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The Internet has proved to be a revolutionary tool, even more so with the advent of social media. The person on the Internet has more ways to communicate with the outside world and even address grievances that they themselves encounter.

Some of us cut our teeth on forum message boards where we would have first of all have encountered online trolls. However, these encounters are now few and far between due to rules on forums being tightened and more importantly migration to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

The main problem with Twitter is that people do not treat this as a public platform that they are as publicly liable for what they post on Twitter as one would be if they posted something liable and damaging in a blog post. Instead certain individuals treat Twitter like they would a text conversation. People who do this have to ask themselves, if figuratively speaking someone got a hold of your number and started sending you abusive texts. How would you feel, you would feel hurt, you would even contact the Gardaí. The point that I am trying to say is, like with texting people, there is an etiquette to follow when tweeting.

People who own a Twitter account who find themselves victims of cyber bullying must remember that there are four effective ways of dealing with online trolls especially on platforms like Twitter:

1.  The main thing people need to remember when experiencing Twitter threats or extreme vitriol directed towards them is that Twitter does provide a block function.
If blocking doesn't work, you can always report to Twitter who will report it to the relevant authorities.

2. Develop a thick skin, not everyone will be a fan of what you have to say or even what you believe in. If you do receive a mean tweet, learn to laugh it off and move forward never think of that comment that's in the past.

3. Move your profile to private. The best thing Twitter offers to tweeters is the ability to make their profiles private. When I found my profile of nearly eight years blocked in November, I found myself using one which I had set up on a whim and had considered deleting it before. When my original account was unblocked, I set the other to private. I used the time that I was blocked to look at what I was doing wrong in terms of tweeting and adjusted my behaviour accordingly. I no longer participate in all the follow shout outs that would occur during the week, but in rare occasions I might make the exception. Instead I'm choosing to thank people for their messages as genuinely I am always chuffed when I do receive their messages, if I don't reply though, it's usually because I'm dead busy, not because I'm ignoring their messages.

4. Delete the account, this must always be seen as a last resort. But sometimes the best thing to do is to just walk away. This is hard for me to suggest to people because I have seen the tragic loss to Twitter of fantastic tweeters such as  Ryan Tubridy,Steven Moffat and Jeff Davis and I love using Twitter myself. But if you feel that this is truly the way you want to go, you can. Remember though, if you change your mind and miss the hubbub of Twitter you can always reactivate it, as long as you do it within a thirty day period.

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