my musical talent, I know. Could be looks, I suppose. Jim has a million Twitter followers, and me a puny band of loyalists.

Perhaps my writing, and this blog, are just too good, make too much sense, are too powerful for the Duterte band of botherers.

One gets the sense that the new government believes it can’t make it on deeds alone. It needs to shape the message with a powerful propaganda effort. Paid for by us, I’d imagine. The taxpayer dollar.


For a sense of perspective, here is my own profile:

  • Tweets: 3,041
  • Following: 75
  • Followers: 2,414
  • Likes: 1,947

JoeAm, @societyofhonor, Joe America is a former banking executive who lives permanently in the Philippines and blogs relentlessly, Philippines, joeam.com, Joined November 2011.

Compare the “likes” among the three of us, and run a ratio of likes to tweets.

That’s the difference between “relevance” and “noise”.

This seems to be a very noisy administration.

I’m reminded of the sweet smelling deodorizers found in urinals and bathrooms around the world, those little white hockey pucks that attempt the impossible. Their job is to try to mask and re-define the scent of the room, but we all know what is really going on in there.

And that’s where these three hockey pucks belong.

At the bottom of a urinal somewhere . . . anywhere . . .

It’s all very clear to me. It is up to the new President to decide what represents him best:

Deeds or hockey pucks.


46 Responses to “A tale of three trolls”
  1. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Hockey pucks! God loves us, for giving us Joe! Come to think of it, when the yellow army was defending President Aquino, were we hockey pucks or sweet-smelling virgins from Mount Olympus? I would say the latter. Our words were sweet. Probably our deeds even more. Who taught the trolls that the more they swore the more they got their messages across? Did Satan actually ascend from the depths to give them a seminar on effective writing? But it’s not only the trolls themselves, it’s the readership. Sends chills, that trolls have a following. Did you see the photo of the dead, alleged (no one uses that word anymore) snatcher sealed in packaging tape, dumped on EDSA? This is demonic. Only one biblical character could give them the idea, the former bearer of light (Isaiah 14:12).

  2. Hey joe don’t feed the trolls. This may just get them their bonus.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m not feeding trolls. I’m making the point that it is a hell of a way to run a reputable presidency, to deploy them, feed them, encourage them, and give them talking points that are destructive and manipulative.

      • Understood joe. It’s just that by not blocking their names you may just give them the infamy that makes them work harder. We are a strong community we will take your word for it when you cite their stats. But something like this is the prerogative of the host, and you’ve exhibited good judgement so I hope you’re right.

        • Marie says:

          I think calling our attention this time and naming such people who are trying to distract other discussion participants from the real issues affecting the moral fibre of our nation was the right thing to do, though to do it repeatedly would be an exercise in futility. Sad to say, with today’s social media freedom, trolls are here to stay. They feed each other.

          I see it as a warning from Joe America to be aware that people with ulterior motives are posting their views on his blog and that we just need to be more discerning. Joe owns the blog, he can respond or not as he wishes (put them in their place – either “shape up or ship out”- or simply block them)

          We can just ignore troll comments that only attempt to elicit emotional response as well as promote negativity and divisiveness. If no one takes the time to give their comments the space they crave on this blog, hopefully they will eventually disappear due to lack of attention. Thank you Sir Joe for the warning.

          • Joe America says:

            Sure, Marie. Your read my intent well, and it is interesting to note that I have not been barraged with troll attacks here or on Twitter because of the article. I expect that is because they are well aware of what they are doing, and well aware that I know what they are doing.

  3. Sup says:

    I know you can not see video but this one would definitly cheer you up JoeAm…..
    After making a serious speech that he will resign he forgot the microphone is still open and when he walks back into Downing street 10 he starts singing…………..hahahahahahahaha


    David Cameron Hums A Tune After Resigning

  4. Ron Angelo says:

    What bothers me is how some people use the “majority win” approach in telling people not to scrutinize officials. They’re using their misinformed view of democracy to legitimize what they perceive to be as just. They’re telling us to move on and accept the officials’ approach since the people have spoken. Antagonizing human rights advocates through this pretense is running rampant in social media nowadays.

    Democracy should be used to equalize the volume of individuals regardless of anything. It’s crazy how people are using it to label criticisms of the administration as “bitter”, “yellowtardism” or the like.

    • Joe America says:

      You nailed it Ron. Democracy thrives because there are so many voices, not because they get channeled down one puppet-like path. It is what keeps a democracy along the center line rather than moving to extremes . . . like becoming “the butcher nation of Asia”.

      • Marie says:

        I think a simple explanation of the difference between a majority president (should get at least 51% of all votes to technically deserve the “people’s choice” label) and a plurality president (receives the most votes among all of the candidates running for a position) can be a start.

        They seem to be ignoring the percentage of those who did not vote in the current president’s favor and have the right to make their apprehensions known in an acceptable manner, through intelligent discussion of issues. We have not ceased to exist after the election and those who love our nation can all present our views without animosity.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, the 16 million voters seem to have assumed that they rule the Philippines. It is an incredible sense of hubris, and lack of respect for the freedoms and enjoyments and processes of democracy.

          • nowasencit says:

            These thousands (maybe) of hockey pucks do not represent the 16 million who voted for Duterte. Majority of these 16 million, who cut through all social classes, somehow agreed one 1 thing – they all just got fed up with the perverted style of governance- politically-correct but readily compromising, always guarding the interests of the economic and political elites. So they just voted for one who promised them to end the perversion. This majority didn’t think of ruling the country- they just voted for someone who they thought can truly govern the country.

            • Joe America says:

              Right, important point. Yes, the trolls are a band of manipulators, whereas most voters were just voting for a new day. I do have trouble with government hiring, funding, and giving the messages to their propaganda warriors. Today I saw a counter-attack meme claiming those who have posted a picture of the little girl killed in a killing are trying to “destroy President Duterte”. My God, man, what kind of world is it when we weep for a little girl’s death, and are told that is unfair to our president?

              OUR PRESIDENT should be leading us in the crying.

              It is all so disgustingly manipulative, this troll brigade.

              • Marie says:

                Maybe it is time to challenge the non-trolls – voters (referred to by nowasencit) who simply got frustrated and want drastic change – to acknowledge / address to a greater degree the actions of those who are affecting our ability to see the good intentions they had regarding their chosen candidate. Let them deal with each other. (So that we won’t have to).

                I see such “corrections” happening within their tribe from time to time, the more serious voters chiding the misinformed, but not to the point that their errant members actually obey. Would like to see them take care of their own ranks. Is there a proper forum where we can request their thinkers / doers to handle their own trolls?


              • Joe America says:

                That’s a good point. I know Nic Gabunada, who oversees the social media army, has a Facebook account. I’ve never tried to take up matters of substance, although he has extended an invite to have coffee to discuss things. I’ve opined here and there that I think a troll base does not represent a president well, but don’t know if anyone within President Duterte’s camp knows or cares.

        • nowasencit says:

          How do you get into an intelligent discussion with “hockey pucks”? You’ll just fall into their trap- getting you to talk about their irrationality, than discuss ways to go forward.

  5. NHerrera says:

    Hi Joe,

    Don’t sell yourself short on this tweeting business. I believe a better measure is Followers/Tweet and Likes/Tweet.

    Joe America……….3,041………75……………2,414……..1,947………..0.7938…………….0.6402
    Ivan Tec……………42,000…….818……………..254………….59…………0.0060…………….0.0014
    Jennylyn Ong……38,300………80……………..550………4,096…………0.0144……………0.1069
    Jiros Navales……..1,903……..280………………..2………….104…………0.0011……………0.0547

    I am just minding your math bossman.

  6. Bill in Oz says:

    Moses got recalled up Sinai by the big fella…He asked “Wotsup?’
    The big fella said..”take dictation : 11 : I am your lord & big fela !! Thou shalt not put tweet sor fbs before me”

    :- )

  7. Chivas says:

    I recently watched Social Media Automation vids and I learned a lot. I want to share this to Society so at least the playing field can be a little balanced.

    Prices of un-targeted followers, the schedule of posts, the personas of accounts which you can control over a thousand in one dashboard in subscription use, the Excel file you can upload so you can tweet every moment for a year.

    Filipino VAs you can hire and assign to create multiple accounts, one creating, one managing the IP rotations.

    The result is that you have thousands of accounts all emailing, liking and sharing and talking with each other in scheduled way. Even budget them with P100 of Facebook Ad credits each. so they make more noise. What happens next? You can buy FB groups or cross-promote them so you get likes faster.

    You can hire a separate team, one for content generation and one for content engagement so it feels human.

    Then you can buy a bot(I suggest you can just damn write one for yourself for security) that can crawl, download, repackage, modify, schedule and upload that content in distributed personas that some claim that “headless browsing” is the future, (Phantom and Casper JS) awesome.

    It’s a delight to know all of those things: how slick, how clever and how masterful is that when orchestrated. I am even a late-gamer knowing all of that, some they have been implemented since 2004.

    Anyway,I pictured those hockey pucks, clinging to their purpose and structure, only to get laser-beamed with hot piss, turning crescent to half-moon and eventually being a solid speck small enough to go down the holes.

    I laughed how Jim Paredes was caught asking Mocha that carnal-yet-normal question to gauge the conversation, it’s cringing, like, aw man, relationship gone sour, he somehow deserved it but man, that was wrong, could’ve been a personal message.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the briefing, Chivas. We bear witness to the destruction of man’s ability to communicate with man, by virtue of all the dirt flying forth from people who are pushing agenda instead of knowledge and compassion. The internet gives the destroyers a louder voice than the builders.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Thanks Chivas,that counters the comment of racserve who claims that bogus accounts are just unsustainable,and called us old people here who know nothing about tech.

  8. Sup says:

    Beijing South China Sea claims rejected by court


    • Chivas says:

      What’s next to Mr Yasay? That is OURS dammit! He must look at history, look in the mirror, look at us. Have they watched Let There Be Blood? I suggest they do.

      We have wealth, we have resources, also we got Benham Rise which I am suspecting someones got a milkshake straw sipping.

      Reading countries GDP I can only want some extended explanation why the hell we are poorer to some countries say, Spain or Greece or some countries posing as “great”. They don’t have jewels like ours but like a magician and performer manage to juggle debts and books.

  9. karlgarcia says:

    “Can you imagine taking a massive victory for sovereignty, as the Philippines is widely expected to receive from the arbitration hearing, and trading it away for trains? Or oil?

    I’m thankful that Russia did that with Alaska, and the French with the Louisiana Purchase, but the test of time would say that was some mighty bad thinking.”

    If Russia did not give up Alaska and France did not give up its properties. The US would not be as huge as it is. France could have been the Super power.
    As for Russia,they can now have a backup for Siberia.

    And Yehey for the Hague ruling. Hoorah.

  10. LG says:

    Re: Hague ruling. Unappealable..

    Bully China vows not to accept the ruling.

    What now?

  11. Thanks chivas….Joe, remember the zombies? Fewer actual trolls, more zombies…..

  12. grammy2342 says:

    These trolls really manage to disrupt our harmony, regardless that we try to ignore them. I have been bashed in FB trolls who really don’t know anything but practice saying awful things – particularly about Leni Robredo – the rightful Vice President.

  13. grammy2342 says:

    These trolls do manage to disrupt our harmony regardless that we try to ignore them. I have been bashed relentlessly in FB when l retort to insults hurled against the rightful Vice- President, Leni Robredo. It took a lot of willpower to cease and desist from reacting. And of course l blocked all of them.

  14. An-Marie Villarin says:

    I love this! You have so eloquently said all the things I’ve been wanting to say about these trolls and the Duterte fanatics.

    • Joe America says:

      Hello, An-Marie. There are those who build, and there are the people who incite anger, and have no idea of how, together, they destroy our ability to be civil or right-thinking.

  15. edgar lores says:

    In answer to Chempo’s question as to what is the top pressing issue of the country, I gave the answer of language, communication, and understanding.

    Trolls misuse language… to miscommunicate… their misunderstanding of the world.

    Trolls speak and tell outrageous lies.

    The result is overwhelming confusion. Words have lost their meaning. Ideas no longer take hold. What people say is often off center, tangential to the issue at hand, or even worse the opposite of what is in their hearts. Media is full of profanity. And demagogues rule.

    • Joe America says:

      I would note that is a global issue, not just Filipino, and the Philippines would have to figure out how to master the dialogue of the internet, which tends to eschew knowledge in favor of simplistic little conquests based on self-defined knowledge. Only nations like China have figured out how to do that, but it eliminates freedom of speech.

    • josephivo says:

      With the invention of print soon people were shocked with the explosion of new titles, one cannot read then all. Today in a bookshop with thousands of books I easily find my way by skipping 99% of the tittles. So my hope is that soon intelligent apps will appear that select only those communications that interest me and hide all the rest in labeled folders according content and style or quality of the argument.

      • Joe America says:

        Doesn’t Amazon do that? If you investigate this book or that, they build a data base, and I suspect you can shape it to suit your needs.

      • edgar lores says:

        How true that is, an explosion of words. I tend to consult Goodreads and Amazon to get a baseline of acceptability, and I look at recommendations by NPR, the New York Times and other news media. The various book awards – Pulitzer, Booker, and Nebula — are also good guides. Still, I love to slum and explore. This is how I discovered many good books even before they became popular. And even bad books will contain a small cache of rough gems.

  16. bing945 says:

    Dear Joe,
    Although I don’t usually join in the comments, I am an avid reader of your articles & share them in my FB timeline or email to friends.
    Your articles gives me hope & entertainment at times of frustration with the new Govt.
    Pls continue to write. Thank you.

  17. karlgarcia says:

    talk about hockey pucks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: